You may never have to buy these plants again


“New plants from old” might be one of the rallying cries of gardeners everywhere. These 10 plants are all fairly easy to propagate, giving you the chance to fill your garden or home with more of your favorites, or provide plants as gifts to friends and neighbors. There are numerous ways to propagate plants, such as collecting seeds and taking cuttings. If you’re new to this, start with these easy-to-replicate plants and go from there.

1. Hens-and-Chicks

(Sempervivum spp.)

This succulent’s common name is a tribute to just how easily this short-lived plant produces its offspring. New rosettes form on the outer edges of the mother plant, which dies off in a few years, often after producing iridescent blooms.

You can let the new rosettes of hens-and-chicks, aka houseleeks, spread naturally. If you want to plant them somewhere else, wait until the runner that connects them to the mother plant starts to wilt, then cut that and uproot the entire rosette.

Where it will grow: Hardy to minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 31.7 degrees Celsius (USDA zones 4 to 11), depending on species

Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade in hot desert regions

Water requirement: Low

Mature size: Varies from quarter-inch-diameter balls to 2 inches tall and 4 inches wide

2. Spider plant

(Chlorophytum comosum)

The ultimate hanging container plant, spider plant is known for its plantlets, miniature versions of the parent plant that hang down from the ends of the leaves. You can leave them in place to enjoy, or cut them away from the plant to grow your collection.

You can also get the babies started in a new pot next to the mother plant, even while they are connected to the mother and you are waiting for them to form roots. Keep the soil moist during this stage and remove the connecting stem when the roots have formed.

Where it will grow: Generally grown as houseplants but hardy to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 6.7 degrees Celsius (zones 9 to 12)

Light requirement: Prefers bright, indirect light but can take partial shade to partial direct morning sunlight

Water requirement: Regular; keep soil moist but not soggy

Mature size: 6 to 12 inches tall and 6 to 24 inches wide

3. Beans

Collecting vegetable seeds for the next growing season in your garden or to give to friends is a time-honored tradition. If you’re a novice, collecting the seeds of your favorite bean plant is a good place to start. Choose heirloom and open-pollinated varieties, as hybrids are unreliable or may be sterile.

If you’re already growing “dry” beans, such as pinto and navy beans, then you’re set. The beans you’re harvesting can also be saved for next year.

For other types of beans, simply let the pods dry in place on the stalk or bush, rather than picking them. You may want to designate one or two plants just for this purpose, as once you stop picking, the plant will stop producing pods.

For all bean types, keep the pods on the plant until they turn brown and feel dry and papery.

Harvest the pods and let them dry another couple of weeks, until pressing a fingernail into the side of a bean won’t leave a dent. Remove the beans from the pod, separate out any chaff or debris around them, and store in an airtight container in a cool and dry location.