This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol1", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
Many plants may be raised simply from leaves. The well-known Begonia Gloire de Lorraine and its relatives are largely raised in this way as well as from stem cuttings. Single leaves with stalk are inserted in sandy soil, several in a pot or pan. When placed in heat they soon root and develop young plants from the top of the leaf stalk, as shown in the sketch (fig. 64). Achimenes are also raised extensively in this way (fig. 65), as are also Gloxinias, foliage and other Begonias, Echeverias, Kleinias, Cras-sulas, Pachyphytons, etc. In the case of Gloxinias and foliage Begonias the leaves are laid flat on the soil, and have slits made across the midrib and main veins with a sharp knife. They are kept in position by small stones or pieces of broken pot, and kept moist and warm, and soon develop little plants from the slits. In the case of the Indiarubber plant (Ficus elastica), while the single leaves will develop roots, as shown in the sketch (fig. 66), and remain fresh for many months, they seem to be incapable of developing plants.
Fig. 64. - Leaf Cutting of Begonia Gloire de Lorraine A shows old leaf from base of which new plant is arising.
Fig. 65. - Leaf Cutting of Achi-menes showing development of Catkin-like Rhizomes and young Leaf.
Fig. 66. - Leaf of India-rubber Plant (Ficus elastica) Rooting.
Fig. 67. - Offsets from a Stonecrop (Sedum dasyphyllum).
1, Entire plant, nat. size. 2, 3, 4, Offsets at different levels on the stem in the axils of the leaves. 5, Offsets from floral region.
The thick scaly leaves from the bulbs of many Liliums, if inserted in sandy soil, will produce little bulbs at the base, and these in the course of two, three, or four years will attain the flowering stage. Echeverias are readily propagated in the same way, the detached matured leaves giving rise to plants in due course. Many other fleshy plants may be increased from their leaves, as shown in the annexed cut of Sedum dasyphyllv/m (fig. 67).
Some Orchids (e.g. Thunia Marshalliana) may be raised from stem cuttings, as shown in the annexed drawing (fig. 68). The stems of Ficus elastica, cut up into pieces each containing one leaf and an eye, root readily in a temperature of 75° to 80° F. Dracaena stems cut up in the same way but without leaves, also root freely, and produce plants when buried about 1 in. deep in a hotbed of coconut fibre. The tops of Crotons, Dracaenas, Araucarias, Aralia Sieboldi, and others also root when inserted in a similar hotbed.