Opinions: Cut top of leaf when propagating?

TallyMay 7, 2014

I've read some do, some don't.

Any opinions or recommendations?

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Mary246

Tally:
I haven't done it until about a week or so ago. I had a leaf that just sat there and didn't make any babies while all the other leaves that I planted at the same time had been growing babies for a while. So I tried it. I cut the tip of the leaf off and that leaf had babies within a week.
Mary

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 11:07PM
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froeschli

I don't . I read it is to stop the mother leaf from growing bigger and thus speeding up development of plantlets. Never did a test. IMO speed is overrated, and I'd rather not cut anything and open it up to infection/rot if I don't need to.

Karin

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 11:07PM
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lucky123

I cut the tops off mine and put the cut top on edge in the pot.
I have never done any of this before but the tops seem to be doing well.
It will be interesting if the leaf top cut edge sprouts.
I read somewhere that this works but maybe only for begonias

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 11:30PM
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Linda

Mary,

Your leaf probably would have had babies even if you hadn't cut it. It had been planted for a long while so it was probably just taking its time.

I have and haven't cut the tops off of rooting leaves. I really haven't seen any difference. That said, it is really impossible to compare as you don't know how long the leaf would have taken if you had or had not cut it.

I only snip the top now when the leaf is visibly growing larger.

Linda

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 2:03AM
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Vikki(7b / 8)

I only do with the large leaves, but that's mainly because I can place the pots closer together that way. I haven't seen any difference between cutting and not cutting as far as losing the leaves before they make babies.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 8:21AM
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quimoi

I see it done both ways. I don't because I "feel" it may damage the leaves. I have no proof that this causes any damage to leaf orders but I don't want to run experiments (so I can say "Hey, I lost half my leaf order!"). I've trimmed damage and had that work out all right.

For whatever reason, my own leaves are much less fussy than someone else's. It may just be the shipping. I have good luck with store plants but those are leaves taken the same day too.

What I have done recently is to cut off the top half of a few leaves that hadn't produced as rapidly as I wanted them to (after about 2 mos. I get antsy). Then I set the top half and have had some luck with the top half getting babies. The cut bottoms have generally produced too but, of course, they were well rooted by this time. I've never noticed a leaf start growing up so didn't have to cut one for that reason.

I was tempted to cut the giant leaves I got from Lyon's but didn't because they cost so much. They were very awkward to set - obviously bottom row leaves, some with petiole damage from the pot.

If I do cut, I use a razor blade.

Diana

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 10:58AM
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fortyseven_gw

I read to cut the tip of the leaf once the babies sprout to stop the mother leaf from growing and direct the growth to the babies.
Lucky, The new growth comes from the base of the cut leaf, not the top.
Joanne

This post was edited by fortyseven on Thu, May 8, 14 at 11:50

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 11:41AM
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lucky123

Joanne
Do you mean Did I plant the tip of the leaf in the soil? I planted the top half of the leaf with the cut edge down. (LOL, visualizing leafs planted tip down. That is funny)
I have leaves cut and leaves not cut and I notice more wilting with the cut leaves.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 3:57PM
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fortyseven_gw

Hi Lucky,
I thought you were asking where the new plant would grow from. I don't have much success with cut leaves, but it depends on the plant. I tried propagating leaves both with the tip cut and without. I saw no difference. But once the babies developed, I then experimented with cutting off the tip and found that it made the babies grow. By then, the mother leaf had about had enough and was ready for a rest. i read about doing it that way on the Forum. So now, if I think of it, I cut the tip of the mother leaf when the babies grow. But most of the time, I don't think about it. Once or twice, I had babies grow from a half leaf, but that is not typical.
Joanne

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 4:18PM
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Linda

Diane,

You set the cut top half of the leaf in the soil to grow babies?

Linda

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 6:49PM
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quimoi

Linda,

Yes, I use vermiculite/perlite but I just plop the top half of the leaf in the solo cup (or pot would work) burying it just enough to keep it upright. Optimara Maine (?) (that's how my Lowe's stuff gets labeled until it gets blooming and I can tell), got babies on the leaf top nearly as soon as they came up from the bottom of the leaf. I had 7 plants on that top. I only needed 1. Right now I have 1 forming on an Anthoflores but I think more are coming. They seem to like the back side of the curve but Maine(?) had some on both sides.

I had done it in the far past with damaged leaves but hadn't done it for a long time. One might be coming on my recalcitrant Cora leaf top too. I've only done it on a few but haven't lost any yet.

DianA

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 10:06PM
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lucky123

Thanks Diana
I knew that would work with begonia but I did it with the AV because I hate to throw anything away! I hope my leaf tops root!
Almost every video on the web show cutting the top half off the leaf. I am going to stop doing that because I think I am bruising the leaf when I cut it. It does put pressure on it.
I thought that was the way it was done.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 10:42PM
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quimoi

I do make my cuts with a sharp razor blade. I tried an X-acto blade for about 5 mins. and switched back to the razor blade. I don't think you should bruise the leaf, but it does seem to me that there is a "wound" there. Obviously, it works fine for a lot of folks but not doing it works fine too.

Added: I watched two videos on setting leaves. The first woman cut the bottom stem angle bassackwards from everything I've ever seen. The second video is Ann-Marie Keene's and it's fine but, as you say, she does cut of the top of the leaf. If my leaves start to get bigger while rooting, then I will cut them off. It hasn't been a problem yet.

There's one weird little thing I mostly do; I suppose I read it once upon a time. Someone said that after you made the cut at the bottom, to let it dry for 15 mins. before setting the leaf. Yes, 15. Okay, I don't time it but I usually do let them dry a bit before I stick them in the mix - could be 15 mins. I think the idea is to let them dry off a little and perhaps there would be less chance of rot, but I have no idea if it makes any difference. Probably not.

I only cover them tightly if I'm isolating them; otherwise I use a lightweight sandwich bag or saran wrap over a container.

Diana

This post was edited by quimoi on Fri, May 9, 14 at 0:39

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 11:41PM
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Linda

Diana,

I've read about leaving them for a while before planting, as well. It seems counter-productive to me so I've never done it. I've also read that after a neck is scraped, it is left to callus but this didn't make any sense to me, either. You are scraping off the calluses; why would you leave it out to callus again?

Have you ever used a potting mix to plant leaves? It is what I use now but I am thinking of experimenting a bit with perlite/vermiculite. I was wondering if you had better success with one over the other.

Linda

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 12:49AM
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quimoi

Linda,

I don't think "15 minutes" is long enough to form a callus. I wouldn't want to say that it makes any difference and I would love to know how I got that in my head :) If I let them so long that they look dried out, I recut them.

As to scraping, sometimes old trunks are corky and that is when the scraping comes in for me. Maybe corky isn't exactly the right word, but the outside isn't green. Corky sounds sick.

No, I never did use potting mix to root leaves. I started growing before the soilless mixes and it probably wouldn't have been such a great idea. I've just always done it the same way. I never rooted in water either.

I see excellent results with potting mix though but some people do have so much trouble.

Diana

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 9:20AM
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Linda

Diana,

I realize fifteen minutes isn't long enough to form a callus, I've just have never read what the purpose is of waiting so I've never done it.

What I have read about trunks is that when they are scraped of their calluses, some people let them sit to re-callus. Again, I couldn't figure out the reasoning behind this one, either.

When I started growing, water rooting was the only way it was done. I don't remember when soil rooting became popular and I can't remember what I used in the beginning. I think it was just potting mix-no perlite or vermiculite. The I did just perlite. I I wasn't entirely happy with that method so I switched to my regular potting mix. I'm in the mood for experimenting so I thought I might try the perlite/vermiculite mix and see how it compares to my soil/v/p mix and also to see if it works better than just perlite alone.

Linda

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 1:53PM
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quimoi

I think vermiculite and perlite works better than perlite alone, but if the soil works, you'll probably like it best. I have no idea what "people" were doing when I started. It would seem probable that it was water but I wouldn't be people then ;)

I assume the waiting is just to let the plant dry off, not form a new callus which would be awfully fast work.

Diana

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 2:20PM
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lucky123

It may be that the "waiting" idea is a carryover from other plant propagation.
Geraniums and some other plants will rot if the stem isn't allowed to "harden."
A nice donut shop lady in California let me take a cutting of her geraniums. Back in Arizona 10 days later, with +100 degree heat, I found the cuttings in the glove compartment. I stuck them in the pot and have big plants. Never flowers but I don't know if the 10 days and no flowers are somehow coincidental.

This post was edited by lucky123 on Fri, May 9, 14 at 17:57

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 5:55PM
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froeschli

Geraniums are hard to kill, I think that is why they are so popular for balconies and window boxes. I don't think I let mine dry, and they all rooted and flowered fine.

'Back in the day' my mother used to just plop av leaves in the soil next to whatever potted plant was available. But then, I wasn't all that interested in growing anything other than avocados and spider plants at the time (I was 10).

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 6:12PM
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quimoi

I don't always let them sit 15 mins. :) Especially since I stick them straight into dry perlite/vermiculite, I have been known to skip the wait when it's just one or two leaves. I've never noticed them keeling over from it.

If I'm doing a lot, I do try and let the cut dry off a little before sticking it. I don't think it hurts.

I probably killed a geranium. I certainly never had much luck with them.

Diana

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 7:16PM
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lucky123

Diana
I wish I could grow AV's like I can grow geraniums. I grew most of mine from seed.
They bloom every day of the years but they aren't easy.
I just noticed the wind changed and I went out and moved the geraniums.
I move them in and out of the house constantly. Full sun, temperature Absolute 45-100 or they have to be indoors.
I am tuned into them, water, temperature, fertilizer, I know geraniums.
I hope one day I will understand AV's in the same way.
Neither plant is easy.
Geraniums are not humidity sensitive and that is what may defeat me with AV's in the end. This is a very dry climate.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 12:32AM
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