Babies update

The dream?

The dream is to have THIS all over my house….for precisely ZERO quid.

Back in the beginning of June I did a post on taking leaf cuttings from my most favourite star-like white and blue streptocarpus plant.   You can find the whole post here, but here’s a quick recap:

Now, a few months later…..,

and the babies are forming well, and I could have left them happily growing there for a bit longer but today I peered at the soil and saw several fungus gnat larvae squiggling about.  They’re basically harmless, but in numbers, they eat fine roots.  They are there because I overwatered the cuttings before I went on holiday.  Fungus gnat larvae can’t get a foothold if you let the compost dry out completely between waterings.

I don’t dig wiggly things inside my house, so it’s time to pot up the babies.

To do this I use a two-thirds/one third mixture of seed compost and vermiculite or pearlite.  I then tease the cutting very gently apart.  It feels a bit brutal, because you have to tug a bit, and it feels like you’ve broken the leaf, but don’t worry, as long as the little baby comes away with some roots, then it’ll be okay.

The most important bit is to keep everything scrupulously clean, fill some small pots with the compost mixture and then carefully bury the roots in it, so that the little baby is put to bed at EXACTLY the same level that it was when it was attached to it’s mummy.  This will seem really shallow, but as long as you firmly and gently bury the roots, making sure there are no air pockets around them, the new leaf will stand up on its own.

Put all your babies in a tray of water and wait until you can see that the compost in your pots has turned dark with moisture.  I don’t water from the top – the babes are too delicate.  If I had a greenhouse these would go straight in there….but I don’t so they go inside my kitchen window.

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