Monday, May 20, 2024

Streptocarpus: Propagation by leaf

Propagation of streptocarpus is actually very easy, in fact, in many ways easier than African violets and many other houseplants.  They propagate fairly quickly and prolifically.  Though they can be propagated from cuttings in a number of ways, this is how we do it.  Follow these simple, step by step instructions, and you should have no problems getting more plants of your favorite varieties

Step 1:  Cut off a section of a leaf.  Using scissors, cut off a section of a healthy leaf.  It’s best to use a leaf that’s mature, but not too old.  Leaves that show a lot of veining are best (you’ll see why later).  We cut about a 2″ section, since this size will fit nicely into the 2 1/4″ square pots we use (but any length will do).  By the way, streptocarpus don’t mind having their leaves trimmed!  If one is too long or is damaged, simply trim it to the desired shape and size!

Step 2:  Remove the midrib from the leaf.  Using a sharp knife or razor, remove and discard the center vein, or midrib, from the leaf section.  If the leaf is very large, you may even trim-away some of the outer edges to make it smaller (we didn’t do this here).

Streptocarpus

Step 3:  Make a “slot” in the rooting medium.  Make a slot or “furrow” in the rooting medium, into which the leaf section can be placed.  We like to use an old ruler to do this.  Be sure that your rooting mix is very light and porous.  Ours is 1 part Pro-mix BX (a peat and perlite mix), and 3 parts coarse vermiculite.  Use a rooting mix at least as light as this.  The mix should be moist, but not soggy.

Streptocarpus

Step 4:  Firmly place leaf section into rooting mix.  Place leaf section, “like a slice of bread into a toaster” into rooting mix.  Place about 1/4″ deep, and firm-in the soil around the leaf edge.  We’ll put another leaf section into this pot, as can be seen in the next photo.  Be sure to label the pot with the name of variety being propagated.

Streptocarpus

Step 5:  Development of plantlets from leaf cutting.  This photo shows plantlet development at 10 weeks after rooting.  Note that numerous plantlets develop along the bottom edge of the leaf section.  More densely veined leaves usually will produce more plantlets along the edge.  Not that each single leaf is actually a separate plant (don’t look for “pairs” of leaves).  These leaves could actually be separated and planted now in individual pots, but we like to wait until the leaf produces the maximum number of plantlets possible, usually after about 4 months.

Streptocarpus

Step 6:  Separate plantlet from “mother” leaf.  When plantlets are large enough that you’re comfortable handling them, they can be removed from the original leaf section.  Gently pull on each individual leaf appearing from the base of rooted leaf section.  In a light rooting mix, they should easily separated.  Don’t worry if the plantlet has only a few, thin roots–it’ll soon produce more.  Remember, that individual leaf shown is really an individual plant (or will develop into one).  You needn’t have multiple leaves at this point.

Streptocarpus

Step 7:  Potting individual plantlets.  Make a small hole in your regular soil mix (again, a light, soilless mix is recommended).  We like to use an old pencil to do this.  Push the plantlet down into this hole, so that about 1/3 of the plantlet is beneath the soil surface.  Firm the soil around the plantlet.  Lightly water the soil (again, moist but not soggy).  If the plantlet has few roots or otherwise seems quite fragile, you might want to put it into a clear, covered container or plastic baggie for the first few weeks.  it should be well-established within a month, at which point growth will become quite rapid.

Streptocarpus

Step 8:  The finished product!  You’ve not got more of your favorite streps…if only you had the room to grow them all!

10 COMMENTS

  • Julia Van BuskirkMarch 8, 2020 9:38 amOnce the leaf cutting is in the medium, do you cover it or put it in a container? How often do you water it while waiting for babies?Reply
    • Violet BarnMarch 10, 2020 3:47 pmWe like to cover ours. Once the soil is moist, it won’t need watering again if covered.
  • Roxanne GawthropJuly 30, 2019 7:34 amAbout leaf propagation, a couple questions. To remove the midvein from a leaf cutting, you simply cut clear through the leaf on either side of the vein? And then you will have two leaf portions to insert, cut-side down, into the medium?Reply
  • Patrice HarrisFebruary 19, 2019 2:26 pmI have many Streptocarpus plants I purchased from you. I have noticed on some of the plants there is this white “powderly” stuff on the leaves. I have moved the plants to isolate them. Now what do I do??Reply
    • Violet BarnFebruary 26, 2019 11:20 amThis is very likely powdery mildew, very common this time of year and not fatal. Search this term from our homepage for more info.
  • marilyn needhamMay 28, 2018 1:01 pmHi, I have saved all the seed heads when the flowers have died, would they be easy to grow? Cheers and thankyou, Marilyn.Reply
    • Violet BarnMay 30, 2018 8:31 amYes. Sow on the surface of moist (not soggy), fine, potting mix. Place in sealed container or baggie in moderate light. Seeds should germinate in about two weeks.
  • PamelaApril 25, 2018 9:34 pmMy husband bought me one back around 2 months ago and that plant has bloomed nonstop. So now I’m wanting more of them and I feel confident that your plants are the best to purchase from.Reply
  • Dan from MNOctober 29, 2016 3:02 pmI am new to streptocarpus so I ordered the 10 sellers choice option. Not only good price but the selection was outstanding. The range of colors was awesome. They came in great condition (as always). None were in bloom when they arrived but within a month most were blooming. Ma and sixth scents outpaced the rest and by two months each of these had about a dozen flowers (that is not to complain about the rest which I have been enjoying)
    Great choices Rob. The only problem is I wont be ordering for a while because I now have so many beautiful streps I don’t know what to do with them all.

2 thoughts on “Streptocarpus: Propagation by leaf

  1. I am trying to propagate my first strep leave following all your instructions. So far it is going well. Leaves are still green and look like they are doing well. It has been 5 weeks and not seeing anything yet. I am not a patient person. My question is I accidentally broke off a strep leaf and didn’t want to propagate anymore just yet. So, I stuck the leaf in a glass of water with plastic wrap on top in a hole I made. That was 15 days ago and the strep leaf has two roots about 1-2 in. long. When should I pot this leave?

    1. You likely just need to wait. Fresher/younger leaves will sprout earlier than older, less supple ones. The old, outer leaves will be the slowest to root and produce fewer plantlets. You can put your “water leaf” into soil at any time

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