Leaf bud cuttings are a form of stem cutting. They are comprised of a leaf, a bud in its leaf axil, and a very short piece of stem.
Leaf bud cuttings can be taken from any type of stem (soft wood, green wood, semi-ripe wood, hardwood or evergreen).
The leaf provides food to support the cutting whilst it establishes roots, the bud provides the starting point of the new stem system and the lower piece of stem is where the first roots form.
For leaf bud cuttings, select a new stem with an undamaged leaf that is fully expanded and mature. If the leaf is immature, the cutting will complete leaf growth before it starts producing roots, and this increases the chances of peripheral problems, such as rotting. Also ensure there is a viable bud in the axil (for example, some plants don’t have a bud in every axil).
Make the cuttings with a knife or secateurs, depending on the size and hardness of the stem. Cut close above the bud as this minimises the chance of rotting and die-back, which might endanger the bud.
Make the basal cut about 1 – 1.5 in below the top cut so that sufficient stem is available to anchor the cutting firmly in the growing media. This is especially important with plants that have big leaves and are liable to rot.
Cuttings with very big leaves are also difficult to space in the growing medium. You can reduce the leaf size by trimming away some of the leaf or by rolling it and placing a rubber band around it so that it takes up less room.
Dip the basal end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder.
In a pot filled with cuttings compost make a hole with a dibber. Plant the cutting with it;s bud about level with the compost surface. Firm to prevent rocking. Label and water in. Hardy cuttings can be placed in a cold frame, while less hardy cuttings can be placed in a more protected, well-lit environment such as a misting unit.
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