Friday, December 10, 2010

how to create a profusion of houseplants

I understand that houseplants, and plants in general, intimidate some people. But the benefits of plants are endless, and they really are much easier to care for, keep alive, and reproduce than you think. From one modest Heart-Leaf Philodendron--my favorite of all houseplants because it doesn't need much light or water--I've created an army: two pots at work and at least five pots at home.

Let me show you how to do it.

Make sure your plant is good and healthy. The leaves should be a lush, dark green (not yellow, brown, or lime green) and the vines should be long, like in the photo below.

See how long the vines are in the picture below? They will grow forever if you let them. In Brad's and my old apartment, the vines stretched at least ten feet once, before I cut them off.

Snip off the vines with a pair of very sharp scissors. I normally leave a healthy amount of greenery in the pot, but trim off everything that spills over the edges. Don't worry--it will grow back.

Snip each vine just below a leaf, like I did in the picture below. Then, remove the bottom 1-2 leaves. Once exposed to water, the little nubs (I'm SURE there's a scientific name for this, but hey, I'm no botanist) where the leaves were will sprout roots.

After this step, you have two options: plant the snipped vines in a pot of saturated potting soil or stick the vines in a cup full of water. If you're a novice, and want to watch the roots grow, choose the latter option, which is pictured below.

Keep the vines in the cup for two to three weeks, changing the water every few days. You'll notice long, thin, black/brown strings forming on the "nubs" on each stem--these are the roots! Once you notice the roots forming, you can plant the stems in potting soil, making sure to keep the soil very wet for another couple of weeks so the roots can grow and establish themselves. The stems can be tender and may break easily, so clump a few of them together and plant them in bunches. After a couple of weeks of wet soil, just treat the vines like any other plant and water them whenever needed.

May you create Heart-Leaf Philodendron armies, too, and never have to buy another houseplant again.


Susannah said...

I think you created a pot for me as a housewarming gift that I still have! You're right - 100% easy!

Dr. Blondie said...

Susannah, yes! I'm glad to hear it's still alive!:)