Whether you have a few flowers here or there or a full-blown indoor garden, odds are you've taken care of a plant at some point in your life. Houseplant care can easily become an obsession for many, with collections growing from one or two small plants to a whole forest.
If you've ever wondered how your friends with extraordinary green thumbs always seem to have an ever-expanding horde of plants, the answer is most likely propagation. Buying new plants can be quite pricey, but propagation is, for the most part, free and incredibly easy. It usually involves snipping a long section of leaves off and regrowing the roots, often in water, until they can be replanted in soil. This can be a bit difficult in larger quantities, though. For one, you'll need a jar or glass for each cutting. Factor in how often you need to change the water, as well as how much space that takes up, and it can be quite inconvenient. Luckily, there's a simple way to streamline this process.
Instead of hunting down jars and glasses or small pots for water or soil propagation, TikTok user @benjiplant recommends using an empty plastic salad or greens container, big enough to store all your cuttings at once. Begin by cleaning up the container to your desire — this has no real impact on the outcome, but it does make the plastic look a little better on your windowsill. Remove the stickers, soak the plastic, and use acetone to remove sticker residue.
Once clean, they recommend adding a base of dried sphagnum moss, slightly hydrating it, and simply adding the cuttings on top. Over time, given exposure to light, aired out, and misted regularly, they'll begin to develop roots. Sphagnum moss is a great way to get a cutting to start rooting, as well as to transition it from water to soil, as it's not as dense but still just as effective. This hack isn't limited to plastic salad containers — wider plastic tubs of any kind will work.
Before rooting your cuttings, you need to make sure you get good ones in the first place. Outdoor and indoor plants alike can be rooted via stem propagation. The only difference is when to take the cuttings — indoor plants can be cut any time of year, whereas spring is the best time for outdoor plants. Your plant should also be healthy, with long enough stems to take a cutting without sacrificing its integrity.
Next, grab sharp scissors or garden shears that have been disinfected to reduce the potential transmission of bacteria or disease. Look for nodes — little bumps along the stem where root buds gather. The length of your cutting isn't too important, but it should have at least a couple of nodes and, ideally, a few leaves. Strip the bottom leaves, and, optionally, dip the raw end of the cutting into rooting hormone before adding to your sphagnum moss mixture. Once roots form, replant into a regular pot.