Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lily Leaf Cuttings

The idea of starting lilies from leaf cuttings is an odd one but not impossible. I gave this a first try last summer after reading an article on how the Easter lily (lilium longiflorum) could be propagated by leaf cuttings. To me it made some sense when you look at some of the species lilies. There are a few species lilies that produce bulblets along the stem in the leaf axles. There in that spot as the stem is growing there is a lot of cells multiplying rapidly. So why not give it a try and use what naturally happens in the plant to try and make more lilies. A little bit of help and timing maybe the trick to making it work.

What you need to try this is:

- resealable bags
- damp per lite or peat moss
- rooting hormone

When to do this seems to be the key trick to it all. The best time to try it is when the stems are actively growing and getting close to showing the first signs of the flower buds. This is when the cells of the plant are multiplying the fastest and can be easier to coax into forming new lily bulbs.

Make sure you remove the leaf close to the stem. Clean it from and dust or soil that may be on it. Dip about 1/4 of an inch of the base of the leaf, the closest part to the stem, into the rooting hormone. Next place the cuttings into the bag sticking the end with the rooting hormone into the damp per lite or peat moss. Then move it to a warm and well lit spot. Check it on regular basis so that the leaf and medium never fully dry out. in about 6 to 10 weeks you should start to see small bumps or small bulbs starting to form. Once the bulb has gotten to a good size you will see a root or two start to form and grow. Any time after the roots start to show you can then move it into a potting soil and grow on before moving it into the garden.

So far I have only had luck with the L.A. hybrid lilies. Last season the Asiatic and Martagon lilies were to far along in the season for this to work. It would be interesting to know what other lily varieties and species this will work for and how quickly it will produce bulbs.

This year I will be trying this on Martagon lilies and Asiatic lilies as well as a few other species that I have collected.

I would also like to know if any one else has tried this and what kind of luck they have had?


maria said...

yes, I have tried this too! thanks for your advice! I just took a leaf that naturally fell off, a young tender leaf, very green, that naturally had a bulb at its base. Thanks for this article! good luck.

NakhodaTenggang said...

I'm trying to root out some asiatic lilies according to your *recipe*. Will report in a month's time :)

NakhodaTenggang said...

fantastic! it worked. got several wee bulblets that I can now propagate! Looking forward to see them bloom in a couple of years

Bill Bauer Savage, MN said...

This winter, 2011-2012, I read a similar article and tried it on some bulbs that had been retrieved from a dumpster in November. I tried Perlite and two different grades of Vermiculite. The large particle Perlite and the coarse Vermiculite did not work. They dried out too easily. The fine particle Vermiculite worked very well on one variety that naturally produced bulbils. It did not work on another variety that did not produce bulbils. I also tried an experiment after the plants had bloomed. It worked on the bulbil producer leaf but the bulblets were extremely small after a month. About a quarter the size of those grown before the plant bloomed.