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There are lots of different types of media out there that you can use to propagate your plants. Today we are going to be talking about the top four most available and most widely used media. We will also be explaining which media work best for what plants and why you should be using them or not using them.
Basically, a rock that has been popped and has a whole lot of air pockets inside so that it can actually store water. It can store water and nutrients efficiently. If you go and buy some popular brands of perlite you might notice that they actually have a fertilizer premix into them so you don’t have to worry about fertilizing your plants as well. This can be great for some plants but it is not so great for other plants.
When you are propagating if there is a fertilizer in the perlite it can actually cause root burn to new and developing roots. In order to avoid this make sure that you are aware of the type of plant and if their roots are sensitive to this sort of thing. Having it pre-fertilized may or may not work out for you in certain cases but it actually works out really well in others.
There are two most prominent propagation methods I have seen. The first of which is, using perlite at the bottom of a little shoebox or some type of sealed clear container.
You dampen the perlite. Then you put your propagations in and then you just seal it up. You let your propagation sit in that very humid environment and grow from there.
The other method I have seen is just having moistened perlite in a cup or a jar with no drainage whatsoever and then you put your propagation in and it will grow.
The second method is especially really great for corms. So if you are growing alocasia corns this is a fantastic method to do that with. It is also really great for hoyas. Hoya really loves perlite and this gives them quite a bit of aeration. This enables them to be able to get that human environment for their roots but enough errors so that they’re not going to rot. So a lot of woody-stemmed plants will enjoy perlite as well.
Water is really great for propagating pretty much anything. You just take a cutting of your plant and for example, if you were gonna take a cutting of a spider plant… you would just snip off the little plantlet. Just put it in a little cup of water and in a few days to a week, it will start to grow some roots for you. When they have secondary roots is when you want to start taking them out. So when they are big thick juicy roots and they are starting to have little extra roots coming off of them is when you can take them out of the water. They are basically fully propagated and you can add them to something else.
There are people that like to fully grow their plants in the water though and it’s very interesting that you don’t have to always remove your propagations from the water. You can just continue to add nutrients to it depending on the plant.
Very similar to perlite in the sense that it can hold nutrients and water. And then release that out to create a very moist environment. Sphagnum is more moister than perlite though. So Sphagnum moss is really great for those propagation boxes. To make one you put the moss dampened in the very bottom of it and then you just put your propagations in there on top of the moss. Close up the box and let your propagations grow.
Sometimes though plants will rot because it is too moist of an environment for them. So you need to be wary of that and pay attention. Some plants that rot easily include, succulents, and specific Hoyas. And Tradescantia these are not really going to like this propagation media too much. They might prefer water or perlite because it allows more oxygen and more breathability.
There are lots of other plants that enjoy a sphagnum moss propagation box though. These include: pretty much any Philodendron Pothos(Epipremnum) and even some Hoya enjoy being propagated in Sphagnum moss.
There is another aspect to it where you can actually mix equal parts of perlite and sphagnum moss to create aeration making the sphagnum moss not as dense. Begonia especially really loves this method. So if you are struggling with your Begonia or trying to propagate Begonia it’s not working out very well for you… try to do a propagation box but mix the sphagnum with the perlite so you have more aeration with a little bit of extra moisture retention for it.
This media used to be widely used all the time and then we started trying to come up with more Eco-friendly ways. And more efficient ways to propagate. Hence, these other methods that I have mentioned but the soil is still very efficient.
Basically our soil today does not even really contain soil. They have a peat-based potting mix or they have a clay-based potting mix. All we have to do in order to propagate with soil is just snip off a bit of a plant. Make sure that the soil is moist. Stick the plant in there and let it continue to grow. The cutting will grow roots because that type of soil will hold on to the humidity. As long as there is some type of node if it needs it.
The plant this method is most used with is Tradescantia. Using this soil propagation method is how you get a full pot of Tradescantia. You can also use it with plants like Philodendron.
There are times when people won’t even make a separate pot. They will just take a Vining plant and just loop it around the top of the plant pin it in place make sure to keep it moist for the next couple of days in a humid environment and that is soil propagation as well so it’s still a very widely used and very efficient method it’s just not talked about very much when people specifically talk about propagation. So I felt that it should be discussed here today.
Knowing the materials you have available and knowing what plants work better. What type of propagation methods can really help you determine how best to meet your new plant’s needs.
It is really fun to experiment because what works great for one person in one environment will not necessarily work. So well in another because we all have our own little microscopic ecosystems inside our homes. Breaking it down even more, inside the specific rooms in our homes. We will have a different environment for our plants. Plants will behave differently in these environments. Being able to know which propagation methods are going to work better can make a huge difference.