Leaf Bud Cutting Propagation

Wanaque, NJ(Zone 6b)

I am reposting this question from the Hibiscus forum because I have found excellent feedback to breeding question on the Hybridizers Discussion Forum.

Has anyone tried to use leaf bud cuttings (http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-8700.html; http://www.google.com/images?q=Leaf+Bud+Cutting) to propagate hardy or tropical Hibiscus or any other plants? I would be interested in any reports of success or failure. The serious Hibiscus websites and scientific research databases make no mention of using the technique on Hibiscus. I suspect that the reason for this is that it is so easy to propagate Hibiscus using stem cuttings, root divisions and grafting that there is no need to go into anything more elaborate unless tissue cultures are used for bulk propagation. The few references I did find using leaf bud cutting to propagate Hibiscus are ether so generic as to be useless or Web-SPAM designed attract Internet traffic to advertising content, as in: “Get Rich Quick Propagating Hibiscus With Leaf Bud Cutting”. I would be extremely interested in the application Leaf Bud Cutting to any genius closely related to Hibiscus.

I have two projects coming up this summer where I would like to clone hardy Hibiscus using as few cells as possible. As I have hardy Hibiscus growing indoors this winter, I am planning to run a few tests in the next week but the numbers of cuttings I can take are limited until this summer. If this doesn’t work, I may have to start looking into the hobbyist tissue culture websites but that will be a project for 2012.

Any insights would be appreciated,


Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)


I guess the question here is how conventional or unconventional can your propagation techniques be? I routinely propagate zinnias from cuttings, with the aid of rooting hormones and Physan 20 to prevent the soft zinnia cuttings from rotting. Propagating zinnias by cuttings is not one of the possibilities mentioned in the gardening books, so the books don't always know.

"I would like to clone hardy Hibiscus using as few cells as possible."

That sounds like Tissue Culture to me. I am still experimenting with TC with zinnias. As an entry level to Tissue Culture, you might find one of the home kitchen culture kits to be helpful.


I would be a little surprised if there isn't a protocol, or protocols, for the micropropagation of Hibiscus, because it is a commercially important ornamental. If I come across any specifics, I will post them here. It is possible that some commercial producers of Hibiscus might consider their Hibiscus tissue culture protocols to be trade secrets. Maybe not.

In the meantime, you might want to do your own literature search on the subject of Hibiscus micropropagation, and possibly join the ListServe linked on the Kitchen Culture Kit website. The Yahoo Groups Home Tissue Culture group


is slanted toward amateur and hobbyist Tissue Culture, as opposed to professional and commercial TC.

(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)

Wanaque, NJ(Zone 6b)


I am dealing with what might be a hardy Hibiscus Chimera. There is one previously documented case of a hardy Hibiscus Chimera.

Hibiscus: Hardy and Tropical Plants for the Garden, by Barbara Perry Lawton, Page 62

"The first selection was "Pitter Patti", discovered as a chimera – a single branch of pale pink flowers with scarlet veins was found on a red-flowered plant."

The "Pitter Patti" was cloned using a stem cutting.

I am working with the Annie J. Hemming (PP835, 1949) and now have two plants in my garden which have been propagated by the Hemming family since 1949:

Last summer it was verified that the Annie J. Hemming is still producing seven petal flowers. What is not known is if these are the result of a Chimera, random mutations or other variations in how the numbers of petals are expressed. The major objective this summer is to document the plants which product seven petal flowers and isolate them. Hopefully I will be lucky with one of my two plants.

I agree that tissue culture is the most likely avenue to success but Hibiscus leaf bud cuttings are a low cost alternative and are worth a shot. I have already research the use of Hibiscus leaf bud cuttings in the scientific literature and didn’t find anything for or against the process. I am now going to research the use of tissue culture for Hibiscus propagation. If leaf bud cuttings work for Hibiscus, this might still be a viable way force chromosome doubling in Hibiscus.

I will be posting pictures of the Annie J. Hemming this summer.

As always, thank you for your excellent advice,


(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

If you're talking about one branch being different, I'd use air layering to root that branch. If you already have the original rooted, I'd try air layering several limbs. You could try a spray with Configure or similar product to increase branching so you could have more cuttings to take. The bud idea sounds like something worth trying, especially if you already have enough rooted plants.

Wanaque, NJ(Zone 6b)


At this point we have verified that the 60 year old reports are correct and the Annie J. Hemming produces a yet unknown percentage of seven petal flowers. I have been told that the flowers are well formed with a high level of petal overlap. Based on 1910 reports in gardening journals by Ernest Hemming, his grandson and I are very sure that this flower was no accident as Ernest had been working on a hardy double from about 1895. Everything is in Google Books with free access.

Hibiscus are so easy to root from stem cuttings that air layering is not usually necessary but I do have the air layering rooting pots and was considering giving it a try if some of the branches show a disproportionate number of seven petal flowers which are randomly distributed about the stem. Again we are not sure if we are dealing with a chimera in this case yet.

Yesterday, I was looking at my emerging variegated daylilies, of which I have a number if verities. It is believed that, variegated daylilies are a chimera were some cells don’t produce chlorophyll. Once a fan is established, it is stable for many years. The thing you have to watch is the runners, which can vary for the wild form with not white stripping to an albino with no chlorophyll. Once the albino is separate from the mother plant, the albino will die. On the other extreme, a daylily which has reverted to the wild green color will quickly displace the variegated form in a natural planting. The keeping of variegated daylilies requires the culling of undesirable forms emerging from the runners each spring.

If we have a similar situation with the Hibiscus Annie J. Hemming, where we might be able to select for increasing numbers of seven petal flowers each year. ZM is quite correct, the fastest way to get there may the through tissue culture, but I plan to give bud and stem cuttings a try. Root divisions would not be of very much interest in this case although they are the most reliable way to propagate Hibiscus.


alicante, Spain

in the 1960 all grape vines were taken this way potted up in a pot. Easiest way to take a grape cutting. Now I understand in universities experiments they are taking rose cuttings this way, I know most of the rebus family blackcurrant, redcurrant gooseberries are taken this way ,hey have even done it with root cuttings from a apple tree. If you don't try you will not know

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

Hi Mike,

"...but I plan to give bud and stem cuttings a try."

So, did you have any luck with bud or stem cuttings?


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