How To Transfer A Plant Cutting From Water To Soil

Let’s say that your plant cuttings have successfully passed the stage of the rooting process in the water. It’s now time to transfer them into an individual pot…… but you have no idea where and when to start……?!

The process of transferring your plant cuttings from water to soil is a systematic progression of phases which means that each step is important to make it successful.

Every section is relevant to the other stages in the process and the beauty about it is that they are absolutely easy to perform.

Here’s how to Plant Cutting From Water To Soil:

The plant stays in the water until you’ve prepared the right sized pot. Fill it with pre-moistened potting soil. Scoop out a deep hole in the centre. Gently remove the cutting from the water. Softly rinse its roots in fresh, clean water. Carefully place the little plant in the centre of the pot. Holding the plant with one hand, slowly return the scooped-out soil around the plant and press down gently on the soil to help the plant stay upright. Water and place in a sunny location.

There are a few simple things to remember when transferring a plant cutting from water to soil:

• The plant cuttings should be at the right age to transfer into the soil.

• You need to have all the necessary materials for the job.

• Follow carefully all steps in performing the transfer of the plant cuttings from water to soil – as set out in this article.

When To Transfer The Plant Cuttings?

The right time for the plant to be transferred from water to soil is when the roots have grown about 1-2 inches long.

This is the standard rule of thumb to follow and it applies to almost all types of plants.

The purpose of rooting the plants in the water first is to make sure that the plants will survive compared to planting them directly in the soil. Some plants will not likely survive in the soil; hence the alternative is to let them first grow roots in the water.

Once they have grown roots, they have a higher chance of survival when planted into the soil.

Interestingly, people prefer this method because of the satisfying transformation of the plants while in the water. Some people find it aesthetically appealing and enjoy watching the plants slowly developing roots.

However, the plants can’t remain in the water forever which is why they have to be transferred into the soil. The water is like a nursing facility for them, preparing them to be healthy enough to endure a whole new environment in the soil.

Thus, they have to be transferred once the roots have reached one to two inches long because this is when the roots are not completely mature, yet have developed sufficiently to adapt and survive when moved to the soil.

Why Do You Have To Transfer The Plant Cuttings From Water To Soil?

The reason why we have to transfer plant cuttings from water to soil is that plants can settle in the soil better than in water.

Placing them in the water only encourages the roots to grow before planting them in the soil. However, there are soilless methods of growing plants – a good example is hydroponics – but not all plants are ideal for this setup.

The traditional way of growing plants is through the soil, and most plants are perfect in this setup.

It’s impossible to grow root crops in the water.

It would be hard for the plants to bear fruits and vegetables if being kept in the water. Therefore, it is important to transfer them into the soil to maximize their growth.

But how do you do that? This article gives you all the information you need to succeed:

Transferring The Plant Cuttings From Water To Soil

There are only a few easy steps to perfect the process of transferring plant cuttings from water to soil. But, during this stage, you should ensure that the plant cuttings are ready for transfer otherwise they will end up dying in the soil.

Again, remember the standard rule of thumb and the next step is to follow the procedure below:

1. Prepare the pot and the soil.

Before you remove the rooted plant from the water, make sure that the pot and the soil are ready beside you. Each segment should be in the correct order. That is why we’ve numbered each step of this exercise.

You don’t want the plant to wait in dry air when you remove it first instead of preparing the pot and the soil.

2. Pre-moisten the potting soil

Part of the preparation of pot and soil is by moistening the soil. Add water enough to make the soil moist but not muddy. Mix the soil inside the pot to distribute the moisture evenly.

3. Pick the right size of the pot

The size of the pot is crucial when transferring plant cuttings into the soil. Make sure that the size of the pot is enough to hold the plant with lots of room for it to grow and for the roots to form a strong foundation.

Now put about two to three inches of soil at the bottom of the pot. *The right size matters. Or, you’ll be repotting it to a larger container when it quickly outgrows this one!

4. Remove the plant from the water.

Once the pot and the soil are prepared, the next step is to take the plant from the water for transferring. Before planting it in the soil, give the roots a good rinse with fresh water. *Be gentle or you’ll kill the plant before you begin!

5. Place the plant in the pot

Carefully put the plant in the centre of the pot. Then start putting back the soil that you removed, a little bit at a time.

Eventually, the soil will all be back in the pot and the plant will be standing up in the centre. Consequently, the roots will be able to take a firm hold and the plant will be upright and sturdy.

There is another method of doing this, whereby the soil is already inside the pot and the only thing you have to do is make a hole in the middle. The hole should leave 2 inches of soil from the bottom. After that, place the plant in the hole and top it with soil.

After planting, gently press the soil around the plant to create a good contact between the soil and the plant and provide the plant with a balance to prevent falling over.

When pressing, please see to it that the soil is not compacted and there should be enough space for aeration and water to freely flow all over the soil. *Hold the little plant with one hand while gradually putting soil in the pot around the plant.

6. Prune excess or tall foliage

Sometimes, excess or tall foliage is the reason why the plant will bend in the potting soil. Hence, cutting anything like that from the plant will allow it to grow in an upright position.

Another benefit of pruning excess or tall foliage is it encourages new growth of foliage around the base of the plant and the removed foliage can be placed in water for rooting.

7. Water the newly transferred plant

Since the soil is pre-moistened, you only have to put a little amount of water on the soil in the pot, but it must still be enough to reach the bottom of the pot. This will help the soil settle around the plant and also remove air pockets in the soil.

Let the water drain freely before positioning the pot in a place where they will stay.

8. Place them in a location with good light

Take note that each plant is different. Every plant has different lighting, humidity, and temperature requirements. You have to position the plant in a place where it can get enough lighting, humidity, and temperature.

What are the Other Factors To Consider When Transferring The Plant Cuttings?

Even though you follow all the necessary procedures of transferring plant cuttings, there will be instances wherein they will die and you won’t know why.

The most likely reason for their death is that they experienced shock during the transfer process. Thankfully, this problem can be avoided with the easy guidelines provided below:

9. Do not fertilize the soil

When the time is right to transfer the plants, you must remember that they are only used to freshwater – without any fertilizer. To transfer them into a fertilized soil can burn the roots causing shock, and eventual death.

Hence, don’t fertilize the soil upon transfer. Wait until the young plant are more mature and have grown stronger before adding fertilizer.

10. Place the plant gently into the pot

By handling plants gently, it means that they shouldn’t experience shock when being transferred, but how exactly to do that?

When you remove them from the water and rinse their roots, be extra gentle. Do it smoothly just like lowering a baby from your arms into a crib.

The same goes for plants because they are like babies and they should be treated with the utmost care.

After planting the tender cuttings into the soil, place the pot in a small saucer, or tiny tray, with two inches of water in it, to give the plants a constant source of moisture.

The plant is used to living in water for many days and this is a great method to help it adapt to the soil. This is why pre-moistening the soil is important.

What Are The Materials For Transferring Plant Cuttings?

To complete the process, you need to take note of the following materials for transferring plant cuttings from water to soil.

1. Pots to be filled with soil to give a good home to the baby plant.
*Clay pots seem to make better ’homes’ than the plastic pots.

2. Scissors or Pruners
*I always had a trusty pair of sharp secateurs – but I guess scissors could work.

3. Soil Scoop for scooping soil to put in the pot
*This work needs a trowel. I couldn’t work without a trowel in my potting shed – in fact I had several of them – they’re so handy for working with soil. If you’re working in your kitchen then use a soup ladle instead.

4. A Stick for making a hole
*You can scoop a hole with your trowel (or soup ladle) – that way you don’t need to look for a stick.

5. Small container to place the pot in for water supply
*A small watering can be perfect but, anything with a lip on it will work – like a jug

6. Gloves to keep the germs away.
*There are different gloves for different applications but, in the kitchen, I guess a pair of gloves that you wear when washing the dishes will work perfectly.


So now you all know how to transfer a plant cutting from water to soil, I hope you’ll be doing a lot of this in the future.

I personally enjoyed my work in the potting shed and considered it just as important as the work I did in the garden.

The above list is perfectly adequate for this type of potting shed work (if you don’t have a garden or a potting shed then use your kitchen).

If you are working in your kitchen you already have kitchen utensils that will ‘double’ as small gardening tools.

Either has fun with this or don’t do it! You’re dealing with baby plants. I always felt they could sense whether or not you cared about them.

Do take pride in the fact that you’ve been instrumental in creating plant life – and at a fraction of the price for an already established plant!

Jenny Marie
Tribal Writer

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Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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