rooting leaf stumps, propagation questions

Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)May 30, 2012

A discussion on the house plant forum (Thanks pirate_girl!) has given me enabling inspiration to try propagating some of the ugly old leaf stumps on this plant. Although I've had this plant for decades, I've never tried propagating a leaf, just divisions.

Whole plant:

The leaves I would like to remove:

It seems like I could just rip them (pulling down and out) cleanly from the mama so I'm not just creating a shorter stump. Thoughts?

Should they be potted ASAP or allowed to cure/dry first? If so, how long? What angle should I be aiming for regarding sticking the cutting in soil? Sticking straight up, or more sideways? My instinct would be to put the cuttings where they would only get some early morning sun. Would that be enough?

And the big question - what will happen? A new single leaf or a pup? Or does it vary?

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi again,

Relax, we can keep it on the simple side, yes, you can just pull those old leaf stubs straight off. I'd leave 'em out bare for a day or 2 then pot them DRY into something fast draining & DO NOT WATER IN. Key to remember which side was up which was down. If potted upside down it supposedly won't work.

Pot them straight up, an inch or 2 down into the mix which should be just a couple of inches deep. Can be shallow in a smallish pot to start.

If needed, prop them in place w/ rocks or small clay pots, like this. This isn't a leaf mind you, but a whole division of a plant, but it's the same use of a rock (this is actually is a fish vertebrae of all things that I found in the ocean nearby).

(Sounds like you really dislike those stubby leftover leaves. If you were to throw them out, I wouldn't tell the Plant Police, it could just be our secret).

Don't worry to do this perfectly or 'the right way'. These plants have been growing for thousands of years, in often tough territory & rough conditions, a leaf bends over, gets broken, walked on by a cow, goes right on. Nobody to right it, it finds a way.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 8:43PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Silly me, hit submit too fast, here's the pic.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 8:52PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

That one looks nice! Thanks for the info. Do not water?! I totally believe you but am not sure about myself. Can I follow that instruction? Oh jeez. I will have to have 'honey' monitor me, just like when I tell him to hide the can of frosting until I really do bake a cake, or the Hershey bar until we really do roast marshmallows.

I must not dislike the stumps too much cuz they've been there for many years. But propagation always excites me.

Still curious if there's an expectation of a single leaf emerging or a pup? Is there a more appropriate term?

The description of the pic on this page leaves me unclear. It looks like the piece of leaf on the left was the originator of this plant as a cutting which grew the orange rhizome which produced a pup.

Here goes, the best way to find out what happens, getting started. The entity on the right, I pulled off a little stump and realized that whole section was just ugly and stumpy, so I pulled the whole thing loose. That piece is about 6-7 inches:

The mama after pulling some stumps, there's a 3rd pup noticeable since yesterday:

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 11:22AM
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woodnative(6)

Looks good. Follow PGs advice. I usually water mine slightly but you don't want them sitting in wet soil. Where mine are they dry out quickly. Each leaf section will actually form one (or sometimes more) little pups.......you will see a little rhizome come out and a little pup emerge from the soil. It is amazing!!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 8:32AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Thanks for the input & encouragement! When it stops raining (yeah it's actually raining here!!!!!!!) I will pot them up today. Sounds like a good use of some clear plastic cups so we can see what's going on in there.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 9:06AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Didn't have the cups I thought I did, but tons of tiny pots under the porch. Now we wait.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 12:57PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hey Purple,

Sorry I didn't get here sooner. What kind of mix is that, seems so dark, but it's fast draining, right? Also, next time, I'd try smaller pots, I can't tell what size those are (look 4" maybe). I've been taught the smaller the pot, the better. But they look OK, so it'll be interesting to see what develops.

I've only done this in water lately, so don't recall if just a leaf starts or if a little division starts.

I didn't understand what you asked above, for clarification of something about the pic you linked. I re-read that & believe your description to be correct & likely what happened.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 3:21PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Awesome, thanks! I just checked on them today, and watered for the first time since putting in the pots. Can't see anything going on yet, but nothing is mushy or too dry, so that seems to be good.

Thanks for checking out that pic again. I just wasn't sure. I'm going to get in the pots more often to see what's going on in there. I feel like this plant I've had for so long is a stranger, kind of like we just work together instead of live together. Guess I should commit, it's been a couple decades!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 5:47PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

So wait pls. -- what size pots are these? & what kind of mix?

Are you going to grow these outside? I wouldn't water them but once every 2-3 wks, otherwise they're likely to rot before they root. These leaves have no roots nor a way to take up water. I strongly suggest you not water again for at least 2-3 wks (hopefully a shaded spot, not in direct sun).

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 11:11AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I think they're 3 or 4". They'll stay outside with the rest of the plants until panic night. After 11 days, they were very dry, I'd say completely. They're in aged mulch (from a bag I bought last year) with a bit of composted leaves. It's almost the same as what the "mamas" are in, except the mamas also have a bit of top soil mixed in.

The sun shines on that spot a little early in the morning and late in the afternoon. It's a lot less than the mamas. Do you think that's too much?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 9:30AM
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elichka(6b)

while reading Joe De Rosa old posts i found the following interesting idea:
if you split an inch on the bottom you may have much more pups. Karen at that time you mentioned that you want to try this method. have you ever tried? Any positive results? Please lets us know . i find this very interesting.

Thanks a lot
Inna

Here is a link that might be useful: propagation

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 10:02AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Well, I might be concerned that mix was a bit too rich for succulents, but if this is what the Mama was in. Presumably, the mix drains quickly, right? That's the key thing.

Same about the direct sun. I grow indoors only, so can't speak to that, but if it's a bit less sun that the Mama was getting, that sounds OK.

Pls. be reminded that even if the mix was dry, succulents (by definition) have the ability to store water in their own leaves, stems, etc. So they sort of come w/ their own water to begin with. Since it's outside, maybe just let it catch some rain every 2nd or 3rd wk & you don't water it at all. I imagine that could work too.

It'll be interesting to see how long it takes, especially outdoors, pls. check back w/ us w/ updates & good luck!

I'll guess by the end of summer you'll have a sprout, but that's just a guess factoring in both outdoor & summer growing.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 10:28AM
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norma_2006

When I did this project we started with slightly damp fast draining mix, didn't water until we saw tiny leaf offsets comin up from the mother leaf. Then we watered every week, with a light liquid fertilizer followsed. All lived to my surprise. the new leaves will change as they get older, depending on a species.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

3 out of 4 are showing signs of life. Sorry for not putting them in 1 post, my hosting thing is giving me a hard time at the moment.

#1

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 4:06PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

#1 closer

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 4:07PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

#2 looks good

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 4:08PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I was more confident about this one since it had some stump.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 4:09PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Close up of #3 (from above.) It's making the cutest baby!!!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 4:10PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Excuse me Purple, by WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? This is a terrible idea!

Why are you lifting them out of the mix? This breaks the tiny roots we're trying to get established. This is a BAD idea.

Pls. stop doing this & put them back in the mix & leave them there. You are making them have to re-start their rooting process over again.

I hate to sound like broken record, but the appearance of new growth is the strongest & best indicator of new growth.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 5:14PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

"I hate to sound like broken record, but the appearance of new growth is the strongest & best indicator of new growth. "

This should have read

"... but the appearance of new growth is the strongest & best indicator of something having rooted." So sorry.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 7:04PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Thanks! I'm sure you're right, if one's goal is to attempt ideal propagation. My goal was to see what happens and how long it takes. I'm pretty sure I didn't damage any of the roots, but I could go check... if it would make you feel better?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 9:23AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

No, thanks, it's not about making me feel better. What's "ideal propagation"?

Well, you're certainly seeing what happens, they're clearly well under way & congrats on the first new sprout (pup?). Guess that would have made my prediction of seeing new growth before end summer to be correct. Looks like doing this outside in Summer is the way to go. Hope they keep on so nicely for you.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 9:52AM
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riptidefrog

Wow! They started rooting quickly! I had thought that rooting of sans would take quite a bit longer.
I usually take a peek too. Double edged sword of course, balancing possible damage to roots with an assessment of the health of the cuttings below soil.
And then theres the hedonistic thrill of seeing growth! Thats kinda what a lot of this houseplant hobby is about for me, seeing what happens.
Kudos and fantastic photos! I hope to see more photos in the future.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Yes, PG, you were absolutely right. Sorry for teasing. I just meant that it's OK to me if I mess these up seeing what's going on. I have plenty of material to work with, and don't really want more plants, just want to see if they would grow. I'll find them homes, I'm sure. By "ideal propagation" I mean "following the rules" to "make sure" you get new plants. Not messing with them, as you advised against, and most people also would. Not trying to be upsetting, just kind of sacrificing these plants (if I did mess them up) in the name of being able to see (and share) what's going on under the soil - and how fast it's happening. I promise if anything goes wrong, I'll say, "If I had followed PG's instructions this probably wouldn't have happened," you know... do as they say, not as I do kinda thing.

Soon I will pot these up together, will take pics again then. Everybody mentally prepare to see them unpotted again, me messing with them. Don't think I don't appreciate any advice, even if I don't take it!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 3:08PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Here's the follow-up pics, what they look like after just under 2 months. These were repotted yesterday:

Thanks again to everyone!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 8:29AM
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RainforestGuy

For sansevieria forms, try splicing the stolons and replanting them to get new varieties of variegated and novel-normal forms. Splicing is defined as cutting (with a sterilized) knife into the stolons lengthwise and also cutting into the new growing points.
Leaf cuttings will only make the standard form of the species. But stolon cuttings will create variations due to placement of the "albino" chlorophyl-less tissues of the growing point/genetic meristem.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 3:32PM
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Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6

Rain, Thanks for the tip. I was going to ask such a question myself. Nice experiment to do. I saw some all yellow types with the snake molting. Looks stunning. I bet it is the most fussy kind to winter over. I was going to cut the green sections out and leave the yellow only into the ground medium. Hoping to get mostly yellow leaves.
I remember you saying you could put the leaves thru a chipper and plant up all the pieces! Yea in a very nice warm climate. But also in a 55 gallon aquarium tank used as a terrarium. Always wondered about that.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 4:20PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

That is interesting, thanks rainforestGuy.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 10:02AM
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RainforestGuy

Many of the newer variegated and novelty leaf patterned sans ow appearing on the market is from such activity with the propagation materials. If a stolon is just left alone to produce a new plant from its true growing point, mutation is a slow and lifetime process. Many new sports are usually found accidentally from damage done to a plant and the plant makes up the new space and area with fast producing propagates.
Since sansevierias are such a forgiving plant, you can grow them from leaf cuttings (try them lengthwise instead of just at tips) and rooting them sideways.
While the trifasciata variegated forms do not propagate with variegated offspring, some of the rounded leaf types do. Patens, cylindrica and other rounded leaf types propagates from variegated leaves. You will get some albino ones, but don't be alarmed, they can also develop chlorophyll ports while attached to the mother leaf/nurse leaves.
You can always get variegated mutations from splicing green true species in vitro and growing them out.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 3:33PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Thanks again! Please excuse me for not saying so in a more timely manner.

Here's the progress of the babies in the last pics. The already-visible baby has grown considerably and the other 2 leaves have each put out a pup. What am I going to do with these plants? Haven't thought it through that far. I now don't want to get rid of the big mamas OR the babies. Uhoh...

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 11:19AM
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Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6

Purpleinopp, The same exact method is used for most of the other sans. You proved yourself a master sans grower.
Welcome to the club.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 4:20PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hiya Purple,

Well congrats to you, they look great, the pup looks strong & hearty, the little ones look like they're coming right along. See, how they just really want to grow; nice huh?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 9:06PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Stush, what a nice thing to say, thanks! Now I just want to encounter some of the more unusual plants I've seen around these forums. My wallet's probably pretty safe tho since I only buy in person.

Yes, PG, Sans DO want to grow. Glad I decided to pay attention lately. And interesting tidbit, my Mom said this plant has probably been in the family for at least 80 years.
That's wild, it's as old as a giant tree.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 9:13PM
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norma_2006

Good advise, and learned I something new, this group has come a long way. Starting with a leaf, cut them off pulling may leave a opening for insects to invade the plant, Pirate Girl has always been special to me, she is correct in what she tells you, do what she says, small pot,to start cutting, I think what was left out is cuttings of a leaf should be 6" bottom side down, and course draining hole in pots. It's best to do it with summer heat but any time of the year will work if done inside, they must have some indirect sunlight and air circulation. Otherwise noting was left out. Good going Karen. Norma

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 11:43AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Heythere, Norma. What was it that you learned? Sorry, I wasn't clear from your post and daggone curious.

Agreed, PG has excellent advice. Not her fault if it's not followed.

Think I've found a home for some "new 80 year old Sans." Met a neighbor walking by the house yesterday that seems ripe for enabling...! I'm taking it slow though, it was just a "first date" and I still have to gauge if her interest was in just outdoor gardening or house plants also. Can't imagine actually parting with these babies, but predict an attitude change when it's time for everybody to cram inside.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 1:00PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hey Purple,

Pls. re-read Norma's 1st sentence or 2, actually up until she mentions me ;>) -- that's what I think she's referring to as the new thing she just learned (abt cutting vs. pulling the leaf off so as to leave less opening for insects).

Thanks both of you, for the kind words. Hiya Norma, I'm carrying the Sans, torch, huh? Enjoying it too I MUST say, Hugs to you Dear!!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 9:52PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Oooh, you're probably right, thanks! I just don't like the look of the cut end. When I pull a leaf, it breaks away cleanly from the crown. Good advice though if it is a danger.

This pot has sprouted another pup...

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:05AM
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