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Leaf propagation  [ Horticulture  ]

Dictionary of botanic terminology - index of names

Synonyms: Leaf cutting, Mother leaf
  A propagation method involving a leaf of a plant that can be removed and used to obtain a new clone of that plant through rooting.  
Also called mother leaf. Leaf propagation involves removing a leaf from a parent plant, The cutting must be a healthy leaf from a vigorously growing plant. Typically, a leaf cutting is trimmed below a leaf joint close to the stem and includes the entire leaf blade plus the petiole. The leaf is placed stem-first (or heel-first) into rooting medium so that 1/3 of the leaf is below the surface of the rooting medium and rooted. Rooting condition may vary considerably in different species but in general the best conditions needed for a leaf cuttings to root comprises high humidity, indirect light and soil temperatures of 20C to 25 C.
These conditions may be created by keeping cuttings enclosed under glass or in plastic bags in dappled shade. Cover container and cutting with a plastic bag tent to maintain high humidity. Cuttings must be shielded from direct sunlight, especially if they are under glass or plastic. Check the rooting medium every few days to make sure it remains moist. Rooting can take from a few days up to several months. After a few weeks, test for rooting by gently tugging at the cutting. If there is resistance, rooting has started and the plastic cover may be removed. Rooting hormones may be used with this method as they helps to stimulate rooting, but is optional.

Root cutting of succulents:
Root cutting is a common way of propagation of many leaf succulent and rosette succulent as Haworthia, Crassula, Echeveria, Sedum, Kalankoe, etc. In this case a successful leaf cutting will result in growing a new plant (sometimes several plants) from a single leaf. Some plant like Haworthia need to take a bit of the stem tissue along with the removed leaf. The best way to get started is to un-pot the plant and wash the soil from its roots. Remove any old or dying leaves and choose a vigorous healthy leaf or more. Remove this leaf with a sharp knife making sure to cut off a bit of stem tissue with the leaf. Dip the cut end into rooting hormone powder and allow to dry in a shady area for a couple of days. For other succulents (e.g. Crassula) is sufficient to detach a leave by picking it with your fingers or by a small torsion. In some species (e.g. Echeveria) it possible to use leaf withdraw from a flower stalk. Next place the leaf in a warm shady area in a rooting soil that is kept slightly moist. With a bit of luck in a variable time (usually 40 to 50 days), the leaf will root and one or more plantlets will emerge, complete with their own root system. With leaf cuttings, the original leaf is not a part of the new plant and is usually discarded.





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