The vast majority of indoor flowering plants can be propagated from stem or leaf cuttings. The wonderful thing about African violets is that they are one of the few plants that can be propagated from single leaves. So what are the steps to successfully propagating African violets from leaf cuttings?
Step 1: To root African violet leaves, start with any mature leaf from the middle of the plant. Do not use very old leaves. Use a sharp knife or pair of scissors to cut the leaf from the mother plant. Cut the stem of the leaf so that it is about ½ to 1 inch in length.
Step 2: Choose whether you want to root the leaf in either water or African violet potting mix. While both rooting methods are effective, rooting in water is the most common and easiest way. As you can see from the image below, the African violet leaves have been placed into small glass cups with water at the bottom. Remove the leaves from the water once the roots have grown to no less than 1 inch in length.
Step 3: After removing the African violet leaves from the water, plant them up in a small pot using African violet potting mix. To maintain higher humidity in the growing area, cover the potted leaf with a clear plastic cup. African violets plantlets develop best in an environment of 50% or higher humidity levels. The small plantlets developing at the base of the leaf will be ready to divide and pot within 2 to 3 months, depending on your specific growing conditions. Once the planets developing at the base of the African violet leaf are about 1 to 2 inches high, remove them from the pot and separate multiple plantlets into individual pots. The original “mother leaf” can be thrown away as it has served its purpose. Please keep in mind that it is vital to separate the plantlets when they are small because if you allow the plants to grow into a “clump,” the result will be a plant with poor symmetry with few blooms.
To propagate African violets directly in potting soil, first, dip the freshly cut end of the African violet stem into water, followed by dipping it into a rooting hormone medium. Next, stick the stem into the planting medium up until the leaf bottom (see image below). For best results, a well-lit “growing station” that utilizes either LED or fluorescent lights is your best option. For more information on African violet grow light options, please see our plant light page. After several weeks you will start to see the plantlets developing at the base of the leaves. As with the water propagation method, divide the plantlets from the leaves when they are 1 to 2 inches high. If you use these methods consistently, you will probably never have to buy another African violet unless you are keen on acquiring a new variety. Happy growing!
I was extremely impressed with how the African Violet leaves that I ordered were shipped. They came well protected and in a timely fashion. I'm excited to plant these leaves and I am sure that they will produce babies as the leaves are healthy and quite strong and I know that I will be back to buy more in the future.
J. M. B. Michaud - January 22, 2021
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