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Leaf Cuttings Are an Easy Way to Multiply Your Plants

January 08, 2000|From ASSOCIATED PRESS

Some plants can be multiplied merely by poking one of their leaves into some soil. To make new plants, these so-called leaf cuttings must grow both roots and shoots.

A jade leaf readily grows roots if its bottom end is put in soil that is occasionally moistened. Sometimes such cuttings just sit, making new roots but no shoots. Taking along a bit of old stem along with the leaf cutting ensures new shoots appear.

African violets and rex begonias both multiply readily from leaf cuttings. Use whole or even parts of leaves to propagate either of these plants.

Because a detached begonia or African violet leaf wilts quickly, always have your pot of soil ready before you take the cutting. And rather than using real soil, root the cuttings in some mix that is sterile, porous and moisture holding. Pure sand, perlite or a 1-to-1 mix of either of these with moist peat moss is ideal.

All sorts of leaf cuttings can be used to multiply African violets and begonias. Cut off an African violet leaf with its stalk. Slide the stalk into the rooting mix and a new plant will form at the base of the stalk.

Or cut off the far half of an African violet or begonia leaf, stick the cut end of the detached half in the mix, and many new plants will form along the cut edge.

Or lightly score a leaf across its veins on its underside, then lay it flat on the rooting mix. Lay a few pebbles on the leaf to keep it pressed against the mix, and a new plant will grow at each cut.

Or cut a single leaf into small triangular pieces, each with a large vein. Insert the triangles partway into the soil in an upright position, and each will develop new shoots.

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