Leaf cuttings 5
It is possible to use the leaves of plants to produce further plants, taking advantage of some plants’ ability to produce roots from leaf stems and veins.

This is an easy way to increase your stock of houseplants. This method works with a narrower range of plants than taking softwood cuttings. Suitable plants include African violets (Saintpaulia), peperomia and begonia. It also works for some succulents like sansevieria and crassula. The best time to do this task is late spring and early summer, though it can also be done later in the growing season too. There are different ways to strike cuttings from leaves but we will look at whole leaf cuttings here.

  • Sense of wonder and awe that a plant can be grown from a leaf
  • A light task with no heavy work involved
  • Easy and quick to do
  • Produces lots of plants cheaply
  • Develops fine motor skills and coordination
  • Can progress to greater difficulty if desired
  • Experiment with different plant leaves to see which is most successful
  • Get them to prepare the compost mix, mixing the components together
  • Encourage some internet research into different plants and the science behind why this works
  • Gather everything you will need together before you start
  • Start by taking whole leaf cuttings, rather than having to cut the leaf
  • Use ready mixed cuttings compost to save mixing your own and having to handle heavy materials
  • Young and healthy plants suitable for taking leaf cuttings
  • Potting tidy or tray
  • A specialist cuttings compost, or a good multi-purpose compost
  • Perlite or sharp sand for drainage
  • Pots, seed trays or another container with drainage holes.
  • Cutting-board and knife
  • Dibber (makes holes in the compost)
  • Labels
  • Plastic bag
Leaf cuttings 3
  1. Mix the compost and perlite (or sharp sand) together in roughly 50/50 proportions. Perlite is probably better for this task if you can get it
  2. Fill the pots or seed trays with the compost mix and gently knock the pot on the table top to consolidate the filling
  3. Select and cut whole leaves from your stock plant. Leaves should be young, fully grown and healthy. Make sure there is a section of leaf stem as well
  4. Take the dibber and use it to make a hole in the compost.
  5. Insert the leaf stalk into the hole and hold so that the leaf itself is just touching the surface of the compost
  6. Gently firm the compost around the base of the leaf stem
  7. Water thoroughly
  8. Place in a light and warm area, but not in direct sunlight. Leaf cuttings need to be quite warm to be successful (18-24 °C), so it might be necessary to put a plastic bag over your cuttings to maintain this temperature. This will also help to maintain a high humidity
  9. Plantlets should develop at the base of the leaf stem in time. As with all cuttings there is a balance between maintaining moisture and heat levels sufficient to allow growth to take place, while ensuring that mould and rot do not develop
Leaf cuttings 2

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Chris M and Rebecca H pulling trolley