I Will Straight Up Cut You, Plant

The Nature Assassin guide to water-rooting your own cuttings. For specified indoor tropicals only; no grafting, no rhizome division. This is easy as hell. Plants that will root in water include but are not limited to:

Gynura aurantiaca (purple passion vine)
Tradescantia zebrina (wandering jew, inch plant)
Epipremnum aureum (pothos)
Hedix hedera (English ivy)
*Update: Peperomia

1) Pick your plant. Scindapsus pictus 'argyraeus,' I pikachoose you. This plant goes by many names, including satin pothos and silver philodendron. Whether it is a true philodendron, I don't know... I really doubt it is a true pothos. It looks remarkably similar to philodendron sodiroi, but is apparently not the same thing? Expert advice will hopefully follow. This plant was sick when I bought it and has never been particularly vigorous. Still, even when it was down to just a few sick stems, it wouldn't be killed. So I have managed to coax it slowly towards becoming the full, compact, well-colored plant that it was meant to be. Check out the amazing silver metallic sheen to this plant. It's even better in person... you can see literal glitter.

So we're ready for step...

2) Assemble your team.
3) Assemble your tools. You will need a clean vase filled with room temperature filtered water, a bottle of rooting hormone powder, and finally your cutting. Rooting hormone powder can be obtained cheaply from any garden store including major hardware chains. One bottle will last you forever.

Along the stem between two leaves/by merciless shanking. Use a clean knife, not scissors, and definitely not your fingers. Cutting the stem wounds the plant and the cutting, so it should be a sharp, clean cut rather than a messy tear. The cutting should be at least 5 inches long, though others may tell you that 3 inches will suffice. Leave the endmost leaves or terminal buds in place; remove all the other leaves along the stem. Make sure your cutting contains at least one adventitious root; it will look like a very small brownish protruding scab or bump. Without them, your cutting will not produce roots, and will eventually die. Now for step...

4) Dip the cutting in rooting hormone powder. Some people only do this if they are rooting a cutting in soil... I find most of the powder stays on and speeds the rate of root productions in water as well. From my understanding, rooting hormone powder functions like an antibacterial protectant, keeping the wounds and new roots from rotting. Therefore, I dip all of the cut sections in rooting hormone powder, as opposed to just the stem tip.

To prevent contaminating your entire bottle of rooting hormone powder, pour however much you will need into a smaller container and throw it away when you are finished. The cap, by the by, is from Two Hearted Ale by Bell's Brewery. So good or no good? Soooo good.

That's it! You're done! Put it someplace sunny (but not blindingly so; bright indirect light is perfect) and leave them alone. No humidity chamber, no nothing. Just change the water about once a week, more if it takes on a green tinge. If you notice sections of the stem getting soft, dark, or fuzzy, get rid of them; they are rotting. You can keep a few types cuttings in water permanently; I find them much more attractive than vases of blooms.

Newly assembled cuttings should start to make roots after about 2 weeks, depending on the type of plant you are using.
Other cuttings that I have going:

Sanseveria NOID, courtesy of a friend. I believe these will only root in water when a piece of the original root is included.
Neon Pothos (Epipremnum aureum "Neon")

Variegated Hedix hedera NOID- this one has taken a long time to root, but root it has!

Happy cutting!


  1. I L-O-V-E your pics and your writing. I have a black thumb when it comes to indoor plants so I am truly having thrills simply by admiring your talent! nice.
    Carol Frohl.

  2. Finally someone explained where to cut the plant! And Bell's Beer is awesome! I'm from Kalamazoo (where the brewery is) so I'm a bit spoiled. Thank you so much!

  3. are neon pothos annuals or periennials?

  4. This is so fantastic and informative! But also entertaining to read. Thanks for that!