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Make Cheap Houseplants - Dividing & Rooting

Want green, pretty houseplants for your home, without spending nursery prices? Try propagating some of the easier plants. These two methods - dividing and rooting, take no special skills of equipment, and get you nice foliage almost instantly. Try dividing a dracaena, or rooting a cutting of pothos. Here's how.

Dividing a Dracaena - I recently bought a ten dollar dracaena at Walmart. The plant is thigh-high, which is a good size for that price. The best thing about it: there are three different stalks in the one pot. This means I instantly have three largish plants to work with.

To make three house plants from this "dragon plant", I used a sharp kitchen knife, and carefully cut apart the roots between the three stems. I planted one back in its original pot, and potted the other two in their own containers (which I got for one dollar each at the Dollar Tree). I watered each lightly, and placed them prominently in my new apartment. They have enough stature to sit on the floor as statement plants, plus dracaenas grow quickly.

There are ways to root dracaena stems to make even more plants, but that's fairly involved. This method is quick, easy and cheap.

Dividing stems into different containers works for any stalky type plant, like the various palms, the corn plant, or something like the Schefflera. This works with ferns too. Just buy a houseplant with more than one stalk, and away you go. This method netted me three large plants for twelve dollars (including the pots).

Rooting a Pothos - A very popular plant, a pothos cutting can be rooted in any container that holds water. Just make sure your cutting contains a node (a segmented area of stem that the leaves grow from). The roots grow quickly, and so does the rest of the plant, once it hits the soil. You can get started with a potted pothos quite cheaply at any store that sells houseplants, or just find someone with a pothos. Pothos are seriously everywhere: at your friends' homes, in your doctor's waiting room, in real estate offices, in hotel lobbies...once you can identify this ubiquitous houseplant, you'll see it everywhere. Snip off a branch (with permission) and stick it in water.

The rooting treatment also works for philodendrons, spiderplants (root the "babies"), wandering Jews, creeping Charlies, monstera, English ivy, and arrowhead vines. Many houseplants can be rooted, but these ones do it almost without your help. If the cuttings are in clear containers, the roots become fascinating to watch, as they grow and curl.

Once you start propagating your own houseplants, you'll see free potential houseplants everywhere. Ask for cuttings from everyone, and later on, share new cuttings with your friends in return.

There's tons of information on the internet about intermediate and more advanced plant propagation methods. It can be hard to stop once you get started, but it's a soothing hobby, with a lot of return for a small investment.

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