Home > Greenhouse Growing > Propagating House Plants in the Greenhouse

Propagating House Plants in the Greenhouse

By: Dr Gareth Evans - Updated: 12 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Plants For Free Cuttings Softwood Leaf

If you like indoor plants, then having a greenhouse opens up a fantastic opportunity to be able to propagate your own. Aside of being able to increase your stock, it also offers the chance to replace individuals which have passed their best and preserve the genetic line of any particularly handsome examples you may have.

To be successful, propagating house plants demands clean conditions, warmth, light and appropriate levels of humidity – the ideal greenhouse environment, in fact. Small wonder so many greenhouse enthusiasts devote so much bench space to the activity – and for those of us who have a conservatory or sun-room too, there should never be a shortage of suitable specimens to adorn it.

Division

Propagating by division is the simplest and most straight-forward way to produce new plants. Dividing the rootstock, for example, requires little more than pulling the root-ball apart by hand – or with the aid of a knife, if the plant produces rhizomes or the roots are particularly tough. Prune off any long, thick roots, retaining those which are attached to young, vigorous growth and then pot up in a suitable compost, water and place in good light – but not full sun – until the new plants become fully established.

Plants which are well suited to being propagated by rootstock division include:

  • Anthurium
  • Aspidistra
  • Cyperus
  • Microlepia
Some plants, such as Calathea, Phlebodium, Pteris and Stromanthe, can be propagated in this way, but need much higher levels of humidity to establish themselves successfully.

House plants which spread by runners are also well suited to being divided – the runners of Saxifraga stolonifera for example, can be rooted individually and then eventually detached from the parent. Those which produce plantlets – small copies of the parent stock, attached to its leaves or stems – are also suitable candidates.

Once they are large enough to be handled, they need to be detached together with an inch or so of the surrounding parent material and inserted into a pot of appropriate compost and covered with a plastic bag to keep the humidity high. New roots should form in about 21 days and after about 8 weeks, the plant should be ready to pot on.

Leaves and Cuttings

Some of the most popular kinds of house plants can be propagated from whole leaves – including the likes of Saintpaulia (African violets) and Sinningia (gloxinias). The trick is to select healthy and undamaged fully-grown leaves and then cut them off close to the base of the stalk, with a sharp, clean knife. Either plant them in rooting compost and then pot-on the resulting plantlets they produce when they are large enough, or try rooting the leaf in water, although this can be a slower process, although it does seem to work well with African violets.

Most house plants can be propagated from cuttings and many of them – a list which includes Bougainvillia, Catharansus, Cissus, Gardenia, Hoya, Pelargonium and Schlumbergera along with some forms of Hibiscus and Tradescantia – by softwood cuttings. Usually done in early spring, healthy side-shoots are removed and dipped in rooting powder before being planted in a pot of rooting compost; several cuttings can share the same pot, just so long as the leaves do not touch one another.

Left in a warm, light part of the greenhouse – but out of direct sunlight – within six weeks new roots should have formed and the young plants can then be transferred to individual pots and allowed to grow on further. Alternatively, softwood cuttings can be started off in water, being planted directly into growing pots once the root system has formed.

For many people, half the appeal of the greenhouse is having the chance to grow things which would otherwise just not be possible and propagating house plants probably comes about as close to perfectly fitting that particular bill as you can get. Whether it’s the lure of producing something special, the fun of doing it for its own sake or simply the irresistible urge to get new plants for free, propagating house plants in the greenhouse is an absorbing hobby – and can rapidly become addictive!

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • BabyGirl
    Re: Designing a Greenhouse for Disabled Access
    When I was eleven I started experiencing severe pain in my lower back. Doc said it had something to do with my…
    23 November 2018
  • GreenhouseGrowing
    Re: Growing Climbers in Your Greenhouse
    scramble - Your Question:I am seeking the same information as Squirrel: flowering climber for greenhouse that gets v hot…
    4 April 2018
  • scramble
    Re: Growing Climbers in Your Greenhouse
    I am seeking the same information as Squirrel: flowering climber for greenhouse that gets v hot in summer and cold in…
    2 April 2018
  • Squirrel
    Re: Growing Climbers in Your Greenhouse
    Dear ???? I have a sunny greenhouse on the 4 floor and wish to grow flowering creepers and plants.It gets very hot in…
    20 March 2018
  • zizi
    Re: Growing Flowers in Your Greenhouse
    l cant imagine world without flowers and plants.My major is agriculture engineering .I need some informstion about develop…
    11 March 2018
  • GreenhouseGrowing
    Re: Greenhouse Vegetables
    Jim - Your Question:I have tried to grow potatoes in my greenhouse for Christmas which appeared to be doing very well. However al I cropped…
    6 March 2018
  • Jim
    Re: Greenhouse Vegetables
    I have tried to grow potatoes in my greenhouse for Christmas which appeared to be doing very well . However al I cropped was lots of very…
    4 March 2018
  • GreenhouseGrowing
    Re: Starting With Orchids
    Pop - Your Question:It is now October is it too late to grow chrisanthimum's in my greenhouse. If not where can I get some cuttings
    10 October 2017
  • Pop
    Re: Starting With Orchids
    It is now October is it too late to grow chrisanthimum's in my greenhouse. If not where can I get some cuttings
    7 October 2017
  • Jay
    Re: Common Greenhouse Problems
    I've just brought an old house with a greenhouse in the garden. It's not been touched for ages I turned it the other day and was…
    19 July 2017