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How to - Propagate Mexican Pinguicula from leaf pullings

Mexican Pinguicula, tropical butterworts, are so called due to the buttery or greasy feel of their leaves. They are an easy carnivorous plant to take care of, perfect to sit on a bright windowsill year round but do not require direct sunlight.

The easiest way to propagate and get more of your Pinguicula quickly is through leaf pullings, this method of vegetative propagation is super easy and often results in a high strike rate. In this easy guide I will show you a simple method on how to propagate your plants.

The best time of year to take leaf pullings is when your plant is in its ‘dormant’ state. Most Mexican Pinguicula have a wet and dry cycle in which they will have carnivorous leaves growing in the wet cycle and then non-carnivorous, succulent like leaves in the dry cycle. For me, they enter their dormant state during our winter when there is less light, when they enter this stage watering should decrease. Not all Mexican Pinguicula will go through this however. Even though, this is the best time of year to take pullings, you can take them year-round and still have the same rate of success.

Pinguicula cyclosecta in its active growing stage
Pinguicula cyclosecta in its 'dormant' stage

Materials you will need:
  • A pot/ shallow food container

  • Media of your choice (I like to use finely chopped Sphagnum moss)

  • Scissors (for cutting the sphagnum moss if required)

  • Mexican Pinguicula

Step 1

Shallow food container

Select your pot/ container of choice. I like to reuse plastic food containers, such as curry pots or shallow fruit punnets, like those which hold tomatoes. Make sure the container you use is washed thoroughly before use. These containers do not need to have drainage holes in them but you should take more care with watering if this is the case.

Fill your pot/ container with your chosen media. I use finely chopped Sphagnum moss, you can use live or dried long fibered sphagnum moss and then chop it up with scissors. This is not necessary to cut the moss however I personally find it easier to work with when placing my leaves.

Finely chopped sphagnum moss
Alternatively you can use any other Pinguicula mix, you can use anything such as peat, sand, perlite, pumice, turface and vermiculite in your mix. Mexican Pinguicula are not too fussy when it comes to soil types and a range of mixes, including peat-free mixes can be used.

Even more so, I have had good success in propagating Pinguicula on moist kitchen towel inside a container with a lid on top. Therefore, this can also be an option if desired.
Make sure your medium is damp before placing pullings onto it.

Step 2
Good leaf pulling in media
Now get your Pinguicula and gently pull the leaf from its base, be careful not to rip the leaf as you need to have the white tip at the bottom of the leaf intact for successful propagation.

With your leaf, simply place it into the media making sure the tip where the leaf would join the plant is in contact with the media. When planting into a medium such as Sphagnum you can cover the tip with a little media, although as long as it is in contact you will be fine.

Repeat this step as many times and with as many Mexican Pinguicula as you desire, make sure to label the Pinguicula if you are placing several types in a container. I like to arrange mine in rows and mark them accordingly (see below).

(Left) shows leaves arranged in rows from above with many strikes and (Right) shows how each type is labelled accordingly.

Step 3
Leaf pullings after 3 weeks
Place your pot/ container in a brightly lit spot but not in direct sun. Make sure the medium does not dry out and ensure it is damp, if you are using a container with no drainage hole make sure not to water directly onto any pullings, I use a small plastic squeeze bottle to carefully water around the edge.

Pullings should take around 3 weeks or so before you will see any growth. It's that easy!

Your Pinguicula will grow happily in a shallow container for a while before repotting, see below the size I let mine get to before repotting:

More Pings! Here is a gallery of a few more of my Pinguicula:

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