How to Propagate Calathea Plant: Ways to Grow from Water, Soil, Division, and Cuttings

Calathea plants are known for their stunning foliage and vibrant colors, making them the best choice among plant enthusiasts. If you’re looking to expand your collection or share these beautiful plants with friends, understanding how to propagate Calathea is essential. Propagation is creating new plants from existing ones. There are many easy ways to propagate the Calathea plant at home, each with its advantages and requirements.  

How to Propagate Calathea Plant

By understanding the different methods available for propagating Calathea plants, you can choose one that suits your preferences and skill level as a gardener. Each technique has its own set of guidelines that need careful attention to achieve successful results – so make sure to do thorough research beforehand. 

How to Propagate Calathea Plant

Choosing the Right Method for Propagating Calathea Plants 

When it comes to propagating your Calathea plants indoors or outdoors, there are several methods you can choose from. Each method has its advantages and considerations, so it’s important to select the one that best suits your needs and preferences. One popular method is propagation through division.

This involves separating a mature plant into smaller sections, each with its roots and leaves. Another method is propagation through stem cuttings. This technique involves taking a healthy stem cutting from the mother plant and encouraging it to develop roots of its own. Stem cuttings are great for creating new plants quickly and efficiently. 

Propagating Calathea Plants from Division 

Division is the most effective way to propagate your Calathea plants. This method involves separating the plant into two or more smaller sections, each with its root system. To begin, choose a healthy, mature Calathea plant that has multiple stems or clumps. Carefully remove it from pot and gently shake off any excess soil.

Next, inspect the roots and identify natural divisions where you can separate the plant. Using clean gardening shears, carefully cut through these divisions, ensuring that each section has both roots and foliage. Once divided, replant each section in a suitable container filled with well-draining potting mix. Place them in a warm and humid environment with indirect light for optimal growth. Mist regularly to maintain moisture levels but avoid overwatering. 

Steps for Dividing Calathea Plants 

  1. Prepare your tools: You’ll need a sharp, clean knife or garden shears and some sterilized potting soil or peat moss. 
  2. Choose a healthy plant: Select a mature Calathea plant with multiple stems or clumps of leaves. Gently loosen the root ball and carefully lift the plant out. 
  3. Separate the roots: Use your hands or a clean knife to separate the roots into smaller sections. 
  4. Plant each section in its container: Fill small pots with fresh potting soil or peat moss and place each divided section into its container. 
  5. Water thoroughly: After planting, water each division well, ensuring that moisture reaches all parts of the soil. 
  6. Provide proper care: Place your newly divided Calathea plants in an area with bright indirect light and maintain consistent humidity levels by misting regularly. 

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Tropical house plant

Propagating Calathea Plants from Stem Cuttings 

One popular method of propagating Calathea plants is through stem cuttings. First, select a healthy Calathea plant with strong stems. Make sure the parent plant has several leaves and is free from any signs of disease or pests. Next, prepare your tools. You will need sharp pruning shears or scissors for taking the stem cuttings. Identify a suitable stem on the parent plant that you want to propagate.

Look for a section that has at least two nodes – these are small bumps where roots will eventually develop. Using your pruning shears or scissors, make a clean cut just below one node and another clean cut just above another node. Remove lower leaves near the bottom of the cutting to prevent them from rotting in water or soil. Once you have prepared your stem cutting, fill a small container with water or moist potting mix.

Place the cutting in the container, ensuring that at least one node is submerged in water or buried in soil. Check regularly for root development by gently tugging on the cutting. If there is resistance, it means roots have formed. After roots have developed, transfer your newly rooted Calathea into its pot filled with well-draining potting mix. Keep it consistently moist but not soggy while providing filtered sunlight. 

Rooting Calathea Plant Cuttings 

One of the most popular methods for propagating Calathea plants is through stem cuttings. This can be a fun and rewarding way to expand your collection or share your love for these beautiful tropical plants with others. To start, you’ll want to select a healthy and mature Calathea plant from which to take your cuttings. Using pruning shears, make a clean cut just below a node – this is where new roots will eventually form. Remove any excess leaves on the lower portion of the cutting to prevent moisture loss. 

Next, prepare a small container filled with soil or water if you prefer water propagation. If using soil, create a hole in the center large enough for the cutting to fit snugly. Dip the bottom end of your cutting into rooting hormone powder or gel. Then, carefully place it into the prepared hole in either soil or water, making sure it’s stable and upright. 

Propagating Calathea Plants in Water 

One of the easiest and most popular methods for propagating Calathea plants is through water propagation. Propagating Calathea plants in water involves placing a cutting or a division of the plant in a container filled with water until it develops roots. To start, select a healthy stem cutting or division from your Calathea plant. Ensure that it has at least two nodes, as this is where the roots will grow from. Remove any leaves near the bottom of the cutting to prevent them from sitting in water. 

Next, fill a jar with clean water and place the cutting inside. Make sure that at least one node is submerged in the water while keeping the top portion above. After some time, usually around 2-4 weeks, small white roots emerge from the submerged node. Once these roots are about an inch long, you can transplant your propagated Calathea into the soil. 

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leaves of the Calathea orbifolia tropical plant

Propagating Calathea Plants in Soil 

When it comes to propagating your Calathea plants, using soil as a propagation medium is a reliable and straightforward method. This approach allows the plant to establish strong roots and grow into a healthy new specimen. To get started, choose a well-draining potting mix that retains moisture without becoming waterlogged. Fill a small container with this soil mixture and moisten it slightly, ensuring that it is evenly damp throughout. Next, select a healthy stem or rhizome from the parent plant for propagation.

Make sure there are at least two or three nodes present on the cutting, as these are where the new roots will develop. Gently insert the cutting into the soil, making sure that one or two nodes are buried below the surface. Press down lightly around the base of the cutting to secure it in place. Place your newly potted cutting in an area with bright but indirect sunlight. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight. Maintain consistent humidity by covering the pot with a plastic bag or placing it inside a greenhouse-like enclosure. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Calathea Propagation

When is the Best Time to Propagate Calathea Plants? 

The ideal time to propagate Calathea plants is during spring when they are actively growing. This ensures that the plant has enough energy to produce new roots and establish itself. 

Can I Propagate My Calathea Plant from Leaf Cuttings? 

While it’s possible to propagate some plants from leaf cuttings, this method doesn’t work well for Calatheas. These plants prefer other propagation methods, such as division or stem cuttings. 

How Long Does it Take for a Calathea Cutting to Root?

Rooting times can vary depending on the specific conditions, but generally, it takes around 2 to 4 weeks for a Calathea cutting to develop roots. It’s important to maintain high humidity levels and provide proper care during this period. 

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Calathea indoor pot


Propagating Calathea plants can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for plant enthusiasts. By understanding the specific needs of your Calathea plant and selecting the appropriate propagation method, you can successfully grow new plants and expand your collection. Remember to provide optimal conditions such as indirect light, high humidity, and well-draining soil to ensure the survival and growth of your propagated Calathea plants. 


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