Propagation by Aerial Rhizomes

If you’ve grown some rhizomatous gesneriads, such as the Gloxinia lindeniana shown at left, you may have noticed long ‘stringy’ things growing out from the plant.

Don’t worry, these are aerial rhizomes–simply put, rhizomes growing above ground!  Notice the larger rhizomes attached (the pink ‘blobs’), as well as the tiny plantlet produced at the ends.  That’s the great thing about gesneriads–they find so many ways to reproduce themselves!

Here’s what you can do, if you’d like more plants.  Remove the rhizomes from the plant.  These are shown at right.

Fill a small pot (one at right is 2 1/4″) with a light, porous, soil, like that you use for your other violets and gesneriads.  Our’s is premoistened (not soggy).  We’ve made a small hole in the center with our finger.  We’ll pot the plantlet here.

Wind the aerial rhizome around a finger as seen at far left.  Then place in the hole, plantlet-side up.

We like to use tweezers to do this–much smaller than our fingers, and we can get the plantlet into the hole without disturbing the soil and making a mess.

After you’ve got the plantlet potted, water it lightly (moist, not soggy!).  We use a baster for this, great for small watering jobs.  Remember to properly label (and date) the plant.

In a month or two, the plant will have grown to something like the one shown at far right.  In another couple of months, it will be mature and in bloom.

What to do with the extra rhizomes?  You can store them!  Place in a small baggie with some slightly moist soil and place the bag in a low to moderate light location.  When it begins to sprout in the bag, you can pot it up!

 

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