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The "Rennie Moffat Method" of Vegetative Reproduction

This information on propagating Lapageria vegetativly comes from Rennie Moffat, a Scottish gentleman who retired in Cornwall, England. He was an immense help to me on all things Lapageria, and we managed to become friends over the great distance using good old snail mail. Rennie was an avid plantsman into his 80s, and I regret that I was not able to meet him in person before he passed away. His letters to me were a great gift, and I continue to learn from them. I'm sure he's getting a kick out of his new cyber status. I miss him a great deal.

To learn more about Rennie, see the link below.

Here's what Rennie had to say about vegetative reproduction in a letter from December 29 ,1995:

History and natural range
Elbert E Reed of El Vergel
Christian Lambs article
Carlos Rendon at Berkeley
Rennie Moffat
Propagation methods
Pages from
"You can certainly propagate your plant by layering as at least 75% of the buds on a 10 foot shoot will eventually form plants, but those buds on the top 3 feet are the best to handle once they are rooted. For cuttings I just use a length of stem with two leaves. I am enclosing a rough drawing of how to do it, which I hope you can follow. You will find that in both methods of propagation instead of the roots being formed from the stem or a callus as in most cases, the Lapageria buds first form bulbils and it is from those bulbils that the roots eventually appear, as it does in much of the Lily family to which the Lapageria belong. (NB Lapageria had yet to be moved to Philesiaceae when Rennie wrote this)

I never insert cuttings deeper than 1 inch and generally a four or five inch diameter pot will take 6-8 cuttings. After you have taken them, put the pot of cuttings into a shady spot away from the sunlight. mine usually went on the floor and under the benches of the greenhouse. I normally damped each day to keep the compost moist. After all this, it is a case of having patience and waiting for the shoots to appear. The new roots can be through the bottom of the pot before the shoots appear."

This is the text which accompanied the sketch:

"(This is) a rough—drawn sketch of a Lapageria shoot shows a stem with six leaves. Starting at the flowering end of the shoot, cut off every second leaf. With a sloping cut about half an inch below the leaf, then cut off that leaf, leaving the bud. Insert the cutting about 1 inch deep. When you have filled the pot with cuttings, water it well and place in a cool area shaded from sunlight. After that, keep the compost damp and have patience. Slugs and snail love them. I trust this makes sense to you."

Rennie Moffat

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