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Horticulture 1000
H1092 - Plant propogation 2 - Leaf cuttings
Semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings Root cuttings
6

Leaf cuttings

Plants with large leaves, especially indoor pot plants, are often grown from leaf cuttings.

There are several different types of leaf cutting. Which type is chosen to use as a propagation method depends on the type and amount of plant material available.

Leaf bud cuttings

Use this method when there is a shortage of propagating material, as these cuttings can give one and perhaps two plants from each node.

These plants are suitable for this method of propagation: raspberry, lemon, blackberry, camellia, boysenberry, rhododendron, and rubber tree.

Leaf bud cutting Leaf bud cutting.

These consist of the leaf blade, petiole and a short piece of stem. There is a bud between the petiole and the stem.

Two leaf bud cuttings from a stem with opposite leaves Two leaf bud cuttings from a stem with opposite leaves.

Two leaf bud cuttings from a stem with opposite leaves.

How to take a leaf bud cutting:

  • Choose a plant with well-developed buds.
  • Cut the stem into pieces so that each cutting has a short piece of stem, a leaf and a bud.
  • Split the stem in two if there are opposite leaves.
  • Dip the base of the cutting in rooting hormone powder or gel.
  • Plant it in the potting mix with the bud just below the surface.
  • Place them in a mist unit with bottom heat or in a plastic bag in a warm shady place.
A camellia leaf bud cutting

A camellia leaf bud cutting.

Leaf petiole cuttings

The stems of some plants are too short to be used as cuttings. You can use their fleshy leaves for propagation. A number of houseplants can be grown this way.

Watch the section on leaf petiole and non-petiole cuttings on HT1021DV or the video clip below.

 

A petiole is a leaf stalk

A petiole is a leaf stalk. You can grow African violets, gloxinias, peperomias and small-leafed begonias from leaf petiole cuttings.

How to take a leaf petiole cutting:

Place the leaf in the potting mix at a slight angle, so the base of the leaf is clear of the surface
  • Choose a healthy leaf.
  • Cut off the leaf with about 2.5 cm of petiole.
  • Place the leaf in the potting mix at a slight angle, so the base of the leaf is clear of the surface.
  • Firm the mix gently round the cutting.
  • Label and water with a dilute solution of fungicide.
  • Place in a warm place. They are susceptible to disease so don't place them in a mist unit.
  • Keep the media moist.

Non-petiole cuttings

Non-petiole cuttings are used for large-leafed plants with big veins

Use this method for large-leafed plants with big veins, such as Begonia rex.

How to prepare non-petiole cuttings:

Cutting through the veins on the underside of the leaf Begonia rex leaves weighted down with pebbles Plantlets form at each of the cuts if the leaf has good contact with the rooting medium in a humid atmosphere
  • Take a healthy leaf.
  • Cut through some of the main veins on the underside of the leaf.
  • Place the leaf on the surface of the mix with the top of the leaf facing upwards.
  • Hold the leaf down on the mix using some small pebbles or toothpicks. Plantlets will develop where the veins are cut.
  • Cut the new plantlets away from the old leaf once the buds have formed shoots.
  • Pot them on. These cuttings require high humidity and bottom heat.

Leaf portions

Use this method for Sansevieria, Begonia rex and Streptocarpus.

Sansevieria (mother-in-law's tongue)
Sansevieria (mother-in-law's tongue)

How to prepare leaf portions:

Cut a healthy leaf into sections, each with a main vein Plant the lower end of each section about 10 mm in the media Roots develop on the base of the cuttings, and then buds form
  • Take a healthy leaf. Cut the leaf into sections, each with a main vein.
  • Keep the sections in order so you know which is the top of the cutting and which is the bottom. They won't grow if you get them the wrong way up.
  • Plant the lower end of each section about 10 mm in the media.
  • Place in a warm humid environment.
  • Roots develop on the base of the cuttings, and then buds form.
  • Pot up the new plantlets.
These begonia plantlets grown from leaf portions are ready for potting up

These begonia plantlets grown from leaf portions are ready for potting up

Complete Activity 6A in your workbook

Key points   Key points

Leaf cuttings

                                                                               
TypePetioleNon-petiolePortionBud
Plant example African violet
            Peperomia
Begonia rex Streptocarpus
      mother-in-law's tongue
camellia
      rubber trees
      lemon tree
Structure used Leaf with stalk from fleshy leaved plants with short stems Large leaf with large veins. Plantlets develop where the veins are cut Leaf sections Leaf, petiole and short piece of stem with a bud with the bud in the leaf axil
Best conditions Humid, warm conditions can be taken any time if the cutting is put into a controlled environment Humid,
      warm in early summer
   

What's next?

Go to: 7 Root cuttings.

 
Semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings Root cuttings