Donate, swap, and adopt rooted household plant cuttings for free By: Library Staff January 25, 2024

The North Liberty Library is excited to offer a household plant swap and propagation station! Donate, swap and adopt rooted household plant cuttings for free. The propagation station is open to everyone in the community, and you do not need a library card to participate! Visit the plant station in our magazine room just past the fireplace and next to the large windows.

What is plant propagation?

Plant propagations are pieces, or cuttings, from plants that grow their own root systems and become new plants. Propagation is different for every plant so it’s important to know what kind of plant you are working with. We suggest doing research for information on how to properly propagate your plant.

  • A leaf may grow roots in water, but without a node, the plant will never grow. A node is a small bulbous area where the leaf and aerial roots grow out of. Cut right below the node and stick it in water and watch as the roots form!
  • Once there are multiple roots that are 3 inches long, it is time to plant your cutting!

Why have a propagation station?

This project is to help promote green spaces and cleaner air by enabling the community to take and grow plants in their own homes. Plants are a fun hobby with the added benefits of cleaner air in your space. The library hopes this program will promote nicer green spaces for no charge to the community.

If you are donating:

Write the name of the plant, the vase number the cutting is in and the date donated on the log. Be sure to add some water to the vase for the cutting. Please note that the library cannot accept whole plant donations in pots of dirt at this time.


  • Please take one cutting of each kind – The library wants to provide cuttings to many people in the community, so please take just one of each kind. Cuttings will be replenished over time, so don’t worry if you want to come back for something specific!
  • Using bags to transport cuttings – When you take a cutting from the station, please use the provided plastic bags with a wet paper towel! Keeping your cutting’s roots moist during transport will help keep it healthier, and the bags are provided for that purpose. Using a plastic bag as provided is both easier and less messy then a water container.
  • All plants in a number marked vase are part of this program! Any plants in a pot of dirt belong to the library, please DO NOT take them.

Digital Resources (apps) for Gardening DIY

  • Pl@ntNetAndroidApple. Help scientists understand the biodiversity of our world and wow everyone with your newly found plant ID skills via Pl@ntNet. Snap a pic of the plant you’d like to ID, the more detailed the better, and see if it matches one of the 20,000 species already in the database. Pics are collected and analyzed by scientists, all as a community-based way to explore earth’s flora and fauna.
  • SmartPlantAndroidApple. Making sure your leafy friends are thriving can be a tricky endeavor, but SmartPlant can help. Identify your plant via the app, then receive reminders on when to water or otherwise care for your vegetation. You can ask experts their opinion on problems and get immediate advice too, on issues like pests, yellowing leaves, withering flowers, and more.
  • BlossomAndroidApple. This mega extensive app can help you with all your planting needs, including keeping a journal of your leafy friends, so you can track their growth and progress. Not sure if that’s a new leaf or your plant’s grown taller? Just refer to your personal plant collection to make sure all is well.
  • GardenTags. AndroidApple. If you’re looking to grow your friend group and your garden, check out GardenTags. Novice gardeners can get advice directly from experts, as the app aims to make gardening accessible by creating a community of plant lovers. Leaf lovers for life!

Additional options to explore

  • PictureThis. AndroidApple. Need to know which plants are okay to be around your pets and humans? PictureThis has all the info you’ll need. Snap a pic to identify the plant you’re eyeing, and quickly check its toxicity level to animals and people. The app has lots of other functions, too, including watering reminders and care tips and tricks.
  • Florish. Apple. So you’ve got a new houseplant, but aren’t sure where to put it. In your bright office, next to the window, or perhaps on your bookshelf, away from direct sunlight. Florish will not only help you identify your indoor plants, but you can use your smartphone to measure the light in certain areas of your home—helping you find the perfect perch for your petunia.
  • Vera. Android. Apple. Do your friends call you for gardening tips? Do you attract a crowd at the nursery, with other shoppers pestering you with questions? Then consider Vera, a plant journal app that lets you take the lead, logging watering, fertilizing, repotting, and more. Track your plant babies’ growth—they get big so fast!
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