Propagation tips (a series) - Growing mediums

Propagation tips (a series) - Growing mediums

Water, moss, soil. It’s like we’re back in science class. But that’s the beauty of it all. Watching our little experiments turn into achievements or, maybe a better way to put it, failures. Good thing is that new nodes will form from the mother and you can try again!

Let’s talk growing mediums. 

There’s so much contention. A seasoned grower living at house number 420 would argue water based mediums are best however my granddad would say “plant’s go in soil dummy!”

Granddad isn’t wrong, neither is Mr 420.

These are the learnings from my experience in science class.


Granddads tried and true method. It’s cheap, everywhere and we probably have a bag lying around somewhere around the house. Besides, the fact that it’s apparently got a bone hiding inside of it that our cat or dog has happily accepted the challenge of finding, this will work. However, depending on the consistency of soil you may need to tweak it based on your plant's needs.

A major benefit of using soil is that it is naturally rich in nutrients which soil-less mediums lack from the start. Don’t get me wrong though, you still will have to listen to your plants when they are nutrient deficient during their life in soil. Those nutrients will eventually run out hopefully like the kids when they turn 18.

However, I find that regular compost does not have the adequate drainage for most indoor plants and will promote root rot due to the excess water. Additional condiments such as perlite, pumice or bark can fix this issue.

Soil-less / hydroponic

The process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil.

Soil-less mediums gives you more control of the nutrients that the plant receives which means you are able to manipulate the conditions on a micro scale.

A drawback is that it offers less stability or support that can hold the plant upright than what soil would. You will require additional equipment to make sure your plants do not fall over - Clips, poles or garden ties will work depending on your space.

I’ve tried spagmoss which is air dried quality moss. Moss is great because of its ability to retain moisture making it great for propagation when your buddies need all the help they can get trapping in the moisture for longer. Remember though depending on the species, you may need to transfer the plant to a more well drained medium as they mature.

This worked wonders in a prop box and I have successfully propagated watermelon peperomia, swiss chess vine, pothos n’joy and philodendron micans with the help of a grow light and lamp and spagmoss.

I’ve tried leca/clay balls as well however this wasn’t sitting with the rest of my prop babies and my attempt was not successful. I will give it a go again but will have to pay more attention to it to make sure I balance the pH and nutrients for that specific plant.. .

There are definitely other growing mediums that I haven’t explored yet but will keep sharing what I have learned through my trials and errors.

Please comment your experiences to help the plant community strive in keeping their babies happy and alive.

Happy growing!

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