Scilla madeirensis propagation

Started by Mikent, June 03, 2023, 11:14:03 AM

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I have 2 pots of Scilla madeirensis. As I was moving the pots outside today (frost free date in the area is 5-31), a rogue gust of wind snapped two of the stems off slightly above the bulbs. I now have two foot long(ish) leaves that are in very nice shape (plus a few somewhat more roughly used leaves that I already tossed).

It seems a shame to just toss the two good looking leaves. What would be the method of treatment most likely to result in either bulblets, or rooted leaf segments?


In Finger Lakes region, 6A, where we still haven't had any rain yet (last rain was 15 days ago). Although it looked like pending rain first thing this morning, that resolved into a blustery, but clear, day. Anything right up near the lake is getting a bit drenched due to all the waves crashing ashore, but more than a few feet back, it's still crispy.


I have never heard of propagating bulbs from cuttings; but i suppose it might work.

If you don't already have it, buy a jar {or other container} of Rootone #5; and a bottle of horticultural vitamin B1; and a package of vermiculite. and the smallest available package of polyethylene film.  You will also need a cold temp humidifier pand a cat litter box.

Put the leaves (and stems) on a cutting board and cut them into 2" segments with a flame sterilized knife.

Be sure not to disturb  the orientation during remaining operations

Fill a plastic or ceramic bowel with vermiculite to 1/2" below the rim
Dissolve 1 1/2 tsp B1 in 1 cup of water and slowly wet the vermiculite until the liquid is just below the surface the surface the vermiculite will absorb a lot of liquid so you may need to mix another cup of B1 mixture.

Put a small heap of Rootone in a jar lid or medicine bottle cap.

Dip the bottom of each leaf or stem segment into the Rootone, and plunge it into the damp vermiculite.

Put the cat litter box on a formica or stone countertop or a linoleum or tile floor.
fill the humidifier and place it at one end of the litter box. invert a stack of flower pots or other object(s) that will not be water damaged to a height that when the bowel of vermiculite tests on them, it  will keep the leaf segment tops in the air stream of the humidifier. put a cake cooling rack vertically at each end of the litter box and prop it up with something that will not be water damaged. use the polyethylene film to make a tent over the whole arrangement.

Put a lamp with a growlight bulb near the tent

Plug in the humidifier and pray for success.

If it doesn't root in 20 days, it probably won't.
Marc Rosenblum

Falls City, OR USA

I am in USDA zone 8b where temperatures almost never fall below 15F  -9.4C.  Rainfall 50"+  but none  June-September.  We seldom get snow; but when it comes we get 30" overnight.  soil is sandy loam with a lot of humus.  Oregon- where Dallas is NNW of Phoenix.

David Pilling

Quote from: MarcR on June 04, 2023, 12:30:51 AMI have never heard of propagating bulbs from cuttings; but i suppose it might work.

The PBS wiki, which is only about bulbs, has a page devoted to how to do leaf cuttings. Genera for which this is known to work include Begonia, Eucomis, Hyacinthus, Lachenalia, Muscari and Resnova.

ISTR reading that lilium can also be propagated from leaves, although it seems the bit of the leaf connected to the stem, where bulbils often form.


Thank you David and Marc for the responses.

I will be trying the procedure outlined in your link, David. I've had success with a process close to it previously, but it seemed a bit too much hit or miss. The randomness also could have been due to using homemade rooting compound. I've got a few willows in the yard, so fresh green willow switches are easy to obtain.