Tuesday, February 06, 2007

So That's How They Do It!!!

Or, How to Propagate Strep Leaves the Easy Way.

Take a clean, healthy leaf off a a strep plant. Check for any signs of insects or other problems. Do you notice all the leaf veins on the back of the leaf?

Cut the midrib out of the leaf and toss the midrib away.

Cut the remaining leaf halves into smaller sections of perhaps an inch or two.

Put the CUT, interior edge of your leaf section (where the veins were cut through) into the moist starting mix. Cover the pot with a light-weight plastic bag loosely put over the pot to act as a "greenhouse". Or, put the starter pot in some sort of larger clear container like the type that comes from the deli dept. of the grocery.

Baby streps should start to grow where the cut leaf-veins were inserted into the soil. Note in the picture that the smaller leaves are centered around the main veins of the "mother" leaf where it is buried in the soil.

Streps are easy to propagate by this method but there are a couple of tips to help the novice. Don't make the soil mix soggy. It should be nicely moist. Have some holes punched in your deli container to help with air circulation or if you use the plastic bag method, do not seal the plant into the bag. Remember to check periodically for babies and to see if the soil mix is staying slightly moist.

Next: How to pot up the babies and increase your collection the easy way! Thanks to Sharon Johnson for the wonderful photos!


Carla said...

Do you let the cut side dry out to harden it off?

NSAVC said...

You bring up an excellent question. The answer is... I'm not sure. With an African violet leaf it is helpful to let it "harden off" a bit. This helps reduce the chance of fungal problems and the rotting of the parent leaf before the babies are formed. With a strep leaf, it has been suggested by an expert grower, Dale M., that cutting the leaf under water will keep air out of the veins and improve the propagation's success. To cut the leaf under water you place it in a shallow pan (like a 9x13 cake pan filled with tepid water) and actually perform the cuts "under the water".