Reese Carveth grabs the pot and tosses the wilted, brown plant into the compost bin. 

Carveth, a 23-year-old gymnastics coach, says she certainly does not have a green thumb. 

She has killed four plants in the past two months and can’t afford to buy any more plants. But Carveth says she appreciated seeing bright, green plants sitting on her windowsill while she did her makeup every morning. 


Carveth doesn’t know that there may be an easier way to grow and care for plants. 


Are you interested in plants? 23 responses, 95.5% yes, 4.55 no
Google Forms survey asking Guelph-Humber students whether they are interested in plants, on March 28, by Madison Marier and Kate Carveth.
Do students know what propagating is? 23 responses, 26.1% Yes, 47.8% No, 26.1 % Yes, but they've never tried it.
Google Forms survey asking Guelph-Humber students if they know what plant propagation is, on March 28, by Madison Marier and Kate Carveth.


Imagine a beautiful home, filled with lush, green plants and bright flowers, and then envision yourself tending to the plants. Green thumb or not, caring for plants on a low budget is easy with a light schedule and little effort.


The cost of beginning a plant collection can be expensive if you buy pre-potted plants from nurseries and home goods stores. However, there is another more affordable alternative.   


“What most people don’t know is that one plant can basically give you plants for life; simply just by way of snipping and placing that cutting in water,” says student and successful Monstera propagator, Eveline Mitchell.  


A cutting is a piece of a plant, such as a stem or leaf, that can be used to regenerate itself and create a whole new plant.

A plant seedling with three green leaves that has a long stem with roots at the bottom.
A cutting, used for plant propagation. (Photo 10842830 © James Martin |

A propagation station is a cost-effective way of nursing a singular node into a blooming plant that takes little effort and patience. But the result of the plant is so much more rewarding and affordable. 


All that’s left to wonder is how you begin a propagation station.


You have many options for a station. The simplest way is to put a cutting in a cup of water. However, if you are looking for a more glamorous setup, there are many options for sale online. The options are limitless for a propagation station, as they can be catered to fit your needs perfectly; whether you are a major plant grower or a casual grower, you can adjust the look and functions of these stations to fit your need.

Homemade propagation station made with scrap wood and old test tubes, with pothos plant cuttings propagating inside.
Homemade propagation station made with scrap wood and old test tubes, with pothos plant cuttings propagating inside. (Madison Marier)


Having greenery in your space is an effective mood stabilizer that aids not only a person’s physical health but mental and emotional health as well, according to Healthline. Not to mention they look so beautiful in every home.


Mitchell says that her plants improve her mood, “Plants to me, they just make me happy, I’m just happier in an organic environment. I’m always happier when there are plants around and it gives me a great sense of pride to see the growth and the development of my little plant babies.”


Plants are natural air, water, and soil cleaners. Although plants may not make a major difference in the air quality in your home, they can make your home a little bit healthier to live in.


“I have a table of needy plants and the rest require regular maintenance. I don’t think you can really put a blanket statement over plants, stating that they are easy or hard to take care of because there are so many different types and that’s okay because I love them all.”


The hardest part about caring for plants is deciding which one to choose. In my case, I find them all so beautiful in their own way and it’s a toss-up which one will fill the blank space on my windowsill. However, if you are an animal owner it is important to note that not every plant is safe for animals. Avoid snake plants, aloe vera, ivy, pathos, lilies, and rubber plants, but there are many more.


Ensure you are doing your research before committing to a plant. Mitchell says if you find the right plant for you, “Being a plant mom sort of feels like a passive hobby.”

Your Guide to Propagation Station Tutorial Video

Every plant has its own unique care preferences, some are easy to tend to and some require more patience and care. A great and easy plant to start with for non-animal owners would be:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Pothos
  • Snake Plants


Beginner plants for animals owners:

  • Spider Plant
  • Peperomias
  • String of Turtles


Maintain your plant’s best health by creating and following a watering schedule. Typically, plants have different needs, but they can be adjusted to better suit your needs. Water once every week, but skip some plants like succulents that need to be watered once a month. 


Mitchell described her watering cycle as something she has full control of, “In my life, where I have very little control over things around me, I love taking care of plants because it makes me feel like it’s something within my control and I’m good at it.”



How to Propagate a Plant


Step one:

Find a friend that has a plant you like and ask if you could get a leaf, (a leaf is where the node is) or grab a fallen leaf from the inside of a garden store.

Plant stem with node and internode labelled. Step two:

Trim the cutting to shorten the internode (the spacing between the nodes, or where the leaves grow)

Optional step:

Tap the plant’s raw edge and node into a rooting hormone to aid in the development of roots faster. You can also a few drops of liquid plant food as another optional step


Step three:

Place the cutting into filtered water, and ensure that the node is fully submerged to ensure the plant has a better chance of survival. Place the water with the node in indirect light to further nourish the plant.


Step four:

Check on the cutting daily to ensure water levels are optimal for growth, add more filtered water if necessary.


Step five:

The rooting timeline is dependent on the plant type, hormones, and water levels. However, you will typically begin seeing a root at 2-6 weeks.


Step six:

Once the roots have developed to 1-3 inches in length, add them to a pot with drainage and your choice of nutrients (soil, moss, leca). Make sure you keep the roots moist to allow them to adjust to the change.


Step seven:

Begin your plant obsession and collect them all!


Propagations can be so much fun and make a great affordable gift for family members and friends.