propagating plants

lovesnakeplantSeptember 16, 2006

It is interesting that in reading the questions and answers in this forum, I have not seen anything about taking a leaf of the Sansevieria and just placing it in water to start the new roots. I have done this for years. When a leaf is broken, I just stick it in a flower vase with water and after the roots are established I plant it in the soil. Is this an unusual happening? Some times I just leave the leaf in the vase and it has lasted for years like that. Now, I must confess also, I am the worlds worst at watering plants. Even those in the vases can go without having water for long periods of time at my house.

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)


You haven't read that here because it's not a recommended way to start Sans. from leaves. What IS recommended is to just stick the leaf cut side down in the mix & not water it in. Just leave it there for a VERY long time, giving it minimal water very infrequently & eventually, it will start new plants. Can take as much as a year depending on time of year it's done.

Succulents by definition hold their own water. In Sans. it's in the leaves, so starting them in water gives them too much water & can often lead to rot (& suffocates the plant by depriving it of needed oxygen).

While this method works for you, it's not recommended, as IS what I've said above. I've written on this here before as have others, maybe even in the C&S FAQs, there may be one dealing w/ starting a Sans. from leaves. Additionally, these plants originated in very dry climates, so nature designed them to start off DRY (like from a broken leaf that falls to the ground & takes root over time where it fell), not in the bath as it were.

You'll find there are many varieties of these excellent plants. Glad to hear yor enjoyemnt of it led you to do this paper, interesting idea. Have fun & good luck w/ it!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 2:02PM
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dufflebag2002(Calif. 91607)

The also start from offsets, stolen or rhizomes. Fertile seeds as well. Some tropical species may start in water, but I don't know about the desert species, a few may grow in jungles, and others along a stream. Others like a crack in the rocks to call home. I don't believe there is just a simple answear. Norma

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 3:03AM
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Most of my plants I start from offsets, or leaf cuttings just because it is faster, at the Huntington we start them any way I can. Mostly leaf cuttings because we need 100 plants at a time and that is the fastest way to get them unless they are variegated then it is always by offsets. Seed, we are never sure of what we are going to get and it is very slow and we can't collect 100 seed at a time, and they must be planted within 2-3 weeks of harvest. The only species that I find slow from leaf sections of 6-8" are the cylindrica/thick forms which do take up to a year to start. I also have never started a leaf in water of any kind of plant except African violets. Norma

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 2:39PM
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When you talk about about leaf cuttings, does one leaf create only one new plant or does it sometimes create multiple plants? And if you grow under fluorescent lights, can you start new plants at any t ime of the year?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 2:09PM
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dufflebag2002(Calif. 91607)

I personally never have used lights on my plants, just natural stuff. It is said that you can start them any time if you have the heat and the light. I take one leaf and cut it into 6-8" sections, and the bottom cut always down. I mark them with an arrow to be sure. It is also said that they will start from either end, I don't have the guts to try it. Yes they can start multiple plants, my S. fisherii started several, when I took those offseets off, guess what? they produced even more. Remeber the leaves change as they grow, the next 2 leaves will be different, and then the new 3-4th leaf will be different again, and so on until it reaches maturity. I have even split a wide leaf (S.kirkii up the middle) so now my three cut have become six. This is the way I propagate, lets hear from the rest of you, please tell us how you do it. When it is introduced in the ISI offerings in the CSSA Journal March/April issue we usually know what species the plant is, however a mistake was made about two years ago, and it was corrected, I knew what the plant name was, but I wasn't asked. S. ehrenbergii was actually S. rorida a much rarer plant.
I have never started leaf cuts in water, I am trying it for the first time this year. I don't expect it to work for me however. Norma

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 3:18AM
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Hey Norma. I took some leaf cuttings early this fall. They were from "Jade Dwarf Marginated", two kirkii types, and another I am not positive about, possibly S. patens. Not the best time of year to do it, but they are in a room, under fluorescent shop lights, kept near 80F, and they rooted quickly and I am starting to get pups of "jade dwarf". I wish I had a greenhouse, but I do not at this time in my life, and it is cold in New Jersey. However, in the little room under lights, the cuttings can "think" it is summer and grow well!!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 7:57AM
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Norma  thanks very much for the offer. I've never rooted sans leaves but since summer is a few months away and I have no shortage of leaves on my trifasciatas, now would be a good time to practice.
Woodnative  any details would be appreciated on your method of rooting. How many tubes, how far are the lights above the top of the leaves, how many hours per day are the lights on. Do you provide bottom heating or just use the warmth of the ballast from the lights on the next shelf down?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 2:29PM
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