22 May: Streptocarpus leaf cuttings
Old streptocarpus plants begin to lose their flowering potential. Fortunately they’re easy to propagate by taking leaf cuttings; this should be done in spring or early summer
How to do it…
Place the leaf on a flat surface and cut along each side of the midrib using a sharp knife. Discard the midrib. Fill a tray with cuttings compost, water and allow to drain. Now make two long shallow furrows to accommodate the length of each half leaf. Insert the leaves cut edge downwards into the furrows, then draw the compost in, firming lightly to settle them.
Alternatively, cut the leaf across, from edge to edge, about 5cm/2in below the tip. Repeat this over and over to the bottom of the leaf so it is cut into sections of similar length. Note which way up they are– end closest to leaf tip and end closest to leaf base. Insert them upright, basal end downwards, into small pots of cuttings compost (about three to a pot). Firm in lightly. An easier method if you only need one or two plants, is to cut away a short leaf and insert the whole thing upright into a pot of compost.
Use a compost mix of 50:50 soilless compost and perlite. Water in lightly using a fine rose on the end of your can. Cover with polythene (slip the whole container into a poly bag and knot it loosely). Place somewhere warm and out of direct sunlight until rooted. This takes around 3 months, so don’t lose patience. Pot up once established.
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