It’s hard to find fall gardening activities to do with your kids after the main flower and vegetable gardens are finished for the season. However, there are plants all around us that keep growing all year long. Houseplants are great tools for teaching kids about gardening and for keeping their hands dirty until next spring. One fun activity to do with your kids at home or in school is to propagate some houseplants. By growing more houseplants, your children will take ownership of their plants and keep their horticultural aspirations alive through winter. Follow these steps for propagating houseplants with kids:
Pick the right plants. Some houseplants are prime candidates for propagating and are easy to find in most homes. All you’ll do is take cuttings of these to grow. Look for pothos, spider plants, Christmas cactus, African violets, and philodendron houseplants to propagate by cuttings.
Take the cuttings. For plants with long stems, such as pothos, Christmas cactus, and philodendron, have your kids take 4- to 6-inch cuttings from the tip of the stem. Explain that they should cut just below a leaf. That’s where the roots are more likely to form. Have kids remove the baby spiders off the spider plant. Show them that roots are already forming on the bottom of these plants. Have your kids take leaf cuttings off African violets. Explain that some plants will grow just from a leaf.
Pot them up. Whether it’s a leaf or a stem, dip the cut end in a rooting hormone powder. Explain that this hormone is naturally produced in plants, but you’re enhancing the likelihood of success by adding more. Place the cuttings in a plastic pot filled with moistened potting soil. Keep the pot in a warm, brightly lit room but out of direct sunlight so the leaves don’t burn. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Ask kids why they shouldn’t water the soil too much. Explain that the new roots need oxygen as much as water and too much moisture will push the air out of the soil.