18 Easiest Plants to Propagate | Cuttings, Division, and Pups

Plants propagate through a number of methods. In nature, propagation via seed is by far the most common. But when it comes to the world of houseplants, vegetative propagation (e.g., via cuttings, root division, or offshoots) reigns supreme.

You might be interested in propagation because you want to preserve a unique cultivar. Or you may want to gift copies of your favorite plant to friends and family. Regardless of the motivation, everyone has to start somewhere.

In this article, I’ll cover 18 of the easiest plants to propagate and offer some expert tips to help you along the way.

What Factors Make A Plant Easy to Propagate

When it comes to propagating houseplants, there are a few factors that can make the process easier or more difficult. One of the most important factors is the method of propagation. Some plants can be easily propagated through stem cuttings, or root division, whilst others require more complicated techniques such as air layering.

Method of Propagation – The complexity of each propagation process, combined with the gardener’s knowledge and capabilities, will have a significant impact on success or failure rates. So it is important to work with a method that is aligned with your level of experience or your appetite for trial and error.

Root Development Time – The longer it takes for new roots to develop will directly increase the likelihood of failure. Think about it, plants that root quickly and easily will become self-sufficient and less exposed to low moisture, temperature issue, and other environmental conditions. Whilst cutting that take longer to root may require special care during the rooting phase to keep them alive and healthy.

I have measured rooting time frames across a variety of common houseplants, and from my experience, you can expect to see results as follows:

  • Tradescantia 7-14 days
  • Schefflera 30-45 days
  • Pothos 7-14 days
  • Philodendron 14-21 days
  • African Violets 21-30 days
  • String of Hearts 7-14 days
  • Peperomia 14-45 days
  • Butterfly Plant 45 days

Species Temperament – By temperament, I’m referring to how fussy the plant is generally, even as a mature plant. Some species are just difficult to care for at any stage of their life, even for experienced growers. So, propagating this type of plant will inevitably prove a more challenging task, when you put the plant under the stresses of cutting or dividing.

Overall, when choosing a houseplant to propagate, it’s important to consider all of these factors in order to select a plant that will be easy and rewarding to propagate. By choosing a plant with an easy propagation method, quick rooting time, and forgiving nature, you’ll set yourself up for success and enjoy watching your new plant grow and thrive.

Best Plants to Propagate From Stem Cuttings

It’s shocking just how many popular plant species can be propagated from stem cuttings. However, some are easier to coax into growing than others. 

If you’re new to the propagation and want to try your hand at taking cuttings from your favorite houseplant, I recommend starting with one of these beginner-friendly varieties:

wandering jew

1. Tradescantia

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Stem cutting in water or soil
  • Potential growth height & spread: 6 in. tall, Up to 6 ft. spread
  • Watering: Moderate
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 65 to 75°F 
  • Soil: All-purpose potting soil
  • Toxicity: None
  • Common problems and pests: Spider mites, Aphids, Root rot

I think Tradescantia is the best plant to start with if you’re brand new to propagation, as it’s a simple process and the cutting will begin to show roots within 7 days.

Common names include inch plant, variegated spiderwort, and wandering Jew (the latter is being phased out for obvious reasons). These trailing plants are incredibly easy to propagate via stem cuttings in either soil or water.

Some types of Tradescantia plants grow adventitious roots just from being exposed to humid air. Here is a guide to taking stem cutting from Tradescantia with some useful demonstration images.

Schefflera

2. Schefflera

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Root stem cuttings in soil or water
  • Potential growth height & spread: Up to 6 ft. (indoors)
  • Watering: Low
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 65 to 75°F 
  • Soil: Rich, loamy potting soil
  • Toxicity: Yes — People and pets
  • Common problems and pests: Scale, Spider mites, Mealybugs, Root rot

Schefflera is a large genus of plants containing 2 notable houseplant species: Schefflera actinophylla and Schefflera arboricola. These species are commonly known as the umbrella plant and dwarf umbrella plant, respectively.

You can propagate Schefflera plants from cuttings or by layering healthy stems in soil or damp peat moss. Roots typically emerge within 30-45 days.

pothos

3. Pothos

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Root stem cutting in water or soil
  • Potential growth height & spread: 6 to 10 ft.
  • Watering: Moderate
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 65 to 75°F 
  • Soil: All-purpose potting soil
  • Toxicity: Yes — Pets
  • Common problems and pests: Spider mites, Mealybugs, Root rot

Pothos are incredibly popular houseplants with vines that can be draped or trained on supports. They also thrive in low light, which is why so many people choose to grow Pothos as home or office decor.

With stems that can easily reach 10 feet long, each Pothos plant can produce an endless supply of cuttings. Pothos root from nodes very easily in both potting soil and plain water. You can expect to have sufficient roots within 7-14 days when the cutting will be ready to transplant.

There are many interesting Pothos cultivars out there to collect. If you have a unique variety of your own, propagation is a great way to make exact clones of the parent plant for friends and family.

Philodendron

4. Philodendron

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Take stem cuttings and root them in water
  • Potential growth height & spread: Up to 6 ft.
  • Watering: Moderate
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 75 to 85°F 
  • Soil: Rich, loose potting soil
  • Toxicity: Yes — People and pets
  • Common problems and pests: Bacterial leaf spot, Root rot

The Philodendron genus is beloved for its bright green foliage that comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. 

Most Philodendron houseplants are categorized by whether they produce trailing vines or grow upright. Both types can be readily propagated from cuttings. I recommend rooting Philodendron cuttings in a jar of water or soil for the simplest approach, especially for trailing philodendrons whose roots will develop within 14-21 days.

African Violets

5. African Violets

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Leaf cuttings rooted in soil.
  • Potential growth height & spread: 6 to 9 in.
  • Watering: High
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 65 to 80°F 
  • Soil: African violet potting mix
  • Toxicity: None
  • Common problems and pests: Cyclamen mites, Thrips, Mealybugs, Powdery mildew, Root rot, Bacterial blight

African violets are frequently given as gifts and can be kept alive for many years with a bit of basic care. You can even grow more of this ever-flowering houseplant by taking leaf cuttings and rooting them in peat moss.

For the best results, leave ½-inch of stem attached to each leaf cutting. Roots will develop in 21-30 days from the base of the stem. 

With adequate light, moisture, and warmth, your African violet cuttings should be ready for transplant in a few months.

String of Hearts

6. String of Hearts

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Leaf cuttings rooted on soil
  • Potential growth height & spread: 2 in. tall, Up to 12 ft. spread
  • Watering: Low to moderate
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 60 to 80°F 
  • Soil: Cacti and succulent potting mix
  • Toxicity: None
  • Common problems and pests: Fungus gnats, Mealybugs, Aphids, Scale

A string of hearts is a succulent vine that can be grown as a houseplant or outdoors in warmer Mediterranean climates. It gets its name from the heart-shaped leaves that line its delicate trailing stems.

You can take cuttings from any healthy vine with several internodes of growth. A string of hearts roots very quickly, so you should see results within 7-14 days. But possibly the easiest method is to place a few leaves on potting soil and leave them to root in a bright but shaded position.

While cuttings are the preferred option when propagating a string of hearts, you can also grow new plants from tubers that form on the stems. You can apply these same techniques for propagating String of Bananas, String of Pearl and String of Dolphins.

Peperomia

7. Peperomia

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Stem cuttings in water or leaf cutting on soil
  • Potential growth height & spread: 6 to 12 in.
  • Watering: Moderate
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 65 to 75°F 
  • Soil: Loose, well-draining potting soil
  • Toxicity: None
  • Common problems and pests: Thrips, Mealybugs, Scale, Fungus gnats, Ring spot, Cutting rot

There are several species within the Peperomia genus commonly grown as houseplants. All of these species go by the common name radiator plant.

Radiator plants can be propagated from single-leaf cuttings. For successful peperomia propagation, make sure all leaf cuttings have a small piece of stem attached. You can also root larger cuttings if desired. Roots will typically form after 14 days but it can take up to 45 days in some varieties.

Butterfly Plant

8. Butterfly Plant

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Stem cuttings in water or soil
  • Potential growth height & spread: Up to 6 ft. tall, 2 ft. spread
  • Watering: Moderate
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 60 to 80°F 
  • Soil: All-purpose potting soil
  • Toxicity: Yes — People and pets
  • Common problems and pests: Aphids, Spider mites, Thrips, Mealybugs, Bacterial blight

Also known as an arrowhead vine, the butterfly plant is a somewhat close relative of the Philodendron genus. 

Butterfly plants boast a variety of colors and growth habits that make them particularly attractive to collectors.

Cuttings can be rooted in plain water or potting soil with great success. I recommend selecting a piece of stem with existing aerial roots — a common phenomenon in humid environments — for propagation. Butterfly plants will develop their new roots around 45 days but it can take 90 days.

How To Propagate From Stem Cuttings

Stem cuttings are a bit like seeds in the sense that some will grow in any environment while others will fail unless very specific conditions are met. While the species I’ve listed above tend to fall into the former category, there are still some very important things you should know before getting your hands dirty:

  1. Cuttings should only be taken from healthy, mature plants that are free of pest infestations and diseases.
  2. You should always sanitize your tools before taking cuttings to prevent the spread of disease between plants.
  3. All cuttings must contain nodes to produce roots and grow. Nodes are sections of the stem where new growth emerges, including leaves and offshoots.
  4. Many cuttings can be rooted in either potting soil or water.
  5. You can apply a rooting hormone powder to cuttings to increase the odds of root development.

Easy Plants To Propagate From Root Division 

Many houseplants can be easily propagated just by dividing the original root system into one or more segments. Yes, you’ve got it, the beauty of this method is the instant gratification of creating a new plant that is self-sufficient within the time it takes to split the root ball.

Propagating via division is also a great way to maintain the size of your potted plants. Instead of upgrading to a larger container, you can simply split the original plant into several smaller ones, and increase your urban jungle or share the love with someone else, by gifting it.

Calathea

9. Calathea

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Root division
  • Potential growth height & spread: Up to 2 ft.
  • Watering: High
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 65 to 80°F
  • Soil: Rich, loamy potting soil
  • Toxicity: None
  • Common problems and pests: Thrips, Spider mites, Whiteflies, Root rot, Powdery mildew, Southern blight

Calathea is largely popular due to its variegated foliage that comes in a range of colors. However, they can be difficult to care for and require consistent warmth and humidity to thrive.

If you want to propagate your Calathea plant, root division is the best method. This technique allows you to create several new plants that all share the same interesting coloring and variegation.

Calathea grows very fast, so you’ll see quick results from any propagation endeavor. But you should only propagate mature plants that are a couple of years old.

peace lily

10. Peace Lily

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Root division, or stem cutting in soil or water
  • Potential growth height & spread: Up to 4 ft.
  • Watering: Low to moderate
  • Light: Bright, indirect light, will tolerate partial shade
  • Best temperature: 68 to 85°F
  • Soil: Rich, loose potting soil
  • Toxicity: Yes, people and pets
  • Common problems and pests: Scale, Spider mites, Mealybugs, Root rot

Peace lilies are hardy houseplants that, when all of their basic needs are met, will grow trouble-free and surprisingly fast, producing stunning architectural white flowers. 

A mature peace lily will naturally produce offshoots from the main plant. To keep your peace lily’s size under control, I recommend removing these offshoots and placing them into separate containers, to grow on.

Alternatively, you can cut off sections of the main root ball for propagation by division. Every section should have healthy root and leaf tissue to continue growing. Here is a step-by-step guide to propagating peace lilies.

Aspidistra elatior

11. Cast Iron Plant

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Root division
  • Potential growth height & spread: Up to 3 ft. tall, Up to 2 ft. spread
  • Watering: Moderate
  • Light: Moderate, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 60 to 75°F
  • Soil: All-purpose potting soil
  • Toxicity: None
  • Common problems and pests: Spider mites, Root rot, Leaf-spot disease, Powdery mildew, Fusarium wilt

There’s no such thing as an unkillable houseplant but the cast iron plant comes pretty close. Not only can this plant survive mild neglect but it thrives in shockingly dim growing conditions.

Cast iron plants have underground stems called rhizomes. When your cast iron plant outgrows its current pot, you can cut pieces of this rhizome and transplant them to new containers. For the best results, each piece should have at least 2 healthy leaves growing from it.

snake plant

12. Snake Plant

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Root division or leaf cuttings
  • Potential growth height & spread: Up to 8 ft. tall
  • Watering: Low
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 70 to 90°F
  • Soil: Cacti and succulent potting mix
  • Toxicity: Yes — Mostly pets
  • Common problems and pests: Spider mites, Mealybugs, Root rot

Snake plants are striking specimens that tolerate some of the harshest growing conditions, including low light and infrequent watering. They can also easily be divided at the roots for propagation.

When dividing a snake plant, I recommend creating sections that contain at least 3 leaves each. This will ensure the new plants are able to continue growing on their own. You can also propagate snake plants by taking sections of leaves and simply planting them in soil or placing them in a jar of water to root.

chinese evergreen

13. Chinese Evergreen

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Root division
  • Potential growth height & spread: Up to 3 ft.
  • Watering: Moderate
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 68 to 77°F
  • Soil: All-purpose potting soil
  • Toxicity: Yes — People and pets
  • Common problems and pests: Scale, Aphids, Mealybugs, Spider mites, Bacterial blight

There are over 50 varieties of Chinese evergreen offering a huge array of colors, featuring large leaves that often have silvery tinted variegation. Unlike many other indoor plants, full-grown Chinese evergreens can flower during the warmer months.

Chinese evergreens are best propagated in the middle of summer. Maintaining consistent moisture in the weeks following propagation will aid in the recovery of both the original and new plants.

zz plant

14. ZZ Plant

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Root division
  • Potential growth height & spread: 2 to 4 ft.
  • Watering: Low
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 60 to 75°F
  • Soil: All-purpose potting soil
  • Toxicity: Yes — People and pets
  • Common problems and pests: Scale, Fungus gnats, Whiteflies, Aphids, Spider mites, Root rot

You can technically propagate a ZZ plant by either root division or stem cuttings. However, cuttings tend to root very slowly. I much prefer to propagate this houseplant by dividing when the plant outgrows its original container.

ZZ plants grow from rhizomes below the soil’s surface. You can break apart these rhizomes to create new plant segments. Be sure each segment is connected to the healthy stem and leaf tissue.

Propagating From Root Division Made Easy

Not all plants can be propagated in this way, so I strongly advise researching your particular houseplant if it’s not one of the species I mentioned above. Once you’re 100% sure that division will be successful, follow these tips to get the best results:

  1. Divide plants during the time of year when they would normally be repotted. For most species, this is either late winter or early summer.
  2. Water your plant a day or so before propagating to loosen the soil around the roots.
  3. Examine the root system for offshoots that naturally break away from the main plant. These are the best sections to take for propagation.
  4. If you’re unable to pull apart the roots, use a pair of clean, sharp shears to cut them.
  5. Each divided section must contain the healthy root, stem, and leaf tissue.

Easy Plants To Propagate From Pups

Some plants send off smaller versions of themselves — called pups — as a means of reproduction. Like offspring grown from cuttings or root division, these new plants are exact clones of the parents.

Pups are actually a very common phenomenon in the plant world. Here are a few houseplants you may own that exhibit this behavior:

prickly pear

15. Prickly Pear Cactus

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Removing pups and planting in soil
  • Potential growth height & spread: Up to 8 ft.
  • Watering: Very low
  • Light: 6+ hours of direct light
  • Best temperature: 70 to 90°F
  • Soil: Cacti and succulent potting mix
  • Toxicity: Yes — People and pets
  • Common problems and pests: Scale, Mealybugs, Dry rot, Sunscald

There are over 100 species of prickly pear cacti, some of which make great houseplants. When grown outdoors, these cacti produce edible fruit at maturity.

You can propagate prickly pear cacti from pups any time during the growing season (cacti kept indoors can be propagated year-round). I recommend using thick gloves and a set of rubber tongs when handling these plants.

Spider Plants

16. Spider Plants

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Remove plantlets and plant in soil
  • Potential growth height & spread: 1 to 2 ft.
  • Watering: Low to moderate
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 70 to 90°F
  • Soil: Loose, loamy potting soil
  • Toxicity: None — Mildly hallucinogenic in cats
  • Common problems and pests: Spider mites, Whiteflies, Aphids, Mealybugs, Root rot, Leaf rot

There are over 200 varieties of spider plants to choose from, but they can all be propagated in the same way.

A healthy spider plant will produce more pups than you know what to do with. It’s the perfect houseplant for anyone interested in propagation but who is afraid of failure.

Spider plant pups form on long stems. You can place the pups in pots of their own while still attached to the original plant to encourage root development. This isn’t always necessary, though, as the pups will produce aerial roots if the air is humid enough.

pilea

17. Pilea

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Plantlets from the mother’s root and place in soil
  • Potential growth height & spread: Up to 12 in.
  • Watering: Moderate
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 55 to 85°F
  • Soil: Rich, well-draining potting soil
  • Toxicity: None
  • Common problems and pests: Fungus gnats, Whiteflies, Aphids, Root rot, Powdery mildew, Leaf-spot disease

Also known as Chinese money plants, pilea are very easy to propagate from pups. 

If you have a mature pilea, you’ll likely see small offshoots sprouting up around the mother plant. These offshoots are attached to the main root system but can be carefully cut off and transplanted into their own containers.

Sometimes, pilea pups will lose their roots in the propagation process. Don’t throw these offshoots away! You can instead place them in water or damp soil to encourage new root growth, just like you would a stem cutting.

aloe vera

18. Aloe Vera

  • Easiest Propagation Methods: Remove offsets and plant in potting mix
  • Potential growth height & spread: Up to 36 in. tall, Up to 12 in. wide
  • Watering: Low
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Best temperature: 55 to 85°F
  • Soil: Cacti and succulent potting mix
  • Toxicity: Yes — Pets
  • Common problems and pests: Aphids, Spider mites, Mealybugs, Gall mites, Root rot, Black leaf spot

Aloe vera is one succulent species that is relatively easy to grow from seed. However, propagating Aloe Veri via pups is still the preferred method.

Aloe plants will produce pups indefinitely. If these pups are left attached to the parent plant, they will quickly outgrow its container. When your aloe vera starts to get too big, I recommend removing the entire plant and cutting away the pups for propagation.

Aloe vera pups typically develop roots of their own. Any pups that lack roots, however, are likely to grow some in a month or so if placed in soil or water.

Quick and Easy Propagating From Pups

When it comes to propagating from pups, the mother plant does most of the work for you. All you need to do is remove the pup at the correct time and transplant it into an appropriate container.

Pups should be left on the parent plant until they reach a considerable size. Some can even grow roots of their own while still attached. You can then carefully sever the pup from the original plant using a sterile blade. The time this will take varies between species.

I recommend planting pups in the same potting mix as the mother plant. Keep them in a similar location as they continue to grow and mature.

Easiest Plants to Propagate Final Thoughts

Propagation can be intimidating but it doesn’t need to be. If you start with an easy-to-grow species and follow the tips I’ve outlined in this article, you’re bound to end up with a few new specimens of your own.

With that said, failure is a natural part of gardening. Be prepared to lose some propagated plants along the way and remember that it’s all part of the learning process. The best thing about propagation is that you can always start over with a new cutting, root division, or pup and try again.

FAQ Best Plants to Propagate

References:

The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Propagating from Pup

University of Missouri – Home Propagation of Houseplants

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Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.