Q&A – Why are these babies growing ON the leaf?


Janice H. asks Annie:

Q  I put down a leaf of Lacey’s Determination on 21 July 2017.  It has finally sprouted babies this March.  But the babies are not in the usual place.  They have emerged on the leaf and the leaf stem.  I have never had this happen to me before.

Question #1:  Should I keep them like this or place the leaf flat on the soil?

Question #2:  How do I remove the plantlets when they are large enough to be removed from the mother leaf?


Plantlets growing from the leaf and stem

A  Janice, thanks for your question about the babies on your leaf of Lacey’s Determination.  This was a new one on me, so I checked in with both Joyce Stork and Dr. Jeff Smith.

Here’s what Joyce said: “This probably happened because of a small crack or injury to the leaf at that location. Once the plantlets are big enough that she is comfortable handling them, they may be “popped” off, much like a sucker. They will root quickly in moist potting mix under cover of a dome or in a clear plastic bag. I’d do it sooner (in a month or so) rather than waiting months for them to grow. Little plants are durable and these will be easy to handle without bruising them.”

Dr. Jeff agrees.  He said:  “I’ve seen babies start on all kinds of strange places on a leaf.  If you can get them to a decent size they can be removed and rooted like a sucker.  They rarely form roots when they grow in these positions, but they can be rooted like you’d do with a sucker.  Sometimes they can’t get enough water to survive so getting them large enough to move off can be a challenge.  They don’t actually have to be very large to move successfully.  I wouldn’t wait until they reach thumb sized.  I’d try a little earlier.”

I hope this helps!


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