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Caring for Houseplants - Houseplants - University of Illinois Extension

Vegetative Propagation of Houseplants

Many people have discovered how easy it can be to propagate new houseplants.

In nature, plants propagate themselves in two ways – sexually (by seed) and vegetatively (using a part of the original plant, such as an offset or plantlet). Since most houseplants are herbaceous perennials, shrubs or trees, raising them from seed is not practical. It takes too long and the offspring may not have the same characteristics as the parent plant.

Vegetative propagation results in a new plant that is genetically identical to the parent plant (a clone). This is possible because many plants can regenerate missing parts. However, not all plants have equal abilities. Some plants will produce roots from a leaf cutting, but fail to produce new stems and leaves.

Plants can be reproduced by cuttings, division, layering, and by using specialized plant structures such as runners and offsets. Many plants can be propagated by more than one of these methods.