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