Leafpetiole cuttings

The simplest and most reliable way to produce new plants from leaf cuttings is to use a complete leaf with its stalk. The disadvantage of this method is that it develops only a few new plants from each leaf.

Rotting and disease are the main causes of failure so always use clean tools, containers and composts.

Leaf-petiole cuttings can be taken at any time of year provided a new, fully expanded leaf is available.

Make up a cuttings compost of equal parts sifted peat and grit. Fill a container that is large enough to take the leaf-petiole cuttings. Firm the compost to within | in of the rim of the container.

Slice a suitable leaf cleanly through the leaf-stalk, using a sharp knife or a safety razor blade to ensure the least possible damage. Leave about 2 in of the leaf-stalk attached to the leaf-blade.

Make a small hole with a dibber in the compost to a depth just sufficient to hold the cutting. Plant at a shallow angle so that the leaf-blade is almost flat on the compost. The shallower the base of the stalk is planted into the compost the more the air can circulate around it, which will encourage a quick response. Then firm the compost around the stalk. When the cuttings are all planted, label them and water in a dilute fungicide such as Captan or Benlate, using a fine rose.

Place the cuttings in an environment that maintains a steady high humidity, so that the cuttings do not dry out. The temperature, especially for house plants, needs to be relatively high, and this is best provided by using a propagator that is heated at the bottom—ideally at about 20°C/68°F.

Expose the cuttings to sufficient light for them to manufacture food and develop the new plantlets. Too much sunlight may scorch the cuttings. In general, light shade is the best compromise.

The new plantlets will develop on the cut surface of the leaf-stalk within five to six weeks, and several may appear at this point. Leave them until they can be handled and separated into individual plants, potted on and hardened off. If it is likely to be some time before they are large enough to be potted on, then liquid feed the plantlets.

4 Make a shallow hole and insert the cutting at the angle shown.

5 Firm the compost gently round the cutting. Plant the remaining cuttings.

6 Label and water in a dilute fungicide such as Captan, using a fine rose.

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1 Fill a container with equal parts sifted peat and grit.

2 Slice an undamaged leaf that has recently expanded fully away from the plant.

3 Cut through the leaf-stalk about 2 in from blade, using a sharp knife.

7 Place the cuttings in light shade in a propagator that is heated from below.

8 Apply a liquid feed once the new plantlets have started developing.

9 Pot on the plantlets once they can be handled. Label and harden them off.

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