A perennial favorite, this houseplant has long been found in homes across the country. The simple grand elegance of the African Violet brings joy to any room it inhabits.
There are a couple of easy ways to propagate African violets. In fact, it is so simple, you may suddenly find yourself swimming in African violet babies. All your friends and family wanted African violets too, didn't they?
By Leaf in Soil
By far the most popular method for propagating African violets, leaf cuttings are a simple and sure way to start more plants. It is best to do this method in the springtime. To use this method, you'll need to have an African violet already. Or, better yet, have a friend with a variety you want to add to your collection.
Fill several small pots with good potting soil. There are potting soils made specifically for African Violets but regular potting soil will work as well. The pots must have drainage holes; this is very important for the health of the violets' roots. Wet the potting soil so it is the consistency of wet sand and can be lightly clumped.
Cut off a healthy, mature leaf from the plant right at the leaf stem. Choose leaves from the middle row of the plant. They are mature without being old. The leaves in the center are the youngest and the large leaves on the outside are the oldest. Each leaf will create one new plant and you can take multiple leaves from one plant.
With a sharp blade, trim off the top part of the leaf. This stimulates grows and forces the plant to focus on rooting instead of growing more leaf. Next, trim the leaf stem at a 45-degree angle leaving 1/2” remaining. Press the leaf stem into the prepared pots up to the bottom of the leaf.
Place the pots in a clear, covered container or plastic baggie to create a mini-greenhouse. The pots need to be in a bright location with moderate temperatures. It is important they do not get direct sun or too much heat as that may cause the leaf to rot. In about 12 weeks, little plantlets will sprout from the cut end of the leaf stem. The plastic bag can be removed at this time. In 4-5 months, they will be ready for transplanting to larger pots.
By Leaf in Water
This method may seem like it adds in an unnecessary extra step since the leaves can just be planted directly in the soil. Gardeners like this way, though, because you can see the roots growing and don't have to guess as to whether they're ok or not.
Select leaves the same way as described above for starting them in soil. Use a clear glass or plastic container so you can see the roots growing. Fill the glass with water, cover it with waxed paper and secure the waxed paper with a rubber band. Next, poke a small hole in the waxed paper and insert the leaf stem in. The stem needs to be touching the water.
Place the containers in a bright location with moderate temperatures. It can take up to 2 months before any growth is noticeable, so be patient.
Change the water if it gets cloudy. When the root gets to be about 1/4” long, it can be moved to a container with potting soil and placed in a bright location to continue growing. Put the pots inside a plastic bag to create a mini-greenhouse which helps the violet babies grow.
Follow the remaining steps as outlined in the soil-based leaf method.
Regardless of which method you choose, or which method works best for you, enjoy your African violets. And, if you have a lot of propagation successes, share the love with your friends and family.