A few plants are capable of developing isolated groups of simple cells in certain areas of their leaves. As a result these cells, or foliar embryos, are capable of developing into new plantlets. Given certain growing conditions some of these plants, such as Mitella, have foliar embryos that develop naturally into plantlets. Other plants such as Cardamine will only respond in this way if the leaves are separated from the parent plant.
The position on the leaf of these embryos is fixed according to each plant's characteristic and it is not influenced by the way the actual plantlets develop. The plantlets in Kalanchoe leaves, for example, arise between the jagged edges of the leaves; in Mitella and Cardamine, the plantlets appear at the junction of the leaf-stalk and leaf-blade. Sedum, however, produces only one plantlet and this is at the base of each sessile leaf.
Collect the plantlets from those plants that produce them naturally. With some of these plants, such as Kalanchoe, the plantlets fall off once the roots begin to develop. Plant them in cuttings compost in a labelled seed tray. Repot them separately once they have established properly.
Although other plants such as Asplenium and Cystoperis develop foliar embryos naturally, it is best to remove the leaf together with the plantlets to allow them slightly longer to become established before separating them from the parent leaf. Place the leaf flat on some cuttings compost in a seed tray. Pin it in position with a light wire staple if it does not sit flat on the compost. Label and leave on a shaded greenhouse bench. Ensure that the parent leaf does not become desiccated. Separate the plantlets and pot on once they have rooted and established. This should take seven to eight weeks.
Some plants, such as Tiarella, will only be stimulated into developing plantlets from foliar embryos if their leaves are severed. Cut off a leaf as soon as it has expanded fully. Set it on some cuttings compost in a seed tray. Label; then place in a warm (21°C/70°F), humid, shady environment such as a polythene tent until the plantlets develop and establish (five to seven weeks); then separate and pot on. Succulents, such as Sedum and Kalanchoe, can be left on an open bench in a greenhouse to develop their plantlets. Certain Kalanchoe respond best if the leaves are stimulated in spring to produce plantlets.
1 Cut off a leaf as soon as it has expanded fully. Fill a container with some cuttings compost.
2 Set the leaf on the compost. Label. Place in a warm (21°C/70°F), humid, shaded environment.
3 Leave until the plantlets develop and establish. Then separate, pot on and label.
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1 Cut off a leaf together with its plantlets. Fill a container with some cuttings compost and firm.
2 Pin the leaf flat on the compost with a wire staple. Label and place on a shaded greenhouse bench.
3 Ensure the leaf does not dry out. Separate the new plantlets and pot on once they are rooted.
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