A plethora of indoor plant propagation, 3-5-15

By Heather Hacking, Chico Enterprise-Record
POSTED: 03/05/15, 6:14 PM PST | UPDATED: ON 03/06/2015 0 COMMENTS
In relationships, people have differences the other person may never understand.

I’m not talking about the “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” blather. (Although some of that blather is quite helpful).
I’m talking about the inevitable, potentially annoying traits that require acceptance.

I will never understand how my boyfriend can play guitar for three hours straight. Nor can I understand how playing the same song over and over is more important than preparing the house for a visit from my mother.

He will also never understand why I need to have plants on every countertop, on the floor, hanging from the ceiling and along each step of the front porch.


This overzealous indoor plant propagation is entirely new, which is why it is so much fun, which is why it has gotten out of hand.

It started with a rather generous philodendron purchased at the grocery store. This hanging plant had so many long, green tendrils, it was begging to be replicated.

Philodendron is at the top of the list of easiest plants to cultivate in water. Simply take a long, healthy stem, strip off the bottom leaves and dunk into an old glass jar filled with water.

Now I have four philodendron plants.

My sister and mother visited and admired my wandering Jew plant. Would I make cuttings for them, they requested politely.

I could and I did.

Wandering Jew, aka Tradescantia albiflora, also roots easily in water. So easily, in fact, I kept two for myself.

Meanwhile, my boyfriend has long arms and apparently the plants get in his way when he’s playing guitar.


Food containers and miscellaneous plastic packaging make great mini-greenhouses. These are stored easily if your boyfriend will just stay out of the cupboards.

Costco is a blessing and a curse for plastic. When apples are unnecessarily sold in a plastic sheath, you can re-use the containers for sprouting tomatoes. The same goes for containers filled with baby kale and spinach.

The tomato greenhouses are moved to the front porch during the day and returned to the living room rug at night.

Did I mention that the house is less than 500 square-feet?


The breaking point was when I brought home the plants from my desk at work.

I’m scheduled to have surgery soon and don’t want to burden my coworkers with plant babysitting.

Plus, the schefflera at my desk is about four years too big for its small pot.

Naturally, I separated the large plant into two, and the only place to put them is in on the rug next to the tomatoes.

Boyfriend: “I think we have enough indoor plants.”

Heather: We need a larger house.


A helpful website for teachers includes a list of plants easily propagated by children: http://goo.gl/ut0bGe. These include geranium, coleus, mint, basil, oregano, sweet potato vine, tomato suckers, snapdragon, African violet and sedum.

The advice includes placing pebbles at the bottom of jars filled with water. When the new roots reach the pebbles, they grow hair-like roots. This expands the plant’s ability to take in oxygen once planted in the ground.

Better Homes and Garden also has a great article about ways to propagate houseplants, http://goo.gl/LM5aRh.

This includes taking a strappy leaf from a snake plant, cutting the bottom at an angle, dipping in rooting powder, then sticking the leaf into loose rooting soil. You can also check out easy ways to grow more begonias.

Luckily, the weather is getting warmer and I can focus my obsession outdoors.

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