Learn about the difference between houseplant cuttings and cloning in this informative article. Discover how these propagation methods can expand your plant collection, preserve desirable traits, and share your favorite plants with others. Whether you're interested in creating genetically similar plants or maintaining the exact characteristics of the parent plant, this article provides valuable insights into the world of plant propagation.


Have you ever wondered how new plants are created? One fascinating method is propagation, where a plant is reproduced to create new individuals. There are various techniques for plant propagation, but in this article, we will focus on the difference between houseplant cuttings and cloning. These methods allow us to expand our plant collection, preserve desirable traits, and share our favorite plants with others. So, let’s delve into the world of plant propagation and explore the distinct characteristics of houseplant cuttings and cloning.

Houseplant Cuttings: A Closer Look

Houseplant cuttings are an incredibly popular method of plant propagation. With this technique, a portion of a plant, usually a stem or leaf, is removed from the parent plant and rooted to form a new individual. This process allows us to create genetically similar plants and preserve the desired characteristics of the parent plant.

To initiate the process of houseplant cuttings, you need to carefully select a healthy parent plant with new growth. Green, soft stems that have at least two leaves and one node are ideal for cuttings. Using sterilized scissors or a razor blade, make a clean cut just below a node. The node is the point where the leaf or branch emerges from the stem. It contains cells capable of producing roots and shoots.

After taking the cutting, remove the lower leaves, leaving only one or two at the top. This conserves energy for root creation. If desired, you can apply rooting hormone to the node end of the cutting, which can stimulate root growth. Next, prepare a container with a soilless potting mix, such as a seed-starter mix or vermiculite. Create a planting hole slightly larger than the stem diameter and insert the cutting into the hole. Gently tamp the soil around it. If you have multiple cuttings, make sure to space them out to prevent the leaves from touching.

Cover the container with a plastic bag, leaving some airflow to prevent fungal rot. Place it in a warm spot with bright but indirect light. Keep the soil slightly moist, but be cautious not to overwater. The cutting will take approximately two to three weeks to develop roots. You can check for resistance by gently tugging on the cutting. If the cutting resists, it indicates successful root development.

Once the roots are present, you can transplant the cutting into its own pot with fresh potting soil. Gradually acclimate the new plant to outdoor conditions before planting it in the garden.

Cloning: The Art of Genetic Identity

Cloning is a specific form of plant propagation that focuses on creating genetically identical individuals to the parent plant. With cloning, we can reproduce plants without sexual reproduction or seeds. This technique allows us to preserve specific traits and produce consistent results.

In the context of houseplants, cloning involves taking a part of the plant, such as a stem or leaf, and growing it into a new plant that is, genetically, an exact copy of the parent plant. By doing so, we can maintain the desirable characteristics of the parent plant, such as variegated foliage or unique flower colors.

The techniques used for cloning houseplants are often similar to those used for houseplant cuttings. Stem cuttings from houseplants can be viewed as a form of cloning because they aim to produce genetically identical plants. By carefully selecting the stem and following the same steps as houseplant cuttings, we can effectively clone the parent plant and create genetically identical offspring.


In conclusion, both houseplant cuttings and cloning are valuable techniques for plant propagation. Houseplant cuttings involve removing a portion of the plant, such as a stem or leaf, and rooting it to create a new individual with similar genetic traits to the parent plant. On the other hand, cloning focuses on producing genetically identical plants to the parent plant by replicating a part of the plant, such as a stem or leaf.

Both methods allow us to expand our plant collection, preserve desirable traits, and share our favorite plants with others. While houseplant cuttings encompass a broader range of propagation techniques, cloning offers a specific focus on genetic identity and maintaining the exact characteristics of the parent plant.

So, whether you’re taking houseplant cuttings for more variety or delving into the art of plant cloning, these propagation methods provide endless possibilities for creating and nurturing your own indoor garden.


[^1]: NC State Extension Publications. (n.d.). Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/plant-propagation-by-stem-cuttings-instructions-for-the-home-gardener
[^2]: Hosbeg. (n.d.). Cutting and Cloning: Plant Propagation for Beginners. https://hosbeg.com/cutting-and-cloning-plant-propagation-for-beginners/
[^3]: Better Homes & Gardens. (n.d.). Here’s How to Make More Houseplants from the Ones You Already Have. https://www.bhg.com/gardening/houseplants/care/propagating-houseplants/
[^4]: Purdue Consumer Horticulture. (n.d.). New Plants From Cuttings. https://www.purdue.edu/hla/sites/yardandgarden/extpub/new-plants-from-cuttings-text-only/
[^5]: University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. (n.d.). Plant Propagation: The Biology Behind Making New Plants. http://fruitsandnuts.ucdavis.edu/Reports/Plant_Propagation/#1539952443273-b820d6b2-e709

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