We all know the drill. A few months back you made a cutting and put the plant into a little water vase that’s been sitting on your kitchen counter. It’s now been quite some time and you can see that the plant has lots of little white or pink roots. But what now? A lot of people fail to keep their plants alive when transferring them from water to other mediums like soil and then are hesitant to do it.
Propagating your plants through water is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your plants develop roots. You don’t have to worry about watering them correctly and as long as you are cleaning out the water every now and then, there is a high success rate for new plant parents to get it right. The roots need less energy and time to be produced so there’s also a noticeable growth period to let you know that your plant is doing ok.
The issue with water propagation is that water roots are very different from soil roots. Water roots are thin, soft and fragile because they haven’t had to develop to search for water in soil or to push past heavier particles. So the transition to soil for this plant will not be as easy as just repotting the plant.
Here are some tips on getting the transfer right:
- Use ‘light/airy’ soil so that the roots don’t become compressed. Some potting mediums that will help with this are perlite, bark chips, LECA, coco husk and vermiculite.
- When placing your plant in the pot, try and fan the water roots out and not have them in all one wet clump stuck together.
- You’ll need to water your plant slightly more because the roots are used to being wet. But now that there is lots of organic material around the roots you still don’t want your plant to be water logged where bacteria can spur on root-related diseases.
- Keep your plant out of the wind- its roots won’t be strong enough to anchor it properly yet.
- Place your plant somewhere where you can see it often so you can see if it develops any new growth or problems.
- Use a clear pot so you can see the growth of the new soil roots.
Your plant will inevitably look worse for wear once you have repotted it because it is dealing with a change of medium and is in shock. So the best thing to do is to be as consistent as possible with your plant care.
If you have the patience and would like to soften the transition between water and soil, there are a few other things you can do, such as moving your cutting to a semi-hydro setup. So you can either move it to a perlite + water mixture or a LECA mix.
I personally have had very few issues with moving my plants over from water to soil, but I can understand the hesitancy. I do think however that if you are going to do it, Spring is the best time to attempt it. Your plant will be aiming to grow and expend energy and the warmer season will help to encourage the new growth.
So what are you waiting for?