Make New Plants for Free: How to Water Propagate Plants

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Even the most experienced of plant owners will admit that there are some things that they do not know about plants. It is impossible to know absolutely everything, and there are some areas of plant care that can be confusing and difficult to understand. 

One thing that a lot of experienced plant owners are not aware of is that you can make more plants out of the ones that you already have. It is possible to grow your houseplant collection without spending a cent on another plant. You heard that right, we’re telling you that you can get new houseplants for free!

And don’t be deterred or think that this must simply be too good to be true, because it is actually incredibly easy to do, and you don’t really need much gardening experience to do it. So if you want new plants for free to add to your collection, or pass on to your friends and family, then you’re in the right place. 

Today we’re giving you the complete guide to a little thing that’s called water propagating which allows you to make new plants at no extra cost. We’re telling you exactly what this is, why you might do it, and how to do it. So if you want to get new houseplants for free then keep on reading. 

What is Plant Propagation?

Before we take a look at how you can propagate plants in order to make new ones for free, let’s first take a look at exactly what plant propagation is.

After all, it is very important that you have a clear understanding of what this task is in order to understand why you have to take all the necessary steps. 

We’ve mentioned that even the most experienced of plant owners might not be aware of what is known as plant propagation, but this isn’t strictly true.

In fact, most people will have heard of plant propagation, they just might not be aware that this is what the process is called. So what is plant propagation exactly?

In basic terms, plant propagation is the process of taking either a leaf or a stem from an existing plant and using this to grow another plant.

So it is basically the process of plucking part of your current plant and placing it into the appropriate conditions which allow this small segment of the plant to prosper and grow into a being of its own. See, we told you that you probably will have already heard of it!

While plant propagation is what this process is called, this is the broader term as there are actually three different ways in which you can propagate plants. These are in soil, in water, and in a process which is called air layering. 

Water propagation is the easiest way to create new plants, and this is why it is the most popular option out of the three we have just told you about.

As well as being the easiest method of propagation, water propagation is also one of the most rewarding as it gives you an excellent insight into nature as you can see the roots of the leaf/stem grow and it transforms into a plant. So now that we’ve established what it is, let’s take a look at why you might do this. 

Why Would You Do it?

Now that you understand what plant propagation is you might find yourself asking ‘Why?’. Aside from the obvious answer that it gives you access to FREE plants, there are actually lots of other great reasons why you should consider plant propagation. 

One of the main reasons that people choose to propagate their plants is because it is exciting. This might not be a selling point if you have very little interest in plants, but for those who treat their houseplants like children the thought of them essentially producing offspring can be a huge selling point.

This can also be made more exciting by the fact that you can physically see the leaf/stem grow into a new plant which is totally fascinating. 

Another reason that people choose to do water propagation is due to their existing house plants becoming overgrown. Water propagation allows you to prune your plants to make them have a neater appearance, and also ensures that the pieces which you cut off do not go to waste. Instead, these pruned pieces go on to make new plants and bring new life out of a piece of your plant that was only going to die. 

Alternatively, a growing reason why people choose to propagate their plants is to create family heirlooms. You might traditionally think of a plant being stuck in one location for its entire life, but propagation allows you to pass on part of your plant to your children/parents/siblings without having to give up your original plant.

By propagating your plant you can pass it and its offspring down through generations of your family, using something that is living as a family heirloom. 

Finally, you might choose to use water propagation to save your houseplant from dying. Accidents happen, and it is not uncommon for a much-loved family plant to find itself on its last legs due to a lot of reasons.

While your existing plant might be a lost cause and beyond help, this doesn’t mean that you can’t keep at least a little bit of it alive.

Propagation allows you to save part of your dying plant and bring new life to it, ensuring you never have to say goodbye to your houseplant. But not all plants are suitable for water propagation, so let’s take a look at which are. 

What Plants can be Water Propagated?

As you can see, there are lots of reasons why you might choose to water propagate your plants. Maybe you want to pass on your plant’s life to other members of your family, or perhaps you want to save part of your plant that gave way to ill health.

Either way, before you decide to water propagate your plant, it is very important that you check whether or not your plant is safe for water propagation.

Luckily, the majority of household plants are suitable for water propagation, but to help you out we’ve put together this list of some of the types which are definitely suitable.

In most situations, you are recommended not to do something unless it has been confirmed to work, but in the case of water propagation, we recommend simply giving it a go even if you are unsure whether your plant is suitable. 

Here are some of the main types of plants that are suitable for water propagation:

How to Water Propagate Plants

As we have established, most household plants are suitable for water propagating. So now that you know what it is and why you might do it, let’s take a look at how you go about water propagating your houseplant. 

Before we begin, you will need to gather:

  • Small glass bottle or jar
  • Water at room temperature
  • Plant cutting
  • Scissors or Pruning Shears

Once you have gathered these materials, you can then begin to propagate your plant. You should begin with a cutting that is healthy with at least 3 inches of length and plenty of leaves.

If you are using a trailing plant, you will then have to cut below the leaf nodes to allow new roots to grow before you go any further. 

Once your plant cutting is ready, you should then fill your bottle/jar with room temperature water and place your freshly cut plant cutting into the water.

You should then place your jar on the windowsill to ensure that it will get lots of bright, indirect sunlight. Then all that’s left to do is wait. This can be frustrating, and in the early stages it can be difficult to see anything happening with your plant cutting, but over time you should begin to notice a difference. 

The time that it will take for your cutting to grow into a new plant will differ depending on what type of plant it came from. Some plants, like spider plants, root very quickly so if you are using one of these you will observe differences early on. But other plants will take longer, remember that new plants will not grow in just a few days, and be patient. Sometimes this can take weeks. 

While you wait it is very important that you change the water regularly. You will need to wait until the roots of your plant have grown to between 2-4 inches in size. Once your plant has grown to this point, you can then re-pot it into a small planter with fresh soil. You should then care for your cutting as you would any other plant. 


In short, this is your complete guide to making new plants for free.

We’ve covered absolutely everything that you need to know about water propagating to ensure you know exactly what you need to do when you decide to propagate your plants.   

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