Take leaf petiole cuttings successfully

There are some plants that can be propagated by leaf cuttings, Saintpaulia (African violet) is one that is fun to propagate by this method. This method is called leaf petiole cuttings.
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1. Saintpaulia (African violet)

After your houseplant has bloomed, you can deadhead and collect a few leaves from it to propagate. Put the houseplant back into its position and wait or it to flower again. The leaves you have taken can now be propagated.

2. What do you need?

- Saintpaulia (African violet) - Chopping board (used in your potting shed only) - Pan pot or a shallow pot - Propagation compost 50/50 mix (see next step) - Propagation knife (see below) - Dibber - Pencil - Plant label - Watering tray

3. The propagation mix

This is a 50/50 mix of peat (peat substitute) and perlite

4. Propagation knife

A propagation knife is only sharpen on one side to ensure the propagation material has a clean cut. This will also improve success. You can buy a propagation knife online or from any good garden centre. You must be over 18.

5. Fill your pan pot

Select a clean pan pot or a shallow pot.

6. Continue to top up the pot

At this stage check that the compost has evenly filled the pot.

7. Use a presser broad

By using a presser broad to gently compress the compost ensuring the surface is level.

8. Collect the material from the parent plant

When collecting the material from the parent plant it is important to ensure that you cut the leaf as close as possible to the plant base. This ensures that the plant doesn't suffer die back.

9. Just like that

You should not be able to see where you collected the material from.

10. Check the shape and health

Once you have collected enough material check your parent plant. You are looking that it still last a balanced shape, that all damaged leaves and dead flowers are removed. This will ensure that it will continue to thrive.

11. Preparing material

It is important that you use a clean chopping broad to make sharp cuts on the leaf petiole. Torn or squashed petioles will not root. The petiole needs to be 2cm long minimum.

12. Making the cut

The final cut needs to be diagonal this helps when you are inserting them into the compost. You do not need to add rooting hormone to leaf cuttings.

13. A close up

A close up

14. Preparing the pot

To ensure that you do not damage the petiole as you insert the cutting use a dibber to make a hole at a slight angle.

15. Insert your cuttings

Into the prepared hole insert your leaf petiole cutting, following the angle prepared. With Saintpaulia (African violet) the leaf needs to be slightly above the compost. As they are fleshy they are more prone to rotting off.

16. Continue taking leaf cuttings

You can work to fill the pot but ensure that you have gaps, air space between plant material.

17. Correctly label your cuttings

It is important to label your pot fully as you think you will remember what you have planted but you never do. (See our how to write a label)

18. Immediate aftercare

With all cuttings it is best to water from the bottom. This ensures that they are fully watered and that you do not disturb the unrooted cuttings.

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