do leaf cuttings need light?

greentoe357August 26, 2013

Do these little guys need to be under artificial lights, or indirect light /shade on the window sill is fine until new growth starts showing above ground? The cuttings have been in the ground for 2.5 months and are rooted, but there was no growth underneath that was reaching for the sky yet when I looked a month ago.

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Stush2049(Pitts., Pa. 6)

Regular bright light is ok. You do know the new shoots will loose the yellow edge. Maybe one in a hundred may keep it. But it will still look nice.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 12:39PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Are they sunk to the bottom? If so, the new growth is likely trying to push its' way up from there. These are extremely tough, and the soil looks quite chunky, I'd just look. If there's pups forming already, you could situate them a lot higher, so they are already in the light. And yes, the more light, the more quickly it will happen, barring actual sunburn or dessication from too much exposure. Have you looked at the bottom to see what it looks like down there since it's clear?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 3:24PM
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>> Regular bright light is ok.

Don't have that. It's either a window that does not get direct or even bright indirect light (I would call it diffused light to shade), or under a grow light where another plant would have to be kicked out.

Actually, I can also stick it one shelf down from the grow light. The shelf if nearly 4 feet under a 4x54W high output fluorescent fixture and is obstructed by tightly spaced pots upstairs. I wonder if this is more light than the window. I do not have a PAR meter.

>> Are they sunk to the bottom?

No. There is about an inch underground. The pic is how they looked a month ago when I replanted into gritty mix.

Yeah, I deliberately planted into this clear produce container to see how roots develop, but so far there is nothing to see through those walls or at the bottom.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 2:25PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Those look great! Do you see what I mean about how tough the roots are? I documented the progress of some cuttings here. Took 3-4 months. Looks like a pretty good blast of light coming in a window in your pic. Hanging baskets are a great way to make the most of a window, even if the plants aren't traditionally hung, just as long as they fit. Either from the ceiling above, or the window casing (if appropriate, some housing-development buildings just have a 'drywall corner' that's a lot more tricky than a nice wooden window frame...) from the top or on the sides.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 3:09PM
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Great thread link, Purple, and the thread that one lead to are also good.

My experience here was that the lowest sections of the leaf, the ones with very thick narrow C-shaped cross-section, did not root for me by the time of my repotting a month ago. You can see that on my picture - 3rd, 4th and 5th cuttings from left have no roots at all. Maybe they just needed more time, but I discarded them at the time and just replanted the other six. Looks from those pictures like your experience was not like this at all.

I think my window sills get the same amount of light than a suspended pot would on the same window.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 3:56PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Glad to share it, I didn't know what to expect either, as you probably read, just jumped in there and did it. I just happened to use the really low parts because I wanted them off of the plant, interesting observation. The urge to do it again has not yet come around, and may not. Pups are so easy to come by. Have you gotten around to the discussions (and pics) about doing it in water yet? That's way fun too, you can see it happening, the tiny pup.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 4:03PM
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I haven't seen leaf propagation in water conversations. It would be interesting to do it out of curiosity and for clear visibility, but those are probably the only reasons to root in water, as plants will have to regrow soil roots when/if planted in soil later. Still, I might do it because it's so interesting to see.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 4:16PM
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Depends where you live. I am having temps in the high 90tys and I keep my leaf cuttings in 50 shade at least.
Remember if they are a hybrid they may revert back to the mother plants some don't take at least 4" rhizome with the leaf, especially wirh variegates. Take them quick before it turns cold, some set roots quickly other take forever. You may have lost the opportunity for this year. l

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 4:25AM
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These do take forever, it seems. Still no visible growth above ground or roots visible through the clear plastic. Today I noticed the mix was taking a while to dry out after watering, even though it is very chunky - calcined DE I used for 1/3rd of the mix is really water-retentive in its micropores. So I set it on top of a grow light for some evaporative warmth during the day. Hopefully the heat will also help spurt some growth. Come on, Sansi, I am not getting younger here, you know!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 10:29PM
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I used a leaf sheath, it rooted down in two weeks time.I was doing this in July. I think maybe different species react differenty, I also find the think thick leaf ones are easier, they don't rot as easily. I potted up 100 flats of cuttings three to a pot l" x 4" deep only two " of mix in some pots only 1-3 rooted. experment that is the way I learned. I did have professioinal lessons however for several years, so that hurries the learning curve up just a few years. Figuring out how to start plants comes natural for me. Right now I'm playing with variegated Haworthia from Japan. I've already made several mistakes, I'll make a few more then perhaps I will catch on. One mistake, let the cut heal over a few hours before setting them into damp mix. then wait until you see new growth before you start to water. Some species are slower then others. Norma

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 2:40AM
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i rooted some very long time ago - i remember it took quite a long time for pups to show - like 6mo!
it depends on time of year too. but mine were getting very good south light even in winter, but they were still slow.
couple of years ago i broke off 2 strong very long leaves that grew in a V , hanging outside the pot - it was an accident .
and put them in with orchids that were in sphagnum, sort of like an arrangement - it looked very nice. and they rooted! proly in 2 mo?
that was mid-summer. then for winter i popped them in sep small pot and promptly forgot about them for a month...or more or 6?. it went like this for awhile - a year? they got quite shriveled up but not dead!
so ok, i decided to mend my ways ... repot, outside in shade - in 2 months the 2nd summer i got strong pups going.
so if yours don't pup overwinter - they still will, come summer.
re: west window.
i think purple was saying that you can maximize your window space by hanging plants midway. i saw that you have a heat register there. you can put a high metal grid table over the register, not touching it - and you'll have bottom heat! even though by the window it's always cooler at night in winter - that could be a good way for rooting/creating extra space, keeping plants warm for growth.
i saw recently they started making led lights that are bunched together, like 50-60! of them making a bulb with a reg socket and it's not expensive either (i can dig up the link).
so you can use a small clip-on lamp like a spot-light for lower shelves.
another thing occurred to me: your lit-up shelf is against the wall. you could position it off the wall a bit and rig smth to extend the top shelf in back (will be invisible really) - just to have enough space to put a row of small pots there.
sorry... the fountain just won't stop :)))... you can wire up a chain to the posts at the fixture level - and then hang some baskets off it in the back - more usage out of lights!
i know, you're shooting for pretty, but hey...just an idea;).

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 6:38PM
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Stush2049(Pitts., Pa. 6)

Good advise. The best is bottom heat. If you can keep the soil around 85 degrees, it will speed up root and rhizome production. Bottom heat mats sold in nursery stores help. That more than anyting will help.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 12:31PM
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Bottom heat is not necessary if you do this the right time of the year, if you want to retain the variegation do it with at least three inches of the rhizome. Any hybrid may revert back to the mother plant, you would be surprised what you will get. If you a suspicous that it could be a hyrid just grow it from a leaf, and see what turns up. Too tired to make corrections. Norma

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 2:44AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi GT,

I don't provide extra light or do anything special to root my Sans. I try to pot them shallowly (thanks for that Norma) & ignore them. I tend not to water them 'til I see new growth. After a few months, I might lightly water the mix around the outer edge of the mix.

This was above eye level so I didn't see when the new growth broke the surface. When I saw it, the new leaf was abt 1.5" long, that took 9 months from when potted.

Sorry for the slight blur above.

This is a ridged form of S. cylindrica (thanks Denise).

Here's its sister leaf which I set to root in another location. I had a clumsy moment where I knocked it over & look what I found.

I thought the base of leaf was just rooting like this:

Yet when I turned it over to look further, I found this little charmer.

So pale as it's still underground & had another inch or 2 to break the surface of the mix.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 8:43AM
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hermine(S. CA)

Sure they need light, but you can grow them very well under one of those shoplights with two cool white fluorescent bulbs, or under one of those spiral fluorescent bulbs. despite how I have a greenhouse in southern California there are some plants which have not been out of the house for YEARS and spend all their time under a desk lamp. Growing plants in a cellar under lights is how I started growing rare plants, many of them from the arid deserts of South Africa. and these were not special plant lights, they were the cheapest cool white fluorescents, and I had WONDERFUL PLANTS that way. this is a long story but the deal was, i placed the real full sun plants two or three inches from the tubes, and grew the lower light plants in the ambient light conditions given off by all these racks of fluorescent shop lights.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 2:28PM
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