So, you finally got your hands on one of the holy grails of all plants, the pink princess. This is such an exciting time…who would love burgundy leaves with beautiful pink variegation? Why on Earth would you ever want to cut it up? Here are just a few reasons.
- To make more plants!
- Try to get more variegation
- cosmetic or spatial reasons (plant has outgrown its space/has been damaged or broke)
I am going to go over the best way to get a successful propagation. It may seem like a scary idea to cut up your beloved plant and propagation does have its risks but for the most part it is a simple procedure.
- The plant you want to propagate
- Clean sharp shears
- Rooting powder/hormone
- Spagnum Moss
- Gallon Ziplock
I am propagating my plant to try and restore some variegation. First, we need to have a little chat about variegation in plants, particularly pink princesses. Variegation can be a real wild card, you can get one leaf that is highly variegated and the next one little to no variegation. I find with the pink princess they tend to loose variegation a little faster. But with propagation we can isolate the variegated section and try and rejuvenate it!
Where to Cut
When cutting any plant for propagation, you need to cut just below a node. A node is located just below where the petiole (leaf stem) connects to the main stem. Most aroids will have aerial roots starting to form at the node. The aerial roots will eventually turn into supporting roots for your cutting.
If you are trying to promote more variegation, you will cute node just above the last variegation point. This method would force new growth at a variegated node and would increase your chances of that variegation continuing.
If you are not concerned with variegation, you will want to make your cut just below a node, preferably with aerial roots. I recommend selecting a spot where several leaves are left on the cutting and original plant.
The first cut is always the hardest! Always make sure you clean your shears with soap and water. Open wounds on plants are susceptible to bacterial infections.
Preparing your Cutting
Ok, so you just cut your beautiful plant up. If this is your first time propagating, you might be experiencing some feelings. Those feeling might become stronger when your realize your princess bleeds, pink 🙁 Rest assured… in a few weeks your cuttings will well on their way to become new plants.
Blot with a clean paper towel the fresh cuts. Then set aside the cuttings to dry, while you prepare the final steps.
Sphagnum moss is a great medium to use for rooting plants. It provides great moisture while providing airflow and lowering chances of rot. You will want the moss to be damp but not dripping. I usually run some water through it and then give it a good squeeze and plop it in your pot.
After the cuttings have had a few minutes to dry, its time to apply the rooting hormone. I don’t really have a favorite brand and have found they all have similar effects. Whatever is accessible to you will be just fine.
The rooting hormone will be applied to all of the open wounds. This will help promote new roots and help keep away bacteria and rot. I made 2 cuts, which resulted in 2 separate cuttings and the original plant. All cuts will get rooting hormone.
Now, the cuttings can go into the sphagnum moss. Make sure they are nice and deep in there. The pots are then, going to go into the gallon ziplock bags. You will blow the bags up like a balloon. I think it is easier to put one cutting per zippy.
Humidity, warmth and air circulation are going to be key for a successful propagation. Exchange the air in the bag every few days. If the sphagnum moss seems like it is drying out, give it a little squirt squirt.
I place the prop bags in a bright spot on a heat mat that is set at 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat mat helps speed up the rooting process. The next several weeks will take patients. Don’t take out or pull on the plant for several weeks. The first roots are very fragile. If you suspect rot, that is the only time I would recommend taking a peeksie.
I will give an update in a few weeks how my cuttings are doing. Until then…Happy Propagating!!