This simple tutorial shows how to take cuttings from your pothos houseplant (Epipremnum aureum) and root them for new plants.
There are also practical tips for How to Grow African Violets From Cuttings.
Pothos Growing and Propagation Tips
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Pothos is an iconic houseplant and it’s enjoying a revival these days.
Grow them as trailing vines or add stick-on hooks to your wall and let them work their way all around the room.
Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum
Common Names: pothos, devil’s ivy, money plant
Light: Tolerates fairly low light, prefers medium light a few feet from a window. Variegated leaves lose yellow tones if light is too low.
Water: Even moisture. These guys sulk if the soil dries out (wilting, yellow leaves, brown patches).
Maintenance: For a bushier plant, cut some stems back to soil level to encourage additional shoots.
Or let those vines grow on and on. They can reach 30 feet in length!
Propagation: Stem cuttings (instructions below)—sometimes also called ‘stem tip cuttings’—can be rooted in water or potting medium.
Houseplants Suitable for Stem Cuttings
Besides pothos, there are lots more tropical/indoor houseplants you can grow from stem cuttings:
- African violet Saintpaulia spp.
- Basil Ocimum basilicum
- Begonia Begonia spp.
- Chinese evergreen Aglaonema commutatum
- Chinese money plant Pilea peperomioides
- Citrus Citrus spp.
- Coleus Solenostemon spp.
- Corn plant Dracaena spp.
- Dieffenbachia Dieffenbachia spp.
- Echeveria Echeveria spp.
- Ficus Ficus benjamina
- Fiddle leaf fig Ficus lyrata
- Geranium Pelargonium spp.
- Hibiscus Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
- Moth orchid Phalaenopsis spp.
- Peperomia Peperomia spp.
- Philodendrum Philodendrum spp.
- Pothos ivy Pothos spp.
- Snake plant Sansevieria spp.
How to Take a Stem Cutting / Stem-Tip Cutting
This is the same method used to take softwood cuttings from outdoor garden plants.
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- Scalpel or sharp, fine knife/snippers cleaned with rubbing alcohol or bleach solution (4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water for at least one minute).
- Jars of warm water for rooting in water. I love these glass bulb rooting stands.
- Small flowerpots with houseplant potting mix (for rooting and/or growing).
Rooting medium: perlite, vermiculite, or a general houseplant potting medium.
Growing medium: general houseplant potting medium.
- Dibber or thick pencil/sharpie to make hole in potting mix.
- Pothos plant with long stems (over 12-inches long).
Should I use rooting hormone? No, it’s not necessary. Easy growers like pothos will root just fine without it. Rooting hormone is recommended for any stubborn or slow-growing plants or when taking hardwood cuttings. You can read more about rooting hormone here.
1Get Supplies Ready
Pothos plant, clean scalpel, jars of water or flowerpots with growing medium.
2Take Your Cuttings
- Choose a healthy, main stem.
- From the tip/end of the stem, count back at least 3 leaves.
- Approximately ½ to one-inch below the third leaf, cut stem at 45-degree angle.
- You can keep the top two leaves and remove the third (lower) leaf by cutting it near the stem with a nice, clean cut.
What is a Node?
Nodes are those little bumps you see on plant stems.
Depending on the plant, nodes may be where stems, leaves, or new roots can grow.
On the pothos plant, the leaf nodes are the areas along the stem where leaves are growing.
By removing the lower leaf and cutting the stem below it, the plant will react by sprouting roots in that zone.
- Place cutting in warm water, submerged one inch above the node where the 3rd leaf was removed.
Root in Potting Mix
- Use a dibber to create a hole in the growing medium and bury stem to just above node where 3rd leaf was removed. Water until growing medium is moist.
- Place cutting (now in jar or flowerpot) near natural light but not where it will get hot or dry out.
Two Weeks Later
This photo (above) was taken 18 days after I started rooting the cuttings.
- You can see white roots growing from one node on each stem.
- In another month or so, the roots will have side shoots and be about an inch longer—that’s when I like to switch water rooted cuttings to potting mix.
The photo (below) is after several months.
Water Rooting : Freshen water every few days.
Growing Medium Rooting: keep evenly moist, not soggy or dry.
Tip: If you have a heating mat, use it to speed up root formation.
Timing: Pothos generally take about 4 to 6 weeks to produce roots ready for planting.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
How to Root Pothos Cuttings in Water
Supplies & Materials
- 1 Pothos plant
- Use clean scalpel to take cutting. Choose a healthy, main stem.From the tip/end of the stem, count back at least 3 leaves.Approximately ½ to one-inch below the third leaf, cut stem at 45-degree angle.You can keep the top two leaves and remove the third (lower) leaf by cutting it near the stem with a nice, clean cut.
- You are cutting below a node (the part of a plant stem where the leaves grow from).
- Place cuttings in a few inches of warm water.
- Place cutting in jar near natural light but not where it will get hot or dry out.After two weeks small roots will be forming.After six weeks, roots should be an inch or more long and your cutting is ready to planted in potting mix.