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Propagating African Violets

Grow violets from cuttings

By: Sandy Feather 2006
Penn State Extension


Q. I received a beautiful African violet as a gift this spring. It has been in bloom constantly! I would like to start another plant to give to my sister. Can you tell me how to go about it?

A. African violets (Saintpaulia spp.) are easy to propagate by leaf cuttings. Remove a healthy, firm leaf from the middle of the plant by reaching in and snapping or cutting it at its point of origin on the main stem. Trim the leaf stalk (petiole) back to 1-1/2 inches or so, making the cut at a 45-degree angle (It exposes more surface area where roots will form).

You can make a rooting medium using one part sand to one part vermiculite, or you can use a soil-less seed starting mix. Fill a small container with the mix, and moisten it so that it feels like a wrung-out sponge -- moist but not sopping wet. Make a hole in the center with a pencil.

 


white african violet          pink african violet

You can coat the leaf stalk with a rooting hormone such as Rootone or Dip N' Grow, although it is not absolutely necessary. Insert the trimmed leaf stalk into the hole so that the base of the leaf just touches the surface of the mix and firm the mix around it for support. Place the pot in a clear plastic bag to maintain high humidity around the leaf. Put the bagged pot in a bright area out of direct sunlight to avoid cooking the cutting. Monitor the cutting and remove the bag when you see new little plants forming.

Roots should form at the base of the leaf stalk in several weeks, followed by small plants at the soil surface. Once they have four leaves and are large enough to handle, remove them from the container and gently separate the small plants. Pot them into individual pots, using a potting mix for African violets.
  

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