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55. Leaf Cuttings, Growing More Plants
We have discussed stem cuttings, how to expand your plant numbers by using stem cuttings but here I would like to talk a little about using leaf cuttings to expand your garden numbers and your varieties. While leaf cuttings require a little extra time in order to establish a root system from a leaf or a portion of a leaf, with a little patience you will be on your way to an entire new plant! This is a great way to start new varieties in your home or in your hobby greenhouse because you can take a leaf from a friendís plant without harming their plant easily. Some gardeners even form groups or clubs to exchange seeds and leafs during spring months so that they can share all types of plants without having an expense involved.
Many house plants will break off when they are being watered, taking this leaf and simply putting it in a jar of water for two or three months will promote roots to grow. This is one of the easiest yet slowest methods for starting a new plant from a leaf.
Another method to start simple roots from a leaf is to use a container fill with water and sand, a thick mixture that makes that plant seek out water so that it will form roots a little faster. While this still may take a few weeks it is a little faster than putting a leaf cutting in just water. Using sand in the water will also allow you to keep the newly formed plant in water until you have the time to transplant it into a new medium for growing a full plant.
When you are taking a leaf cutting from a friends or relatives house, simply wrapping the leaf in a moist paper towel until you get home will keep the cutting ready for planting. As you arrive home you can simply put the leaf, with the paper towel only wrapped loosely around the bottom portion of the cutting and place it in a loose soil and sand mixture. The paper towel will keep the cutting moist to promote the growth of roots, and the paper towel will disengage over a time frame that is slow enough to let the roots grow without being bound. Keeping the new cutting covered with a piece of plastic will up the humidity for the cutting and helps it to thrive into a new plant.
Planting and promoting roots for a leaf cutting using any one of these three methods can also be used for a portion of a leaf. Submerging a portion of the leaf in water while the remainder stays out of water, or submerging a portion of the leaf into the soil while the remainder stays out of the dirt is how you work with portions of leaf cuttings when you were unable to use a full-formed leaf cutting.
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