Using Pothos Cuttings To Speed Up Propagation
The internet sometimes serves up crazy plant hacks. One of the newest is adding pothos cuttings to propagation setups for speedier results. This gardening in Canada article is going to look at the science behind pothos cuttings speeding up propagation.
If you are new to this blog my name is Ashley and I am a soil scientist. I am located in a Canadian Zone 3 and a USDA Zone 4. I write articles, make YouTube videos, Instagram posts all designed for Canadians and Cold Climate gardeners using science-based methods. If you are looking for anything specific be sure to let me know in the comments down below.
The Hack: Using Pothos Cutting To Speed Up Propagation
So the theory is that using pothos cuttings in combination with slower rooting plants in a water propagation setting results in faster root development. The YouTuber Everything Plants was actually able to show in an experiment that it does seem to work.
The process is simple enough, all you need is:
- A pothos cutting
- A slower rooting plant. (snake plant, hoya, philodendron, etc)
- A water-holding vessel. (I used a mason jar)
- Plain old tap water
From there you simply place the slower rooting plant cutting in the vessel with a pothos cutting and water. Now you wait for roots to appear!
Do Pothos Cuttings Speed Up Propagation In Slower Rooting Plants?
The answer is…It seems too! I can not say with any conviction that it works but in theory, it appears to be sound. For a lot of my YouTube videos and even blog posts, I dedicate time to finding scientific journals that have researched the topic of choice. When it comes to this topic however there are zero journals supporting or even dismissing the claim.
That means we have to apply our knowledge to the theory in order to make a hypothesis.
Hormones Involved In Root Development
First off we know that hormones are the main driver for root development. That means new or faster root development would most likely be attributed to an excess or surplus of a hormone. The two hormones we will look at today are Auxin & Cytokinins.
Both of these hormones will be present in all plants. However, the ratio or quantity of hormones within each plant may differ. And in some cases, there may be an excess that is not fully used by the plants.
Auxin for example is used as a powerful growth hormone. They are found in shoot and root tips and promote cell division, stem and root growth. Cytokinins are a class of plant hormones that promote cell division, or cytokinesis, in plant roots and shoots.
The interaction between auxin and cytokinin is particularly important to control a few developmental processes, such as the formation and maintenance of meristems that are essential to establish the whole plant body.
Both of these hormones are water-soluble and therefore it may explain some of what we are seeing.
Hormones Are Water-Soluble
Plant hormones and nutrients are water-soluble and travel via the xylem or phloem. This may explain why the pothos cuttings cause exponential growth in slower-growing cuttings. The roots on plants, in many cases, are a two-way membrane. This means that nutrients and hormones can travel into and out of the plant.
This brings me to my hypothesis of why pothos cuttings can increase the rate at which roots develop. It is likely that a pothos plant produces an excess of root growth hormones. This excess hormone that is water-soluble is easily expelled into the water of the propagation vessel.
These water-soluble hormones are then easily absorbed by the plants that may be lacking. This would result in faster root formation in the presence of pothos cuttings. It is possible the water alone from a pothos propagation system alone may result in better root development if reused.
So the plant hack using pothos cuttings to speed up slow plant propagation is likely to be true. Let me know in the comments below if you have tried this trick out!