How To Take a Cutting

Transitioning plants is easily the most challenging part of LECA. Once you do it, the care is easy and low maintenance. You can propagate plants in many ways; I go into more detail about them here. Firstly, though, you need to take a cutting so you have something to propagate. Once you know how to find the nodes, taking cuttings is super easy!

First, you need an existing, hopefully healthy plant. Start with something easy, like a pothos, philodendron, or monstera, something with very obvious nodes. Nodes are where new plants can grow; your cutting will die if you have no node. Nodes are the small bumps on the plant’s stems.

Cut the stem below the node, around 1 inch. Ensure you have at least 1 leaf but no more than five in the cut section. It is possible to grow from just a node alone without a leaf (commonly called a wet stick). However, it is more complicated and generally a pain; I go into more detail here.

Next, Let the node callus. This is such an important step that many people skip; I lost a few cuttings to this before I learned my lesson. Don’t skip this step! Letting the node callus dramatically lowers your risk of it rotting and dying. There are many other ways to do this, but letting it callus is the easiest.

Once cut, leave the stem with the node alone in a dry place; the amount of time for a plant to callus varies considerably; the thinner the stem, the quicker it calluses. Generally, I allow at least 8 hours for most plants and 24 or more for those with thicker stems. Snake plants I leave out for a whole week.

Once you have left it out to callus, you are ready to put it in a growing medium. I have a post detailing the three I like best; click here.

Root rot is going to be your biggest issue with taking cuttings. Ways to prevent it are:

  • The easiest way to prevent it is to use clean scissors or pruning sheers to take the cuttings; it makes a surprisingly significant difference. Make sure you wash them in between cuttings of different plants.
  • Callusing can help with root rot a lot, like I said above, don’t skip it!
  • Rooting hormone; Some people also use it at the end of the cutting to boost its root growth. I have done this on occasion. However, I have not noticed a considerable difference when doing this, but some people swear by it. It might be worth a try if you’re struggling with a cutting.
  • Generally, I just check my props every few days, cut off any rotting parts, then let them callus and go right back to propping them.
  • More details on root rot here

Good luck!

Feel free to message or DM me with questions. Love to talk all things plant and will gladly help you on your plant journey.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *