Tips for Propagating Plants with Leaf Cuttings

African violet flowerMany container garden plants can be propagated with leaf cuttings. Some plants can reproduce with just one leaf, such as African violets. Cut a healthy leaf and a short piece of its stem off the mother plant. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone and place the stem into moist propagation media. Spray the plant leaf frequently and cover the leaf with clear plastic.


In two to three weeks, enough roots will have formed that the cutting can be transplanted into its own plant container and eventually placed in the balcony garden. With leaf cuttings, a new plant grows from the base, and the original leaf can be thrown away.

Shopping List for Leaf Cuttings

  • Root hormone
  • Propagation tray (or any well-draining plastic tray you can cover with clear plastic)
  • Clear plastic, such as saran wrap or a clear plastic lid that comes with a propagation tray
  • A well-draining propagation medium, such as a 50-50 mix of peat and perlite
  • A spray bottle

Tips for Taking Leaf Cuttings

Timing. The best time to take plant leaf cuttings is usually in early summer when the plant is actively growing in your container garden.

Rooting hormone. Some container plants may do better when first dipped in rooting hormone and then planted. Read the instructions of any rooting hormone you purchase.

Humidity. Leaf cuttings need more humidity than the mother plant and should be covered with clear plastic. Misting the cuttings with water will also help.

Provide enough light, but not too much. Plant leaf cuttings will root slowly in low-light conditions, but they will also not do well in full sunlight. Find a nice bright spot indoors where plant cuttings can get bright light but not direct sun. A southern-facing window is a great spot for this.

Warm temperatures. Leaf cuttings do best in temperatures of about 70 to 75 degrees. This is another reason why plant leaf cuttings do better inside near a bright windowsill. Indoor temperatures are less harsh than outside in the balcony garden. You can also place a heating pad set on low underneath the plant propagation tray.

Plants Easily Propagated with Leaf Cuttings

African violet

Additional information