African Violets are enjoying an upswing in popularity. Homeowners are again discovering that violets aren’t that difficult, and a little care yields nice flowers. More retailers are stocking violets as demand increases.
The only thing better than having an African violet, is having lots of African violets. They’re fun and easy to propagate from leaf cuttings. It does take patience – about one year until you have a blooming plant. But in the meantime, it’s fascinating to observe.
Here’s a reliable method for starting new violets. I’ve used this method successfully, and the famous Optimara African violet company recommends it also.
- Use small Styrofoam cups with several holes punched in the bottom. Small cups work better than large.
- Fill the cup three-fourths full with pre-moistened media: vermiculite, perlite or a mixture of sand and peatmoss.
- Select firm, not wilted, African violet leaves that appear healthy with a deep green color.
- With a knife, cut the leaf from the mother plant, with about a one-inch stem attached to the leaf.
- Insert a leaf cutting into the moistened media at an angle, so the base of the stem is just barely covered with media and the leaf itself is resting on the edge of the cup. That keeps the cutting stabilized.
- Use a separate cup for each cutting.
- Gently water the media, being sure the stem tip remains covered with media.
- Enclose the cup in a plastic bag that’s large enough so it doesn’t tightly hug the leaf, allowing enough space. Fasten loosely so the interior remains humid, yet a little air can enter.
- Locate the bagged cutting in bright light, but not direct sunlight. A warmish location is best.
- Sprinkle the media gently as needed to keep it evenly moist.
- Roots will form in about one month. Little plantlets will arise from the stem’s base in about 2 months.
- When plantlets are large enough to handle, remove the cutting from the pot, divide the group of plantlets using a knife. Divide so that each plantlet has one “crown.” If left together, the competing crowns make a too-crowded violet.
- Pot each little plantlet into a separate little pot using high-quality potting mix. Always pre-moisten mix before transplanting tender little plants.