Hostas are one of those plants that are quite easy to propagate. There are several ways to do this, but today we will look at one of the most interesting.
You can propagate a hosta with leaf cuttings. Simply tear off the leaf and its petiole and place it in a moist substrate. In a week or two you will see the first roots.
This is a simplified description of rooting hosta leaves. In the following, you will learn more about this type of propagation and what you need to avoid in order to succeed.
When to take cuttings?
The best time to take hosta cuttings is early summer. This is when the leaf petioles are already mature and able to give roots. In addition, there is enough time before the end of the season to form a plant that can survive the winter.
It is best to have a cloudy and humid day. At this time the hosta has the most water in its tissues and is able to go longer without roots.
If the weather is dry, water the hosta 1 day before taking cuttings. Morning is the best time of day to take cuttings.
Avoid taking cuttings in the middle of summer, especially if the weather is too hot. Otherwise, they may not survive.
Also, don’t take cuttings from a hosta at the end of the season. Even if roots appear on the cuttings, it is unlikely that such a hosta will survive the winter.
How do you take a cutting from a hosta?
To get a guaranteed result, you have to tear off the leaf along with the petiole and a piece of the crown. In other words, the petiole must be torn off so that there is white tissue at its base. This is where the roots will come from.
If you cut off the leaf with the petiole above the ground it will be harder to root. The green tissue of the leaf petiole is very hard to root from.
It is best to tear off the leaf petiole by holding onto its base. You can twist it a bit to make it easier to pull out of the rhizome. As a result, the bottom of the cutting should be white and round while the top is green and angular.
Another way to take cuttings is to cut them from the rhizome. Take a narrow knife and, holding the leaf petiole, cut it from the rhizome. As you do so, take some of the white tissue from the crown. As a result, the bottom of the cuttings should resemble a sharpened pencil.
How to propagate?
Once you have taken the cuttings you need to prepare the soil and pots.
It is best to use sterile potting soil for rooting. You can buy it at any hardware store. It is usually designed for houseplants which means it is pest and disease free.
Regular garden soil is not very suitable for our purpose because it is poorly drained. In addition, it can be full of pathogens. All this together can lead to the rotting of the cuttings.
As for pots, use a separate container for each cutting. The size of the pot should be at least 6-8 inches wide and deep, but it is better if it fits the size of the cuttings. Make sure that the pot has drainage holes in the bottom.
Fill the pot with soil and plunge the cutting to a depth of 2 inches. Next, stick a thin stick next to it and attach the cutting to it. This is to secure the cutting in the pot.
Avoid putting the cuttings too deeply into the soil. Otherwise, they may begin to rot above where the roots come from.
Water the soil in the pots well. Next, place the pots in a greenhouse or in full shade. The place where the hosta will be rooted should be humid.
How to take care of hosta cuttings?
An important condition for successful rooting of hosta cuttings is the absence of direct sunlight and high air humidity. If direct sunlight hits the leaves of the cuttings, they will die.
As for air humidity, it’s better to keep it at 50-60%. This can be achieved by placing the cuttings in a greenhouse or by installing a transparent plastic dome over them.
In about two to three weeks the first roots should appear. A sign that the hosta has put down roots is the green leaves.
If the leaves have turned yellow, the rooting has failed. This is likely to happen to some of the cuttings and they should be discarded.
Water the cuttings continuously. The soil in the pot should not be more than half an inch tall.
After a month, water the cuttings with liquid fertilizer. This will give a boost for further development. Do not remove the cuttings from the soil and do not transplant them until the end of summer.
In late August or early September, gently pull the cuttings from the pots and plant them in the garden. Try not to damage the root system.
Immediately place shade over the young plants. They should not get direct sun in their first year of life.
You can also leave the plants in their pots for the winter. Simply move them to a sheltered place and leave them there until spring. Next spring, plant them permanently.
Will hosta leaves root in water?
The hosta will take root in water. To do this, you need to take cuttings as described above. Next, prepare a tall glass or cut off the top of a plastic bottle.
Fill the glass with 2 inches of water. Place the cutting there and move it into the full shade.
Change the water in the beaker every 3-4 days or more often. The water is fast enough to cause mold to form on the cuttings. To avoid this, keep the water fresh at all times.
In a few weeks, the first roots will form. Wait for the roots to grow a little. Then transplant the hosta into a pot and water it with liquid fertilizer.
Further care of the hosta cuttings is described in the previous chapter.