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Cephalotus reproduction myths

Dear all:

I would like to inform you that I have managed to grow a root from an immature cephalotus leaf. The leaf itself is no longer than 1 inch long and 1/16 inch in diameter. 1/8 inch roots are visible. This experiment shows that one can propagate from any type of leaf regardless the age. Also this goes against popular belief that only mature leves can produce new plants. I am also trying to propagate from 1/4 inch pitchers.

I don't know what is going to happen next. Theorically, if the leaf has a root, it is a new plant. How fragile or resistant will be to further environmental challenge is yet to be studied.

That's very interesting, Gus. I hadn't heard that immature ceph leaves wouldn't work for cuttings. One thing i've noticed is how quickly a large plant can be produced from a mature pitcher/leaf cutting. Considering how long my TC ceph has taken to get even moderate-sized pitchers, i was planning on waiting until it was full-grown before taking cuttings.

For example:

When i bought it (~June 2002-in 3" pot) Today (~June 2003- in 4-1/2" pot)
20020629-CP-Cephalotus-3in pot.jpg
20030531-CP-Cephalotus-4.5in. pot.jpg

I'd say that's pretty slow...

In contrast, check out the size of this ceph, which was propagated via mature leaf cutting just a few months prior:

The pitchers are already much bigger than the pitchers on my plant. I would say that is a pretty compelling reason to avoid using immature leaves.
Dear D. muscipula:

Thanks for the info. I learned a new thing today. Your line of reasoning is that if the parent plant is immature, it will take a at least two years before something with a decent size will be in your pot. On the other hand if you take a cutting from a mature plant, you'll have a bigger plant in a shorter period of time.

If we were working with animals instead of plants, i would say that the larger ceph that you have will die faster. Fortunately for us, this plant is a perennial.

It also looks like we are mixing topics of interest here. One thing is just to get a leaf to root and another is to see how big your plant will get based on the starting material.

I do believe that the cutting i've got from the immature leaf will take at least two years to see a nice decent plant from it and you've shown this to be the case. Very interesting indeed.

I also wanted to ask you how do you manage to get those pictures on this site. do you have a website yourself?

Thanks again

What BobZ said.

I have webspace here at school, at my alma mater, and a few other assorted websites i've collected over the years. Then there's the NECPS web page that i maintain (that's where the third photo came from). I just link to photos stored on those sites.
Hey agustin, & d muscipula, Did either of you use rooting hormones?


Yes, I always use rooting hormones; even though i've heard otherwise.  I do believe it help in promoting root growth. The proof is that when i was going through my first attempts, surprisingly enough one dying pitcher after a week of planting it into the sphagnum moss, it already had a 2/16 of an inch root. In other words, the stuff I was using was very strong.

P.S. Thanks Bob for your help. I am still trying to install windows 98 in my computer, because it is so old and windows 95 does not support USB software!!.

Colieo, sadly, the rooted cutting isn't mine, but i believe John uses rooting hormones for the cuttings he takes.

Gus, if you can, i'd highly recommend you install windows 2000 instead of 98.  98 has enough problems that are resolved with W2K that i think you might as well bypass it.  I realize that it might be more expensive, though.

Also, USB is a hardware interface, like for scanners and printers.  If you are having software problems, it's not due to lack of USB support.  Until Christmas this year, when i got my digicam, i never used USB.  So it's not something essential - don't worry about not being able to use it unless there's something you want to use that only comes in USB.

Anyway, enough digression...
6 weeks later, out of 33 cuttings:

29 immature leaves and pitchers
3 mature pitchers
1 mature leaf

5 immature leaves died, 1 immature leaf was broken in half by accident, the rest are all alive:

something of interest for those who like to learn more abut cephalotus propagation:

1/4 inch pitcher and a tiny ceph leaf with roots


I'll show you more interesting stuff in due time.

  • #10
Hi, I have a slightly related question.

I haven't heard of using rooting hormones with ceph cuttings and was wondering if a different technique applyed or would you just treat it the same way as any other cutting?
  • #11
Hi Kate:

Yes, there are two schools regarding cephalotus reproduction. Some believe that cutting a leaf or a pitcher (preferably mature) and burying it in the same potting mix as the parent will give you a new plant. While this may be true, the frequency of propagation is very low.  If you; however, do exactly the same thing with the help of rooting hormone, you are increasing your chances of getting new plants (therefore, i belong to the second school type).

Agustin Franco
  • #12
Hi guys,
How long to you have to wait before you know whether or not your cutting was successful? I just got some last night, and used root-tone. They're about 6 or 8 inches from two flouresent lights...I have them in very high humidity, and warm....Does this sound satisfactory?
Thanks for the input....
  • #13
Hi Dave -

I got a leaf cutting from John Phillip at the first NECPS meeting back in January. It took about 3 weeks to a month to see growth. Then, a few leaves, then a tiny little hairy green ball that developed into a trap. Very slow in growing, but I must be doing something right because now it has 6 traps!!!!

I just measured and the soil line is 5 1/2 inches from the fluorescent lights. It's in a very humid terrarium and gets about 17 hours of light. I water around the perimeter (yup, with that infamous mustard bottle) once a week.

Hope this helps.

  • #14
That's great. Suzy. Yes, it should be fine. just make sure they have a humid environment. Although, Summer time is not the best time to get cuttings, because the heat is merciless with them. I would wait until September (U.S. eastern coast) to do the cuttings. In my experience, hot season almost always kills the cuttings no matter how much humidity, light, and rooting hormone you use.

  • #15
Thanks guys!
I do have a room in the house that's cooler...I could move the cuttings in there...it is almost always below 80 degrees...even on the HOTTEST days...usually closer to 70 down there...gotta love a cool basement.