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Leek multiplication.

Leek multiplication

Some of Mother Nature's tricks are worth converting to home use. To ensure the next generation of leeks, she has endowed the plants with the ability to reproduce from the bulbs' basal plates, from offsets, and from tiny bulblets generated by blossoms and seed clusters as shown here. When the blossom stalk falls over, the bulblets root and grow into new plants (see photograph at far left).

If you still have leeks to harvest, leave a few in the ground, then follow the procedure shown. If you've just planted, remember to let some go to seed next fall.

Carefully pull the tiny plants from the cluster and place them in a good planting mix or potting soil that is just barely moist; leave the green portion above the soil line. Water well and keep in a bright location. Rooting and growth are far quicker than with seed-grown plants; young leeks are usually ready for transplanting within a month.

Plant in rich, well-drained soil, spacing the plantlets 2 to 4 inches apart in a 6-inch trench, then cover to where the leaves separate. As leeks grow, gradually fill in the trench, keeping soil out of the green leaf bases. Keep leeks growing vigorously with ample water and regular feeding.

Photo: Fallen flower heads have bulblets that root

Photo: Plantlets grow among seed capsules; carefully pull them out with attached tiny bulbs

Photo: In a pot filled with good planting mix, set plantlets about 1 inch apart. Barely cover the bulbous section

Photo: A month later, plantlets are big enough to set out in garden
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Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Feb 1, 1988
Words:265
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