Cuttings can be taken from a stemmed plant, which is cut cleanly with a razor
blade or scissors. The upper part, about one third of the length, is replanted.
Some aquarists prefer to remove the leaves from the lower third of the cutting before
planting it, while others recommend leaving them in place, on the grounds that they
will gradually be converted into mineral matter as they are degraded. Roots form
and the new plant normally grows quickly. The lower part of the mother plant produces
lateral shoots that can be used for cuttings later on. Adventitious roots (those
growing sporadically away from their normal location) make it easier to take cuttings
from most stemmed plants (like Cabomba, Hygrophila).
Cuttings can be easily taken from most stemmed plants, provided
a few precautions are taken.
How to encourage cuttings?
The upper part of a stemmed plant produces substances that inhibit the growth
of side shoots. If this section is cut off or firmly squeezed, these substances
do not reach the lower part of the plant, and lateral shoots suitable for cuttings
can grow. This technique is widely used when the stem of a plant reaches the surface
of the water.
To take a cutting from a stemmed plant, it is advisable
to make a clean cut.
A FEW HINTS FOR SUCCESSFUL CUTTINGS
If the lower part of a stemmed plant loses its leaves, this means that light
is having difficulty in penetrating right to the bottom of the aquarium. In this
case, cut the plant a few centimeters from the bed and transplant the healthy upper
If you have small rearing tanks, these can be used as aquatic "greenhouses" for
the cultivation of stemmed plants. It is best to use fertilizer, in the form of
liquids or clay balls. Some fish need to be added to ensure the supply of C02 to
the plants. Aeration is not strictly necessary, and filtration should be moderate.
DIVIDING THE BASE
Plants without stems thicken at the base, sometimes forming smaller, secondary
feet with roots. These can be carefully removed with a razor blade and replanted.
The division of the base is a technique applicable to many
plants, such as the cryptocorynes.
Top right: Valliseneria and Sagittaria reproduce spontaneously
via runners (top). The new plant must be made to take root (center) before cutting
the runner (below).