How to Multiply Houseplants for Free

Today I am sharing how to multiply houseplants for free. Houseplants can get really expensive, especially if you want multiple pots. I personally love the look of an Edwardian conservatory with lush tropicals, gaudy geraniums, and verdant abundance. These tips have really helped me to grow my collection of houseplants on a budget.

A Brief History of My Love for Houseplants

When I was around 13 years old, my grandma gave me a stack of Victoria Magazines. I fell in love with English and French country houses filled with the homey charm of houseplants throughout the decor. Victorian and Edwardian societies were plant collectors and people went to great lengths to collect a variety of specimens for their conservatories. I fell in love with the look of all this lush life, and then I got the opportunity to work at a greenhouse. 

philodendron plant in a bright room how to multiply houseplants for free

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At the greenhouse, I learned that they keep large mother plants, from which they take cuttings. They would root those cuttings to grow multiple plants. This is how a greenhouse creates their supply of plants. I learned so much during my time working there. I learned a lot about tropicals, which was fascinating for my northern sensibilities. It was amazing to see that in a small space in Ohio, you could see banana plants, palms, and other tropical varieties. In our northern climate, you would otherwise only see this type of vegetation in a botanical garden. With what I learned at the greenhouse, I discovered I could create my own botanical oasis at home. 
a huge monstera leaf life full and frugal

Wanna try growing your own Monstera? Click here!

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Where I Have Sourced My Houseplants

My first houseplants I ever got were from a friend. She gave me a Monstera and a Mother-in-law Tongue. Another friend gave me a Spider plant, which has multiplied around 40 times since then! I have given away tons of cuttings from all my plants.
In addition to cuttings from friends, I really enjoy visiting greenhouses, both in our area, and when we go to Louisiana. Amherst Greenhouse is a large, locally owned greenhouse where I have gotten all kinds of tropical ferns, multiple colors of geraniums, and even succulents. They really have anything you could possibly want or need.
a pink pot with a stromanthe sanguines plant hygge home lfaf

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When we go to visit Shanna in Louisiana, we really enjoy visiting Sammy’s Plant World. We always save room in the car to bring a tropical plant (or two) back home. Over the years, we have purchased Agapanthus, Gardenia, Pink Prayer Prayer plant, and Confederate Jasmine. During the summer, all these plants live on our north facing porch that is also shaded by two large Sugar Maples. They live in dappled light and they are sheltered from the wind. When it’s hot outside, I water them daily. I feed them Miracle Gro every two weeks, deadhead old flowers, and remove dead leaves and foliage.
Needless to say, I have met my goal of creating my own Edwardian conservatory on our porch! We are also filling the space with cascading hanging baskets.

Houseplants on a Budget

To keep my love for abundance on a budget, I set aside houseplant money throughout the year. When the spring comes, I don’t have to think about how to pay for new houseplants. I also bring all my houseplants in the fall so that they don’t die. Some of them live in the basement under grow lights, and others are scattered throughout our house. So I don’t have to start all over every year with my collection of houseplants. They continue to grow and multiply. 

a glossy green philodendron how to multiply houseplants for free

How to Multiply Houseplants for Free

There are four methods which I use to multiply my houseplants for free.

Rooting Cuttings in Water

The first method is to root cuttings in water. You can cut at the leaf or node at an angle, then place the cutting in water. Place it in a window seal and allow it to grow roots. When you can see that roots are forming, you can plant it in a pot with some potting soil. Rooting normally takes a few weeks. 

rooting houseplants in jars of water how to start houseplants for free
roots from a geranium cutting life full and frugal

Rooting Cuttings in Soil

The second method is to take a cutting and allow it to root in dirt. You will cut the plant at the leaf or node just as before, and place it in a pot filled with potting soil. Just make sure to keep it misted with water as it is establishing its roots in the soil. In the summer, you may need to mist it a few times a day. You can even take a broken branch of some plants, cut it at an angle, and place it in dirt. It might be surprising how it will continue to live and grow!

starting a geranium in soil life full and frugal

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Utilizing Aerial Roots

The third method to multiply houseplants for free is a little bit different. There are certain plants that have roots that form naturally at the nodes or on the stems. These are called aerial plants. They are self multiplying and you just have to cut off a stem with roots that are forming on the plant itself. You can take those cuttings and place them in either dirt or water to establish a new plant. The two best examples are Monstera plants and Spider plants. With a Monstera, I usually place the new root node into water in order to stimulate root growth. It already has roots, but this just gives it a boost until it is ready to go into a pot. Spider plant aerial roots can be easily placed right into dirt to form a new plant.

spider plant aerial roots life full and frugal

Click here to try growing your own super simple and beautiful spider plants!

Root Division

Our final method to multiply houseplants for free is to split and divide the root system of a plant. Certain plants multiply themselves via their root systems. They are easy to spot, as the plant seems to be separating itself into new plants above the soil. We have a pink tricolor prayer plant that we divided by root division. It has a main root ball with baby root systems growing off of it. Using a sharp knife or scissors, we cut the baby root systems apart and place the newly separated plants directly into new pots. From one Prayer Plant, we now have 5 new houseplants!

dividing a pink prayer plant life full and frugal

How to Care for Your New Houseplants on a Budget

Obviously, purchasing potting soil is going to be a consideration. This is how we save money on potting soil for all of our houseplants. We recycle all the dirt from old pots and plants that die over the year. We supplement the recycled soil with new potting soil, and we always feed our houseplants with Miracle Gro. Another money saving tip is to use broken crockery in the bottom of the pot to help with drainage. It also keeps you from having to use so much soil. You could also use styrofoam as a filler for drainage in really large pots.

newly transplanted houseplants prayer plant and spider plant life full and frugal

Hardening Plants off in the Spring

In the spring, when you take your plants from inside your house or greenhouse, and place them out in the elements, you will need to harden them off first. This means that you need to place your plants in a shady, sheltered spot for at least a week, and allow them to get used to the elements outside. Plants are like people, they can get sunburned. They need some time to toughen up against the wind and sun. For more ideas about beautiful summer planting ideas, click here.

newly potted spier plants and prayer plants life full and frugal

Enjoy Multiplying Houseplants for Free to Create Your Own Oasis

We hope you enjoy these tips and techniques to multiply your houseplants. They make it possible for you to create an oasis in your home, they make great gifts to pass along to friends. They bring life and beauty to a room and make it feel like a place of comfort and rest. For how to make your own hanging baskets at home, click here. There is something restorative about having living, green things in your space!
a large mass of houseplants on a porch purple queen spider plants and geraniums

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  1. Juliea Huffaker

    Great way to get more plants fir free! Love this.. Thank you!

    • Sierra

      So glad you enjoyed it Juliea! We LOVE our houseplants!


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