Propagation of plants in water


Dear Master Gardeners,
I would like to teach elementary school students how to start their own houseplants by taking cuttings. In the past I have used tradescantia zebrina (aka wandering jew) and baby spider plants, with very good results. I’ve also tried Golden Pothos, but the roots can take weeks to grow, and children are impatient. Are there any other common houseplants you could recommend for easy propagation from cuttings?


Thanks for getting in touch with Toronto Master Gardeners. Rooting plant cuttings in water sounds like a great project for your students.  Some plant options you might try for fast rooting include philodendron, coleus, basil, oregano and garden cress. When rooting cuttings in water, the following two practices will increase the likelihood that the plants will root successfully:

  • Use water that does not have chlorine in it. If using tap water, leave it for twenty-four hours before putting the cuttings in it. This allows the chlorine to evaporate.
  • Change the water regularly even daily to ensure bacteria doesn’t grow in the water and kill the cutting.

For more information on growing house plants please review this Toronto Master Gardeners gardening guide.