Monday, February 26, 2024

Reusing leaf cuttings

Question:  Can I reuse a leaf cutting?

Answer:  Sure.  After removing and potting plantlets, the “mother” leaf can be rerooted.  It will still be capable of producing more plantlets, though it may not produce as many the next time around.  Usually, it’s more productive to simply wait until the plantlets grow large enough to have their leaves removed for propagation.  Plus, most of us have too many plants already without finding ways of producing more!  There are times, though, when reusing a leaf might be necessary.  Some varieties, for example, are particularly unstable and tend to produce plantlets that won’t bloom as described.  In this case, it might be better to reuse a leaf that is known to have come from a true-blooming plant, rather than use leaves from plantlets that may not be true (though it’s possible that the mother leaf won’t produce “true” plants the second time around either).

Reusing a leaf might also be desirable when this is the last of a hard to find variety, and can act as insurance, should the plantlets fail to survive.  Should you decide to do this, leave a longer than normal petiole when rooting the leaf the first time.  This will allow you to recut the petiole, at a shorter length, the next time around.  If possible, younger, more supple, leaves are better, since the leaf will tend to become tough and leathery with age, and will produce fewer plantlets as this happens.

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