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by Andrew S.
(Ithaca, NY, U.S.)


I have had this purple heart plant for a few months now. I was given a cutting from a local plant place and have been happy with it.

The piece they gave me is the curly sad looking part, and the tall part is the offshoot that started growing not too long ago now. I want to continue to propagate this so I can have a much fuller plant but I wasn’t sure how often I would be able to cut pieces off and stick them in the soil. I wasn’t sure if I could cut a few pieces off, or if I should stick with doing one piece at a time.

My friend has a purple heart plant that has many stems and is very full and I would like to have mine look like hers someday (but she did buy it like that, so I will feel better about mine).

Drought Smart Plants reply:

The funny thing about plants is that as soon as you remove the apical dominance – high falutin’ talk for chopping it’s head off – more buds below it will try and become the dominant one.

If more than one sprout, then you’ll end up with lots, equals a bushier plant.

You can chop the tall piece into several shorter pieces, each with a leaf and probably several root nodes, each one will grow into a new plant. Looking at the plant, each node is the slightly thickened part – that’s where the roots will emerge. These plants are easy to root in water, so you can do a science experiment to see where they actually sprout from.

If you want only one bushy plant (like your friends) then stick several of these cuttings close together in the center of the pot, and as they compete a little to grow, they’ll be very vigorous, which is how they get the nice bushy plant.

Have fun!