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I wanted to do 20 house plants you can propagate from leaves, but I couldn’t think of 20. Here’s 14.
I know I wang on about this a lot, but there’s a difference between being able to root a leaf and propagate a leaf.
You can convince most house plants to grow leaves from their petioles (the bit that attaches the leaf to the stem), but only certain species will be able to grow a whole new plant from a leaf.
There are several plants out that people think can be growth from leaves but can’t Ivy is a common one – you need a stem cutting to propagate Ivy, whether it’s Swedish or English.
Aloe is another. You can’t propagate Aloe vera from a leaf cutting. Aloe is a succulent, but succulent isn’t a genus – it’s just a way of describing a plant with certain properties. Aloe is it’s own genus, and as far as I’m aware, none of them can be propagated with leaf cuttings.
1 – ZZ plant
My favourite way of propagating ZZ plants is by division. If you treat them well they’ll grow new fronds on separate stems and you can just take the plant out of the pot and gently, er, rip the stems apart. They tend to form clumps with a few fronds on them, so you don’t have one sad frond in a pot.
2 – Begonia rex
Begonia rex (also called cane begonias) can be propagated from leaves, specifically the leaf vein. A lot of people swear by cutting them in half and sticking them in soil. Again, this is totally possible, but since cane begonias are so good at stem propagating, I wouldn’t bother with leaf propagation unless I only had a leaf.
3 – Peperomia
For some reason, I love to propagate peperomias from leaves. I see a lot of people cutting the leaves in half and sticking them, cut side down, in potting mix, but I like to just leave the intact leaves on top of the soil and wait for them root that way.
One of the reasons I think Peperomia Hope is such a good plant for beginners is that if you experience a bit of the ol’ leaf drop, you can easily propagate the leaves by lying them on the soil next to your main plant. Over time you’ll end up with a really bushy plant!
4 – Echeveria
Ok, cards on the table. I’ve never actually owned an echeveria. I don’t think. They look like this:
You can propagate them from the leaves by laying them out on barely damp soil like this:
Like a lot of leaf propagations, a tiny baby will form at the cut end of the leaf, and slowly feed of the original leaf until it dies and drops off.
5 – Sansevieria
Does it count as leaf propagation if the leaf is the whole plant? I have a whole article on propping Sansevieria from leaves here. It’s fine, but it’s slow. I prefer to treat my snake plants well (lots of light, warmth, and water them when they’re dry) and they produce little pups instead. It’s just less hassle and probably faster.
6 – Crassula
See echeveria. Another one that can sort of ‘self seed’ when the leaves drop into the soil.
7 – Fiddle Leaf Fig
Possible, but takes freaking AGES. Taking a stem cutting is much, much easier. They’re pretty cheap nowadays, so you’re probs better off buying a whole one rather than getting a leaf from a friend.
This is a stem cutting, not a leaf cutting, because leaf cuttings take too long and often refuse to root. Don’t do it.
8 – Ficus Elastica
See Fiddle leaf fig, but more so. I got my Tineke for £2.99. Definitely preferable to waiting six months for a leaf to produce a single root.
9 – African Violet
You can either lay these on the soil or prop them in water like this:
10 – Cactus
There are dozens of different types of cactus, so I don’t want to give broad advice. They do propagate from leaves but they’re basically all leaf!
Again, I usually just wait for mine to produce pups because I’m lazy.
11 – Kalanchoe
It’s stopping these bad boys from propagating that’s the difficult part. They’re called Mother of Thousands for a reason.
12 – Sedum
There are about 400 different species of Sedum, so research yours first. I don’t think they all can be propagated from leaves, but if you have plenty to spare, give it a go.
13 – Christmas Cactus
Just stick each one of the little sections in some soil and wait for it to root! Warmth and high humidity can speed up the process, unlike ‘proper’ cacti.
14 – Haworthia
Another succulent. I’ve never *tried* to propagate these, but they pup like crazy, so…I just leave them to pup.