Propagating Streps

frankiokc(AR)April 30, 2006

I would like some advice on propagating streps from leaves. I haven't had success with it in the past due to rotting of the leaves. Should I keep the leaf totally enclosed or is that causing too much moisture that leads to rotting?

I have a leaf down right now in the soilless mix I use for mature plants. The leaf isn't turgid, but isn't showing signs of rotting, yet. The wilted appearance of the leaf doesn't seem right, though. Shouldn't it still stay somewhat turgid while rooting?

Franki in Hot Springs, AR

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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

Plant the strep leaf just like AV leaves stem in the soil. This should give you one or two sturdy plants. Cut the leaf in wedge sections and plant the wedge point down. Where each vein is cut, this should give you a plantlet.

Cut out the midrib and plant each side of the long leaf. This will give you up to 20 plantlets but this rots easily.

Cut off all rotted areas or it will continue to rot.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 10:34AM
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Motezuma(z5 WV)

Franki, When I do mine, I generally cut the midrib out and lay sideways in the mix. Use mix that is "moist". Not wet by any means. I mix mine in an old cachepot and measure the components, then add water by the half cup while mixing until it feels right. You want to be able to press it up the sides of a pot and have it stick, but not too wet. Sheesh, that's hard to explain!

Anyhow, I firm the surface, then stick the leaf piece in like a piece of toast, so it just barely is covered and stands up. Then you can put it in an enclosure or not. If I leave it out in the open, I check it and maybe add a couple of drops of water from a syringe every couple of days. It is very important to cut off any rotten parts. You can just pull it out of the mix and if any roots are disturbed, oh well. Because if you leave it to rot, you will lose everything. Leaving it in the open helps to prevent the rot.

Good luck! Oh, forgot to ask: Are the leaves you are propagating from a plant you own, or were they sent in the mail?

-Mo (WV)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 8:42PM
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ifraser25(z11 Brazil)

A couple of things that help. Leave the cut leaf on the kitchen table for a few hours before plunging it into the compost. You can dip it into rooting powder, this is as much for the fungicide as the hormones, but make sure you wipe off any excess. If combined with the above the cutting will have absorbed enough after a couple of hours to be effective.Also the cut will callus slightly and this reduces the chance of rot significantly. You can do this with any semi-succulent cutting ie. pelargonium.

For compost I used pure sand baked in the microwave for 3-4 minutes to kill any bugs. Don't forget to let it cool first though! Keep the sand just barely damp. If you moisten the sand before the microwave treatment you may not even need to water. Finally, I never used to cover my cuttings. Strep leaves are fairly succulent so shouldn't need this but if you do cover use a tall lid so there is plenty of air inside or use a propagator.Keep the temp at about 20 deg C (70 F). I never lost any and got some great plants. I think they're easier than African violets. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 11:38PM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

In my climate I could never root streps without cover. We don't have that high a humidity. For those of you who subscribe to gesneriphiles, Franki's question garnered some very good responses. I'll add mine here though, since I am here and "in the mood" ;). I root strep cuttings using the wedge cut, shaped like an arrow head, mol, as has been described by others. So, the midrib is in the center of each section, which can be anywhere from 2-4 inches long. From a good sized leaf I therefore get two to four cuttings. I have good luck using my standard rooting mix of perlite/vermiculite, in small pots that are either enclosed in ziplock bags or under community domes (10/20 high domes). I have also put down an inch or two of mix in a clear sweater box and inserted cuttings. But, it is important to note that I have best luck with streps and other gesneriads, when I root under lights. The long hours of even mild but bright light gives me the highest percentage of success and the minimum of rot. If I have something that I really want to root and not lose, I will put the cutting in long fiber sphagnum moss--"New Zealand" moss is best, but Wisconsin sphagnum (Moser Lee brand) works well too. The problem with rooting in moss, is that then you have your plant well rooted into the moss, and it is hard, if not impossible to remove the moss when potting up. Often I will pot up the plant and then take a second series of cuttings using perlite/vermiculite.

Using potting mix, I have less success but others use these media without problems. If a strep leaf is wilty, you can "turge" it up by soaking in a bowl of water, for up to overnight. But, don't leave it soaking too long or it will eventually go downhill. Often if a leaf is only semi-wilty I just pot it up and let it turge up in the high humidity of the enclosure.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 3:42PM
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Here is my (highly non-technical) set up. I just wedge the leaves, like previously described, and push them into damp compost that had been microwaved. I then put them in a food/freezer bag propped up with a lolly stick or straw and seal it. If it gets too wet then you can always open the bag, or if it gets too dry you can always spray/ water the compost.

I have mine on the bathroom window sill, which may add some humidity. I use the lolly stick to stop the bag drooping onto the leaves and causing rot. The leaves do sag at the ends a bit, but they do not droop onto the compost.

The green bumps at the front are new leaves.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 1:21PM
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Thank you for all the great responses! I will take all the advice and work with my environment to get the best results.

Franki in Hot Springs

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 2:23PM
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