Gardening can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. If you’re ready to take the next step in master gardening, you may want to grow plants from more diverse options, including leaves. Find out how to propagate leaves from plants and what considerations you need to be aware of.
Different plants you can grow from leaves: There is a wide range of plants you can grow from a single leaf, including the snake plant, the jade plant, and begonias. Choose a leaf from a healthy plant, place it in clean potting soil, and keep it misted with water. In just a few weeks you’ll have a baby plant to take care of.
Is it possible to grow plants from leaves?
The process of growing plants from leaves is a little more complicated than simply putting a leaf into the soil. However, if you follow all the correct steps, there are many plants that can start out simply as leaves.
Houseplants are the most common types of plants that do well with leaf propagation. They are more adaptable to indoor conditions and you can have a bit of fun trying to grow new plants to add to your collection.
What plants can you propagate from leaves?
Also known as Sansevieria, and more colloquially, mother-in-law’s tongue, the snake plant is a staple in many households. The plant is easy to care for and can tolerate most environments.
Anyone who forgets about their plants but still expects them to stay alive will appreciate the simplicity of the jade plant. The ornate look of a jade plant can be manicured to look like a mini tree and it has lovely white flowers.
With unique, folded leaves, the peperomia plant adds a wow factor to any room. It is low maintenance and as long as the soil doesn’t remain soggy, it will thrive in most conditions.
This plant is often sold in grocery stores as its purple flowers will cheer anyone up. The plant is compact and will fit any space. Plus, it is easy to care for.
Those that love flowers will appreciate the vibrant blossoms that begonias offer. They are also shade plants, which is a nice option as so many houseplants crave sunshine.
With blooms that last for months, kalanchoe will instantly add life to any room. The tiny bundles of flowers come in a range of colors and you can mix and match them for a vivid display.
Chinse money plant
If only this plant grew real money; however, the large circular leaves only look like coins. This houseplant needs minimal watering and loves bright light.
The rosette pattern of leaves makes this succulent a beautiful sight. It needs lots of sunlight and warmth but does not need a lot of water.
Who didn’t have a grandmother that grew this plant? Famous for flowering in the winter, around Christmas, this indoor plant requires regular watering, indirect sunlight, and a decent amount of humidity.
How do you propagate plants from leaves?
Stems vs leaves
There are many ways to propagate plants, so first a little lesson on these different methods. You can propagate from stem cuttings, in which case you need to cut off more of the plant to do so.
An alternative is when you just use the leaves. This is especially useful if your plant has leaves that grow from a cluster in the soil.
While the simplest way to start with leaf propagation is to use a leaf from a plant you currently own, there are alternatives. You can ask your plant-loving friends or you can purchase leaf cuttings from online sources.
Choose your plant
Above, we listed some of the easiest plants to propagate with leaves. The list is by no means extensive, however, so if you don’t see your dream plant on the list, it doesn’t mean you can’t work with it.
Succulent varieties of plants are easy to propagate, as are other indoor houseplants. You can also ask around as you may be surprised how many of your friends have tried with success to grow new plants just with a few leaves.
Remove the leaves
Be sure to take care at this step as the more care you take, the greater the chance of success. Depending on the structure of the plant, you will need to either cut the leaf at the base of the plant or twist it off.
For example, snake plants have leaves that grow out of the soil, so cutting them is ideal. Other succulents that have a bit of a stem on their leaves can be gently twisted.
If you need to use scissors, be sure they are clean. Dirty scissors can carry bacteria that can infect the plant and the leaves.
Dry the leaves
While you may be excited to move on to the next steps, you will need to pause for a minute. For best results, allow the edges of the leaves to dry out for one to three days. Place the leaf cuttings in a cool, dry area.
Prepare your container
Take a small container and fill it with fresh potting soil. Don’t use potting soil that has been sitting around open for a while as this can invite bacteria.
Now, simply insert your leaf into the soil. You don’t have to bury it fully. Instead, just place it deep enough into the soil so that it can stand vertically on its own.
Even if you are propagating a plant that traditionally does not need a lot of water to grow, you will need to water your leaf cutting. If you don’t it will simply dry up and die.
Try to keep the soil nice and moist but not overly saturated. Misting the soil each day should do the trick.
Another key factor in leaf propagation is the right location. Direct sunlight will trigger the leaf to keep growing.
Just remember that if your leaf cutting is in a very warm location, the soil will dry out faster. It’s best to place the cutting in a room that gets a lot of traffic so you don’t forget about it.
If everything goes according to plan, you should see the signs of new growth in about two to three weeks. This will include tiny roots taking form.
The leaf itself should still be upright and supple. If it looks shriveled up or discolored, then you know the propagation didn’t happen and you should start over again.
Time to plant
Wait until your new leaf creates a baby plant that is at least half an inch tall. Then, gently remove this offshoot from the original container and transfer it to a larger container that has fresh potting mix.
An alternative, especially if you are working with a snake plant, is to simply keep the leaf-cutting in its original container. Just use a larger pot so you don’t have to go through the hassle of repotting.
Things to consider to propagating plants from leaves
First, whatever plant you are starting with, needs to be absolutely healthy. There is no point starting off with a leaf that is from a diseased or weakened plant.
Look for signs of disease such as deformities or discoloration. You should inspect the whole plant to see it if looks weak, especially around the root structure, as this is a sign an infestation has already started.
For the most part, an all-purpose potting soil should be fine for leaf propagation. It will be light so drainage will be optimal.
Most potting soil is a mixture of peat moss, sand, or perlite, which provides support for your new plant but will also allow water to drain properly.
Before you plant your leaf or leaf cutting, moisten the potting soil. Water it and let it drain so it’s not soggy but it’s better to start with moist soil than dry soil.
Be sure to keep this soil moist for the next few weeks. A container with proper drainage holes will help with the process and you can use a mister if you are worried about oversaturating the soil.
Plants have roots for a reason. They take up nutrients and water from the soil to keep the plant alive.
Your leaf cutting, however, won’t have roots which means it can only absorb water from the leaf surface, which is very limiting. To help out your new plant, create a humid environment.
This is best achieved by regularly misting your leaf. You can also place a piece of clear plastic over the container you are using to create a mini greenhouse.
The moisture will be trapped inside the plastic to form condensation. Just be sure fresh air can get in under the plastic wrapping to prevent rotting from happening.
Once you feel confident in your plant-growing capabilities, it’s time to move to the next level. By removing a leaf from your favorite houseplant or succulent, you can easily grow a brand new plant, either for yourself or for a friend.