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Syngoniums are awesome propagation project. They’re pretty reliable rooters, pretty speedy to root AND Syngoniums are vining plants, so if you want a bushy plant, you’ll need to chop and prop a bunch of cuttings to achieve that.
How to take a Syngonium cutting
You need a node to propagate a Syngonium. They’re vining plants, so they’re unlikely to produce pups, and they rarely bloom in, er, captivity, so you’re unlikely to be able to collect seeds.
The node is the part of the stem where the petiole attaches to the stem. The node produced the leaf, and also any aerial roots that the Syngonium has produced.
Syngoniums don’t always produce aerial roots, but if yours has, that bit of the stem it came out of is the node.
I have my Syngonium mottled on a Kratiste pole, so the aerial roots are wild:
I recently took a cutting for a friend, and I chopped it just above the plastic clip attaching the plant to the moss pole.
I was left with this:
Aerial roots can grow into, you know, root roots, in water, so it’s nice to have them (it can speed up the process) but it’s NOT necessary. The roots will grow straight out of the node if required.
This is a top cutting, which tend to grow faster than mid-cuttings because the plant already has an active growth point (Syngoniums tend to only have one growth point at a time).
If you wanted to take a few cuttings, the ones that don’t have an active growth point may take longer to produce new growth because they need to activate an axillary node.
Can you grow a Syngonium from a leaf cutting?
No. You need a bit of the stem with a node to propagate Syngoniums. You don’t actually need a leaf – you can propagate Syngoniums from wet sticks.
Also, don't confuse the petiole with the stem. The petiole is the long thin bit that attaches the leaf to the stem.
In the picture above, the arrow follows the line of the stem, and the petioles are circled.
If you just snip off the petioles, you won’t be able to propagate it UNLESS you’ve managed to catch a few nodes cells, but it’s INCREDIBLY unlikely.
I only put it in because there's always SOMEONE out there saying that they propagated a Syngonium without a node, but you can't unless you're tissue culturing or collecting seeds.
How to propagate Syngoniums in soil
I’ve propagated Syngoniums in soil, and actually prefer to do it this way, but if you’re a lazy gal like me, make sure you’re doing it the properly lazy way.
You can take a Syngonium cutting, put it in soil, keep it moist (but not too wet otherwise it’ll rot) and wait for it to root.
I don't like propagating Syngoniums in soil. It takes too long, it can be a pain to get the water requirements right - it won't root if it's too dry, but obvs you don't want it to rot) and you can't check how it's doing without pulling it out of the soil, in which case you risk damaging the delicate new roots.
If you do want to try this, I recommend either a 50:50 leca/soil or perlite/soil mix – this will help maximise both water retention and oxygen levels.
This is my preferred way to propagate Syngonium. When I bought my Mottled Syngonium it was EXTREMELY leggy:
The leaves were very small and weedy. You can see that the new growth at the bottom, where I layered, are producing bigger leaves. Nowadays she actually looks like a proper plant:
Layering is SUPER simple, with the added benefit that you won’t lose the cutting, however long it takes to root.
Basically, just lay the end of the plant (I usually pick the second or third node back from the newest leaf) on the soil. Over time, the node will root and you can either leave it, or cut in from the mother plant. You can take it out of the soil and pot it up elsewhere, or enjoy your bushier Syngonium.
Since the node is getting most of its energy from the roots, you don't need to keep the top of the soil damper than usual. Just care for your Syngonium as normal. After about three weeks gently pull on the node. Once there's resistance, you know you'll have roots. I usually wait until there's new growth before severing it from the mother plant.
The only difficult bit is keeping the node in contact with the soil. I usually use a hair grip/bobby pin on either side of the node to keep it in place. I’m not currently layering my Syngonium, but I am layering an Epipremnum.
I actually used proper greening pins, but I only used one because it was well-behaved. Sometimes they spoing out (technical term) so you might need to weigh them down with something (I usually use whatever’s to hand – a heavy foundation bottle works well!).
How to propagate Syngoniums in water
Syngoniums propagate really well in water, so if that’s your preferred method go for it.
Take a cutting as normal, and just…pop it in a glass of water.
The only reason I think that layering is superior is that you don’t need to transition the cutting back to soil. Syngoniums are pretty adaptable, so it’s not a problem, I’m just, you know, lazy.
How to speed up the rooting process
I have several articles on how to speed up the rooting process, and there are TONNES of things you can do:
When (and how) to pot it into soil
Once your cutting has roots, you can put it back into soil (or just leave it in water forever).
I usually wait until the roots have branched, but Syngonium roots tend to just grow one, incredibly long roots, so maybe wait until you have around four single roots, about 2 inches/5cm long.
There’s no limit on the length of time you can have a Syngonium cutting in water. If you decide after two years you want to put it in soil that’s fine.
Firstly, we need to understand the difference between water and soil roots.
Water roots absorb oxygen from water
Soil roots absorb oxygen from air
Water roots can absorb a bit of oxygen from the air (and soil roots can absorb a bit from water) but they can’t do it very efficiently.
We need to keep the soil damp so the roots can absorb some oxygen from the water but we also need to maximise the air in the soil so that soil roots begin to form and the water roots can absorb as much oxygen as they can from the air.
Some roots can switch from soil to water roots and vice versa. Some (most) will dry and drop off. From what I can tell, it’s to do with the age and health of the root (young, healthy roots can switch pretty easily).
I recommend putting the cutting in a chunky mix (again, a 50/50 soil/leca or soil/perlite mix is fine) and watering it when it’s nearly dry. The trick is to have a mix that dries out quickly, so you’re watering frequently, but not overwatering.
I put cuttings in a sunny spot for this reason. They sometimes burn, but the original leaves from the cutting often die anyway.
Put the cutting in a pot that’s barely bigger than the roots, and make sure it doesn’t dry out too much. I like to specifically target growing the roots for the first few months – it involves using small pots and increasing them over time.
I also tend to bottom water to encourage strong root growth. When you're frequently up-potting (though make sure it's ready to be up-potted - that's why I use roots barely big enough) you may not get leaf growth but once the roots are well established, the growth should come in thick and fast.
How to Propagate Syngonium in moss/perlite/leca
I don’t tend to propagate in moss, perlite or leca anymore (you can use the same process for all three) because I have a habit of forgetting my prop boxes exist. I need to work on that because it’s a great, hands-off way of propagating.
I prefer perlite or leca, because I struggle to keep the right moisture levels in moss (I think I’m just an idiot though – it’s apparently not difficult).
You need a plastic box with a lid. Drill a few holes in the lid for air flow.
A bigger box will fit more cuttings. Layer your media on the bottom, about an inch deep. It can actually be any depth, but I’m just giving you a number to get you started.
You’ll need to wet your moss first – soak it, and then wring it out well. Don’t let it dry out – it gets hydrophobic so you’ll have to soak it again.
With leca or perlite, you can add a layer of water to the bottom of the box if you don’t have drainage holes. Whether you drill drainage holes is up to you. I don’t because you’re only adding a bit of water and it’s easy to not only see if you’ve added too much (ideally you want your substrate to absorb it all), but also to soak it up with a paper towel.
Once you’ve got your dampened substrate, put in your cuttings. People tend to use wet sticks in this case, but if your box is big enough, put in whole cuttings.
You can either lay your Syngonium props flat or stick them upright, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that there is plenty of contact between the node and the substrate.
Put the lid on, put it in a sunny, warm spot, check periodically to add water when required (leca’s good because you can see when it’s dry more easily than you can with perlite).
Prop boxes like this tend to root pretty quickly because they’re higher in humidity and retain warmth if they’re in a sunny window.
Syngoniums are pretty easy and quick to propagate so definitely give it a go.
Remember that I took a cutting for my friend?
She saw something on Tik Tok about keeping plants in water and I’m wondering if the person creating the Tik Tok mentioned all of the algae. Hmm. I should probs warn her before she spends a fortune on anti-algae treatments that don’t work.