Once removed from the mother plant, fresh cuttings need to be placed in a medium that encourages root development.
Water, soil, LECA, perlite and sphagnum moss are the most commonly used medium for propagating plants. Here’s a basic rundown of each medium.
- Water is often used to propagate plants. Cuttings are placed in fresh water and roots start to form within a few weeks. It’s easy to work with but note that it’s important to change the water out frequently to prevent algae buildup.
- LECA stands for lightweight expanded clay aggregate. It is essentially made up of baked clay balls that expand when soaked in water. When rooting plants in a jar of leca, the water is absorbed by the clay balls and delivered to the plant. It works similar to water propagation in that it provides a good flow of oxygen that helps the plant root. LECA also helps plants root without being exposed to too much light, which then makes the transition to soil easier.
- Perlite is often used to propagate plants. It works similarly to water propagation but provides some resistance for plants to root through. It is sterile and pH neutral which makes it a good choice for propagating plants.
- Sphagnum moss is commonly used as a propagation medium. It retains moisture and is appreciated for its aeration qualities. Cuttings are placed in a pot of moist moss and roots develop within a few weeks. One thing to note is that sphagnum moss should be kept moist at all times.
It is often sold dry-packed and needs to be soaked in water before use.
- Potting soil is often used to propagate plants. Cuttings are placed in a pot of moist soil and roots develop within a few weeks.The ideal mix to use is one which is made up of 2 parts perlite and 1 part peat moss.