S.’Celebration (left) & S. ‘Kate’ (right)
Last summer I was introduced to the Streptocarpus…actually 4 Streptocarpus. (I also had S. ‘Falling Stars’ & S. ‘Hope’)
They are described as …’popular, relatively inexpensive, moderately easy-to-grow houseplants’… by the RHS, so who was I to doubt them?
A client & I decided to buy different types & have a go at different methods of propagation as well as test how easy they were to keep.
I went for the leaf cuttings method (Method 2 on the link above) & my client (who we will call Elizabeth for the purpose of this exercise…and the fact that that’s her real name, tried the ‘whole leaf’ method, Method 2 on the link).
Here’s how I did it…
Step 1. Get a plant (round my way small plants are about £5 & £9 for a large one)
Step 2. Cut off a decent, healthy looking leaf or 2 (or 3 but don’t get too carried away)
Step 3. Cut leaf in inch long portions
4. Insert leaf, using a spoon to create a leaf-shaped hole, into the soil, I used houseplant soil & Perlite (50/50 mix).
Step 4 (additional info). For goodness sake, plant the leaf up the right way, the bottom goes in the soil.
Step 5. Spritz or gently water, cover & leave somewhere bright but not in direct sunlight. (Mine just sat in the greenhouse all summer, but you don’t need a greenhouse…I’m just banned from window sill progation )
Now…based on the fact that the ‘doom monster’ at my local garden centre said our success rate would be 50 / 50, I took LOTS of cuttings.
Elizabeth took 2 whole leaf cuttings.
When I said LOTS, I mean about 8 of each variety, this was in July / Aug of last year. Since then, despite my attention to feeding / watering / light conditions & bedtime story telling, 1 of my original parent plants died…sniff!
Cease your sobbing….
… fast forward to October et voila!
Baby Streptos everywhere.
Step 6. Pot up your babies in to individual small pots, I used a spoon to carefully remove each original leaflet with its baby attachments.
Here we are today, they are now sitting in the cold conservatory so I can keep my eye on them.
EVERY leaf, not 50% as the Garden Centre Gloom Ogre predicted, rooted.
Alas Elizabeth’s whole leaves just wilted & died and so did the parent plant. Although this method was supposed to be quicker, it would have only produced 1 plant per leaf, whereas the slicing method produced 3-4 plants per leaf.
So the challenge ahead is to keep my offspring alive & to get them to flower. The challenge after that will be finding homes for them.
Not sure where we went wrong with the parent plants that we lost. All symptoms point to over watering, so we’ll keep an eye on that going forward.
I’d definitely recommend giving this a go, propagating is HUGELY rewarding & dead easy & the flowers are quite beautiful.