Propagate Steptocarpus

larry_b(Zone5/CO)January 24, 2005

Hello All,

I have a small streptocarpus that I want to propagate with a leaf cutting. I'm a little worried about the mother plant. I was not able to get any of the stem as you can see. I was wondering how you experts think would be the best way to propagate it. Should I just put the cut portion into soil and cover with the dome or cut the spine out of the leaf and bury the leaf portions sideways? What do you all do to get the greatest success?

Thanks,

Larry

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mwedzi(chicago)

I'm no expert cuz I've only done this a few times. The easiest way for me is to just take what you have there and stick the whole bottom in the mix. That is, just set the leaf upright in the mix. You could also peel/cut away the sides of the leaves and kinda make a stem out of the center vein. I recently started one of my streps with both of these methods. I took two pieces from one leaf and did one piece the first way and the other piece the second way. They both grew babies just as quickly, but the one with just sticking the whole section as-is in the soil gave the most babies.

There is also the method of cutting along the center vein and getting two pieces from your leaf, then setting each piece lengthwise into the mix. This is supposed to produce the maximum number of babies, but unless you're selling them and you need 50 babies, it seems unnecessary. I lost my cuttings when I tried it this way, though I may have done something else wrong then. The way of doing it I first described seems to have yielded at least 10 baby leaves, so that's enough for me.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2005 at 6:14PM
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larry_b(Zone5/CO)

Thanks Nikki!

Larry

    Bookmark   January 24, 2005 at 6:56PM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

Hi Larry, yeah, I agree with Nikki on everything. I haven't tried doing the cut along the midrib thing in years, when it never worked for me. I have always had good luck taking cuttings like you have except that I will make two or three cuttings from a leaf, each shaped like an arrow or wedge. I trim the so that they are a bit pointed on the bottom. I don't think this is necessary, but makes it easier to insert in the moist perlite/vermiculite, and later to inspect if I get curious to see if it is rooted. You can enclose in a ziplock or put under a dome. Either way, inspect for rot and remove any rotting portions of the cuttings. I like to use very sharp scissors or single edged razor blades for this. It really is a good idea to take cuttings on your favorite streps, before they have the chance to go down hill on their own. I've lost so many great streps over the years because I didn't propagate them. But, then I couldn't grow all the plants I have now if I had all of them too. Too many plants!
Jon

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 11:47PM
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maureen_ottawa(z4)

The leaf looks very fresh and the veins are strong so you should be okay doing it either way.

You will get the strongest babies from the veins closest to the stem.

If you want only 2-4 babies, putting it straight into the soil will give you that many. If you cut the leaf and put in down sideways, you'll get 20-30 babies.

Make sure that you wash and rinse the leaf well and use sterile potting material. The biggest killer when trying to propagate strep leaves is rot.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2005 at 2:01PM
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mwedzi(chicago)

I agree with Maureen on that last statement, too. I just separated one baby leaf from the plant I put in a 1-1-1 mix and one from the same variety I put in a vermiculite/perlite mix. I just set them down in the mix in the same pot. The one in the 1-1-1 mix is starting to rot, but the one in the perlite/vermiculite mix is growing strong. So even if you set the original leaf down in your regular mix, when you pot up the tiny babies, I'd recommend something sterile. Though this is just based on the one experience.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2005 at 9:53AM
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