Where to Cut Chinese Evergreen for Propagation: Expert Guide

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Chinese evergreen, scientifically known as Aglaonema, is a popular houseplant valued for its attractive foliage and easy-to-care nature. Propagation of this plant allows for creating healthy, new plants without the need to purchase them. In this article, we’ll discuss the best place to cut a Chinese evergreen for successful propagation and cultivation.

The first step to propagate a Chinese evergreen involves selecting a healthy stem with multiple leaves and minimal damage from pests or diseases. Using sharp and clean garden shears or a knife, cut a 6-8 inch long segment from the chosen branch, ideally during the summer season when the plant exhibits active growth.

To optimize the success of the propagation process, remove the lower leaves from the stem cutting and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Place the cutting in moist soil and loosely cover it with a plastic bag. Practicing patience is essential during this process, as rooting could take anywhere from 2-3 months.

What Is Chinese Evergreen Propagation

Chinese evergreen, or Aglaonema, is a popular houseplant with about 25 accepted species in the genus. The propagation of Chinese evergreen involves creating new plants from an existing one, ensuring its growth and expansion. This can be achieved through several methods, including stem cutting, air layering, and division.

Stem cutting is the most common method of propagating Chinese evergreens, suitable for plants at any maturity level. This method involves:

  • Identifying healthy stems, preferably with new growth
  • Cutting a 6–8 inch long segment of the branch
  • Removing the lower leaves
  • Dipping the cut end in rooting hormone
  • Placing the cutting in moist soil and covering loosely with a plastic bag

The new plant should take root within two to three months, depending on the environment that the cutting is placed in.

Air layering is another method of propagation for Chinese evergreens. It involves:

  • Choosing a healthy branch and removing leaves near the lower nodes
  • Wounding the stem by making an upward cut or removing a ring of bark
  • Applying rooting hormone to the wound
  • Wrapping the area with moist sphagnum moss and covering it in plastic
  • Waiting for roots to form and then cutting the branch below the newly formed root ball
  • Planting the rooted cutting in a pot with proper soil

The last common method, division, is applicable only to mature plants with multiple crowns. This involves:

  • Gently removing the plant from its pot
  • Using hands or shears to separate the crowns with roots attached
  • Planting each division into a new pot with appropriate soil

Each of these methods helps propagate Chinese evergreen plants, allowing gardeners and plant enthusiasts to expand their collection while maintaining the health and beauty of the original plant.

When to Propagate Chinese Evergreens

The ideal time to propagate Chinese evergreens is during their growing season, which typically falls in the warmer months, such as spring or early summer. Propagating during this period gives the plant cuttings the best chance to root and grow, as the plant is already in its active growth phase. However, indoor plants can be rooted year-round if provided with enough light and warmth.

While summer may be the most favorable time for propagation, there are situations where you can succeed in other seasons as well. For example, if you live in a region with mild winters, you can propagate Chinese evergreens indoor if you can provide a warm spot with adequate light.

When you select a stem to cut for propagation, ensure that it is a healthy, younger basal shoot with at least two or more leaves. The stem should be approximately five or six inches long. This length promotes a greater chance of successful rooting and growth.

Here are some key points to consider when propagating Chinese evergreens:

  • Favor spring or early summer for propagation
  • Adapt to your local climate if necessary
  • Seek a warm indoor spot if propagating outside of summer
  • Choose healthy, young basal shoots with at least two leaves

Remember to be patient throughout the propagation process, as it can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks before roots start to appear. By following these guidelines and allowing enough time for proper growth, you should be successful in propagating your Chinese evergreen plants.

Tools and Materials Needed

Sterilized Cutting Equipment

Proper sterilization of cutting equipment is essential when propagating your Chinese Evergreen. Begin by using a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears and clean them thoroughly with rubbing alcohol or a disinfectant spray. To avoid any potential risk of disease or infection, always use sterilized cutting equipment for a successful propagation process.

Rooting Hormone

Applying a rooting hormone to the cut end of the stem before planting it in the growing media can significantly increase the chances of successful propagation. These hormones encourage root growth and help the cutting to establish itself quickly, ultimately leading to a healthier plant.

Growing Media

The choice of growing medium plays an important role in the propagation process. You can opt for a well-draining potting mix, or create your own blend using peat moss, perlite, or a combination of both. Providing a suitable growing environment with adequate moisture and nutrients is essential for your cuttings to develop strong and healthy roots.


When selecting containers for your Chinese Evergreen cuttings, consider using clean pots or containers with drainage holes. Proper drainage is vital to prevent root rot and encourage strong root development. Ensure your chosen container has ample space for the root system to grow, while still offering a stable environment for the cutting to establish itself.

In summary, propagating Chinese Evergreen requires a well-thought-out approach with the right tools and materials, including sterilized cutting equipment, rooting hormone, the appropriate growing media, and suitable containers. By paying attention to these essential factors, you can successfully propagate your Chinese Evergreen and enjoy its beautiful foliage for years to come.

Selecting the Right Stem for Cutting

Healthy Stems

When propagating a Chinese evergreen, it’s crucial to choose a healthy stem from your plant. Healthy stems should have:

  • A vibrant green color
  • No evidence of pests or diseases
  • Minimal damage or yellowing

Selecting a strong and healthy stem will increase your chances of successful propagation and ensure your new plant thrives.

Stem Length

Aim for a stem length of around 6 inches when cutting for propagation. This should be long enough to support the growth of roots while also providing a sturdy base for the new plant. When cutting the stem:

  • Use clean, sharp pruners or a knife
  • Ensure a clean cut to minimize damage to the parent plant

Leaf Growth

The chosen stem for propagation should feature multiple leaves to support the developing roots and new growth. Here are some tips for managing leaves during the cutting process:

  • Remove any lower leaves that might be submerged in water or soil during propagation
  • Retain at least two leaves on the cutting to facilitate photosynthesis
  • Ensure the remaining leaves are healthy-looking and undamaged

By following these guidelines for selecting the right stem, you can increase your chances of successfully propagating your Chinese evergreen and enjoying a thriving new plant addition to your collection.

How to Make the Cut

Correct Angle

When propagating a Chinese evergreen plant, making the right cut is essential. Be sure to use clean and sharp garden shears or pruning scissors to achieve a clean cut. The angle you should cut the stem is a 45-degree angle, as this exposes more surface area to promote rooting and allows for better water absorption.

Optimal Cut Position

To find the optimal position to make your cut on the Chinese evergreen plant, select a healthy branch with new growth. Ideally, the stem should have multiple leaves and minimal damage from pests or disease. Cut the stem 6-8 inches in length, leaving at least two leaves on the tip of the cutting. Remove the lower leaves to prevent them from touching the soil or water when propagating. This will minimize the risk of rot or decay.

After making the cut, you can dip the cut end into a root growth hormone to enhance root production. For soil propagation, insert the cutting into a moist potting mix, preferably with 2-3 parts of all-purpose potting mix and 1 part perlite. Make sure the pot has drainage holes and place it in front of an Eastern or Western-facing window for optimal light exposure.

For water propagation, place the cutting in a bottle or container with water, ensuring the leaves don’t dip into the water. Remember to refresh the water every 2-3 days to avoid bacteria buildup and maintain a healthy environment for your new cutting.

With proper care and patience, your Chinese evergreen cutting will start to develop roots and grow into a healthy new plant.

Preparing the Stem for Propagation

When propagating a Chinese evergreen plant, it’s crucial to know how and where to cut the stem to ensure successful growth. In this section, we’ll discuss the appropriate steps to prepare the stem for propagation, including stripping lower leaves and dipping the cut end in rooting hormone.

Stripping Lower Leaves

Begin by selecting a healthy 6-inch long stem from your Chinese evergreen plant. Once you have chosen the appropriate stem, use a pair of clean, sharp scissors to make the cut at a 45-degree angle. This angle allows for optimal water absorption and encourages root growth.

Next, strip the lower leaves from the bottom half of the stem, leaving only the top foliage. By removing these leaves, we can prevent the submerged portion from rotting when it’s placed in water or soil. Be careful not to damage the stem or remaining leaves while doing this.

Dipping in Rooting Hormone

Before planting the stem cutting, it’s helpful to dip the cut end in a rooting hormone. This step is optional, but using a rooting hormone can significantly improve the success rate of propagation by promoting faster root growth.

To do this, wet the cut end of the stem and then dip it into a container of rooting hormone powder, ensuring that it covers the entire area where you stripped the leaves. Gently tap off any excess powder before proceeding to the next step.

Once the stem has been properly prepared, it’s ready for planting. You can choose to place the cutting in a container of water or directly in a moist soil mixture. Regardless of the method you choose, it’s important to keep the cutting in a warm location with indirect sunlight and monitor its progress regularly to ensure successful growth.

In summary, proper preparation of the Chinese evergreen stem, including stripping lower leaves and dipping in rooting hormone, increases the likelihood of successful propagation and helps ensure that your new plant will grow strong and healthy.

Planting the Cuttings

Choosing the Right Growing Media

When propagating Chinese Evergreen, it is essential to select an appropriate growing medium for the stem cuttings. A well-draining potting soil mix, such as a combination of peat and perlite, can provide the proper environment for the roots to develop. Alternatively, you can also use water as a simple medium for rooting cuttings.

Inserting the Stem

To prepare the Chinese Evergreen stem for planting, use a sterilized, sharp knife or pruning shears to make a diagonal cut just below a leaf node. Then, remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end into a rooting hormone before planting.

If you choose to propagate in soil, insert the stem cutting into the moistened potting mix, ensuring that at least one leaf node is submerged in the soil. Gently firm the soil around the cutting to provide support.

For water propagation, place the stem cutting in a clean container filled with about two inches of water. Set the container in a location with bright, but indirect sunlight. To encourage root growth, change the water daily.

Watering and Fertilizing

Consistent and proper watering is crucial for the successful propagation of Chinese Evergreen cuttings. For soil propagation, keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Checking the moisture level weekly can help maintain the right balance.

In the case of water propagation, make sure to change the water daily to prevent contamination and promote root development.

Once roots start to form, you can gradually reduce the watering frequency. After the new plant has established itself, switch to a complete liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength, applying it every four weeks to support healthy growth.

Caring for the New Plant

After successfully propagating your Chinese evergreen, it is crucial to give it the proper care for it to thrive. In this section, we will explore the optimal conditions for your newly propagated plant, focusing on light requirements, temperature and humidity, and the watering and fertilizing schedule.

Light Requirements

Chinese evergreens are tropical understory plants, meaning they naturally grow shaded by larger trees. As a result, they prefer bright, indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can scorch their leaves and stunt their growth. Place your new plant in a spot with filtered sunlight or near a well-lit window, but not in direct sunlight.

Temperature and Humidity

These plants thrive in warm and humid environments. Maintain a consistent temperature between 65-85°F (18-29°C) to keep your Chinese evergreen healthy. Avoid placing it in drafty areas, as sudden temperature drops can harm the plant. To increase humidity, consider misting the plant occasionally, placing it on a tray with damp pebbles, or using a humidifier nearby.

Watering Schedule

Newly propagated Chinese evergreens have smaller root systems, so they require more attention when it comes to watering. Ensure the soil remains consistently moist but never waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other diseases. It is better to underwater these plants slightly, as they are more sensitive to overwatering. Keep an eye on the soil moisture, and adjust your watering schedule as needed.

Fertilizing Schedule

Fertilizing your new plant can promote healthy growth. Chinese evergreen plants prefer water-soluble and well-balanced fertilizers diluted to half its strength. Apply it every four to six weeks during growing season (spring and summer), with higher frequency during the initial growth stages.

Remember to take extra care when propagating and nurturing your new Chinese evergreen plant, as giving it the proper conditions, along with ample light, temperature, and humidity, as well as the right watering and fertilizing schedule, will ensure it grows to be a healthy, well-established plant in your collection.

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