The Q&A Archives: Plant Cuttings

Question: I have a number of pothos plants and want to cut and grow some more, but when I cut and let root in plain water they die.
After I take the cutting, should I put them in dirt or water? Do they require any special nutrients or anything?

Answer: Pothos can be rooted in water and then transferred to potting soil but in my experience it works well putting it straight into a fairly sterile soilless mix (a potting soil based on peat moss and vermiculite and perlite). It is usually fairly easy to root. Take cuttings from actively growing tips, make them about four to six inches long with several leaves. Remove the leaves from the bottom end of the cutting and set it into the soil up to the remaining leaves. Roots will form from the spot where you removed the lower leaves, so make sure this spot is under the soil. If needed, trim off any bare stem below this spot leaving just about a third of inch. The potting soil should be damp but not soggy and the cuttings should be placed in a bright spot out of direct sunlight. If you wish, set the pot in a clear plastic bag or tent to help maintain humidity until they root, opening the tent occasionally to allow for some air exchange. Using the plastic means you should not have to water much if at all until they are rooted and can be placed into a normal growing location. If you do not use plastic, keep the soil damp but not soggy. Finally, gentle bottom heat can help but is not necessary. Do not fertilize until after they are growing well as fertilizer may burn the tender beginning roots. Good luck with your project!

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