There are a few different reasons why plant parents choose to propagate their plants, either they simply want to create more, give cuttings as gifts or are forced to if their plant is starting to die. Whatever the reason, propagating plants can be quite rewarding and is a great way to expand your urban jungle for free. In this post, we will go through the entire process of Calathea Dottie propagation, as well as go through any problems you might face and share our top tips for success.
Why would you want or need to propagate your Calathea Dottie?
The main reason is often just wanting to grow more plants without having to spend any more money. Cuttings make great gifts for friends and family which is why we always make sure to take a few cuttings from each of our new plants to share.
The other reason why many plant parents choose to propagate their Calathea Dottie is that their plant is either getting too big for the space. Propagating is a great way to cut your plant back whilst not wasting any of it!
You may also be forced to propagate your Calathea Dottie if you see that your plant is starting to show any worrying symptoms. Brown or yellow leaves, as well as other common problems, are worrying for all plant parents. We always recommend trying to solve the problem but it’s always a good idea to divide the healthy part of the plant just in case it doesn’t make it.
How difficult is it to propagate a Calathea Dottie?
You’ll be very pleased to know that propagating a Calathea Dottie is actually a fairly simple process. You can’t go wrong if you know the right steps and is a lot simpler than a lot of other plants.
What methods can I use to propagate my Calathea Dottie?
There is one main disadvantage which is there is only really one method of propagation you can use; division of the mother plant. Whilst it’s possible to propagate through seeds, this is very difficult, time-intensive and best left to the professionals. Although the division method is a lot easier, and there are several other positives, it does mean that you can only propagate if your Calathea Dottie is fairly mature.
How to propagate a Calathea Dottie through the division method
Below you’ll find the step by step method of how to divide your plant to ensure the propagation is a success!
Remove your Calathea Dottie from its pot
As you’ll be dividing the root system of your plant, you’ll need to remove it from its pot. Carefully lift the plant out without tugging too much at the stems as you don’t want to damage your Calathea. Take care if the roots have started to grow out of the drainage holes as you might need to untangle these to prevent them from snapping
Shake off the potting mix
To be able to divide the plant, you’ll need to locate the various offshoots. To do this, carefully remove the bulk of the potting mix from the roots. A good way is to loosely run your fingers through the root system, shaking the roots slightly to separate them.
Separate the sections
You may need to cut the odd root using pruning scissors if your plant isn’t untangling easily but you should be able to pull the various sections of your plant apart. If your Calathea Dottie only has one central section, then you can slice this section in half to create two new plants.
When separating the sections, make sure that each part of the plant has a substantial amount of the root system to aid a successful Calathea Dottie propagation.
Place the sections in water or fresh potting mix
The first thing to do is get your mother Calathea Dottie plant back in its pot, or a smaller pot if you have taken away a large section of the plant. Then you need to think about whether you want to grow your offshoot in water first or plant straight into potting mix.
Both work well and it depends on the size of the Calathea Dottie section and the maturity of the root system. If the offshoot has quite mature roots then it will be totally fine growing in potting mix already. However, if the roots are quite small and thin, then we recommend placing them into water as a middle step so they can mature a little.
Continue normal Calathea Dottie care
If your cutting is now in fresh potting mix then you can care for it as you would your other Calathea Dottie. If you’ve decided to grow your offshoot in water first then refresh the water every few days and pot into soil once you can see they have matured.
Can I propagate a Calathea Dottie from just a single leaf?
Unfortunately, you’ll need the cutting to include a node for roots to grow out from. If you were to propagate a single leaf, it wouldn’t be able to grow roots and would wilt and die pretty quickly. Because of this, division is the only way to successfully propagate your Calathea Dottie outside of seed cuttings.
What time of year should I propagate my Calathea Dottie?
As with all houseplant propagation, we tend to recommend starting the process in Spring, once all the cold wintery weather is behind you. This then gives your offshoots plenty of warm sunny months to recover from the shock of propagation as well as mature.
Because you are using the division method, it does mean that it’s possible to propagate a Calathea Dottie at other times of the year if you need to. This is because the offshoots will already have roots so root growth isn’t as important as with the other methods.
How to care for a Calathea Dottie after propagation
You might be wondering how much light your new plants need after propagation and whilst you want to care for your plants as you would the mother plant, there are some differences in newly propagated plants. Firstly, you want to keep your plant well away from any direct light as this can scorch the leaves. Find a spot with ample light but ensure it is filtered or indirect. Intense light can damage your plant as they are particularly sensitive after propagation.
Ensure that the potting mix is kept moist but never soggy. Whilst your plant goes through some shock after propagation, the last thing you want to be doing is overwatering. This will mean your plant is very susceptible to disease at a time when it is also going through a lot of stress. Use a moisture meter to keep track of when to water your new Calathea Dottie.
Temperature is also a key element in ensuring that your new Calathea Dotties take root in their new home. Make sure they are in a warm spot in your home but aren’t exposed to any hotspots. Areas near cookers and radiators are a big no-no and be sure to monitor the temperature around the windows as during summer, they can be a real heat trap. This will dry out the leaves on your Calathea Dottie and cause a variety of issues.
Your Calathea Dottie will love you if you make sure the humidity level around it gets a good boost! The best ways to do this are by misting a few times per week, showering occasionally or investing in a humidifier to keep a nice stable humidity level.
Stay away from fertiliser for several months after propagating your Calathea Dottie for a few months. This goes for both the parent plant and any new plants created. They need to recover from the stress and shock of propagation before being given any feed.
You now know everything you need to successfully propagate a Calathea Dottie plant. The division method is a lot less prone to issues so you should see growth resume after just a few weeks (you’ll need to allow your plant to get over the shock of propagation first!).
To learn more about how to care for your new plants after propagation, check out our Calathea Dottie care guide.
Written by Billy Dawson