Master Gardener Janice Brown shares how to propagate African Violet leaves so you can multiply your collection.
The Back Story
I know the majority of my posts are on outdoor gardening, but I really do enjoy a good indoor gardening project too. Lately, I’ve been on an African violet spree and I don’t see the end in sight! They just cheer me up! I’ve got a new office and I’ve decided to display a collection of them there, so I bought a few this summer (a few is putting it mildly). I talked the ladies in the office into doing a bulk order with me and it was like Christmas when we opened our box full of green goodies! We all loved each other’s so much, we decided to propagate them so that we could share. I’ve done this before with great success; here’s how:
Leaf Propagation Instructions
The way most people propagate African violets is with leaf cuttings. It’s a slow, but satisfying process. Violet experts say the process goes a little better and faster in spring, but don’t limit yourself to one season.
- Choose a plant that you want to multiply and simply snip or snap off a healthy leaf at the base of the stem.
- Trim the leaf stem to about 1.5 inches. Shorter is fine.
- Slide the stem into a light rooting medium, such as peat moss mixed with perlite with only about a half inch of the stem in the rooting medium. Make sure the stem goes into the medium at an angle. Using a rooting medium helps, as soil can be heavy, and harder for the plantlets to grow through, but don’t stress about it. Use what you have.
- Water thoroughly.
- Keep the rooting medium moist, but not soggy, being careful not to wet the leaf.
- Label your pots if you’re doing more than one type of violet.
In 3-4 weeks, roots will start forming at the base of the stem. You won’t be able to see them, but you’ll know they are there because the leaf will not come out when you give it a gentle tug. Several weeks after that, you should begin to see tiny leaves poking through the soil around the base of the stem.
Wait 4-5 months for the plantlet(s) to get larger, before repotting separately. You will often get more than one plant, so you may have to separate them in addition to separating the mother leaf. Gently tug the plantlets away from the mother and each other. Don’t worry too much about the roots as the plantlets will produce more when repotted.
Repot the plantlet(s) into separate small pots of African violet soil and water well.
Some people root the leaves in water, a method which I have not done before but would like to try. If you try it, the process basically goes the same way as above.
- Cut a leaf.
- Insert the leaf tip in water, being careful not to let the leaf itself touch the water. To do this, some people stretch plastic wrap or foil over the top of the container and poke a hole in it and place the leaf stem through it.
- Once roots have developed, pot the stem and proceed as above.
Whichever method you choose, I just urge you to try it! Gather a few friends who have African violets or will purchase some with you and have a little propagation party. My thanks go out to Cassie, Erica, Krystina, and Ryan for being my African violet partners. I’m enjoying our propagation project!