African violets are a genus of plants that are native to Tanzania and Kenya. They're named after the fact that they resemble many of the true violets of Europe, Asia, and North America.
There's something special about African violets. Maybe it's their unique texture, or maybe it's their tendency to grow new leaves that are a different color than the rest of the plant.
It is a popular indoor plant that's relatively easy to propagate. But the process can be intimidating for those new to the plant, so this article is designed to serve as a reference guide. We'll start with some basic information on each of these categories, then move into specific propagation methods for each. Enjoy!
What do African violets look like
These flowers are known for their fuzzy leaves and a type of bloom called a "double crown" that causes their petals to look like a layer of soft ruffles. They come in shades ranging from white to pink to blue to purple.
African violets are gorgeous, vibrant flowers that are popular house plants. They range in size from 4 to 12 inches across, with leaves that can be anywhere from 2 to 8 inches long. If you love your African violets but feel like they're taking up too much space, you may find yourself wishing you could move them to a larger pot or maybe even divide them.
With just a few supplies and a little patience, you can propagate African violets from green leaves and create new plants.
Factors affecting the propagation of African violets
It may seem like a challenge to keep African violets alive, but it doesn't have to be. Keep these factors in mind:
African violets need bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight will burn the green leaves of your plant and cause them to wilt. The best way to provide this kind of indirect light is by using fluorescent lights, although you will have to experiment with the distance between your plant and the light fixture. You may need to move your plant closer or farther away over time to keep it healthy.
Water African violet thoroughly, then wait until the potting soil is mostly dry before watering again. This will ensure that the entire root system is saturated, as opposed to just wetting the potting soil on top.
African violets thrive in a humid environment.
Keep your plant's temperature between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to propagate African violet from leaves?
To propagate African violet plant from leaves, follow these simple steps:
- Gather your materials: A sharp pair of scissors, a small glass container, and water.
- Use a sharp knife or pair of shears to cut a healthy-looking mother leaf from an existing mother plant, avoiding any foliage that has been blemished by disease, pests, or sun damage.
- Take a healthy parent leaf from your African violet. Make sure to clean all the African Violet potting mix and other plant matter off the leaf before you begin.
- Place the leaf in a glass of water. Make sure that most of the leaf is submerged in the water. If you don't have a glass, you can use another type of container, just make sure it's clear so you can see when roots begin to sprout from your leaf.
- Leave it alone for about three weeks. Check on it every few days, and if you notice any mold, algae, or bacterial growth on the water or on the base of the leaf where it meets the water, change out your water for fresh water and clean out your container thoroughly with soap and hot water before proceeding.
- When roots appear on your leaf, plant them in potting mix until a new baby plant begins to grow from them.
Note: If you don't have a glass, you can use another type of container, just make sure it's clear so you can see when roots begin to sprout from your leaf. If you are unable to pay attention, you can use a self-watering pot for your ease!
How to propagate African violets from leaf cuttings?
The difference here lies in the number of African violet leaves for propagation taken. In this method, you are taking multiple African Violet cuttings along with a leaf stem. The propagation method by using the mother leaf cuttings remains the same. However, you can use a clear self-watering planter for this purpose. This is because the African violets will propagate very quickly and in bulk.
How to Propagate African violets from water
African violets are relatively easy to propagate using water. The best way to do so is to take a cutting of the African violet and place it in lukewarm water in a sunny spot.
Step 1: Take a cutting
The first step is to cut the top of your African violet off. You can cut it at any point that has leaves—the ideal length is about 1/2 inch. Do not include the leaf stem, but you should leave two or three leaves in water below the point where you cut. Without these leaves, the propagate cuttings in water will not grow roots.
Step 2: Remove lower leaves
Next, you should remove the lower leaves from your cutting by gently pulling them off. African violets leaves will only use up resources, and you want all of your cutting's energy going into growing roots.
Step 3: Place in water
Place your cutting in water in a container with a wide mouth that isn't too deep. This way, there is enough room for the full length of the plant's root system to fit into the container once it has grown entirely out of the cutting.
Step 4: Place in Sunlight
Once you have placed your cutting in warm water, place it somewhere sunny or bright where it will get plenty of light. Make sure that no part of the leaf will touch the glass of the jar—if it does, it may rot. For this purpose, use clear self-watering pots.
Step 4: Care for your baby plant
Change the water once per week, and wait for new roots to form on the leaf stem. This will help to avoid bacteria that could kill your newly formed roots.
Step 5: Change the pot
Once new roots have grown, plant the new African violet in a pot with potting soil and continue caring for it as normal.
Tips to keep African violets healthy
African violets are very vastly kept in houses. It is a plant that comes from Madagascar, Africa but can thrive in temperate regions of North America and West Europe. They are growing very popular in Asia too.
Moreover, everyone knows that African violets are notoriously difficult to grow. But they're beautiful and delicate flowers, and they're worth the extra effort!
If you plan to purchase an African violet to home to start its propagation, here are some tips on how you can increase your success rate and keep them healthy
- Use a shallow pot. Make sure the pot has bottom drainage holes for good drainage.
- Use soil made for African violets at your local hardware store.
- Keep the soil moist but not soggy. If you're unsure whether the soil is wet enough, stick your finger a few inches into it. If it feels dry there, then it's time to water your African violet again.
- Place them near a window with indirect light. If you can't find a spot in your house that gets enough indirect light, consider buying artificial lights designed to help plants get what they need in artificially lit spaces.
In the end, it's totally up to you how you want to go about propagating your African violets. There's no right or wrong way to take an existing plant and turn it into a new one. African violet propagation can be very rewarding. It also paves the way to owning new and different varieties of these plants. However, this method of propagation does have its limits.
Hopefully, these techniques will help make propagation a little easier for you. But more than that, they should help you understand the process of successful African violet propagation a little better. So whether you're starting with one plant or a whole collection, it can be a worthwhile endeavor.
Is it wise to keep African Violets in direct sunlight?
If the sun is too direct, it can cause African violets to collapse in on themselves. Second, if the sun is too strong, it can cause the plant's leaves to curl or become spotted, as well as causing them to be more susceptible to disease.
What is the optimum temperature for African violets to propagate?
African Violets have an optimal temperature range of 60°-75°F. They prefer a humid environment, with temperatures below 75°F.
How do I know when my African violet has roots?
It will depend on what medium you're growing your plant in, but if you're using water, you should see small bubbles forming at the base of the leaf stems after about 2 weeks. If using soil, dig into the mix to see if small roots are growing out of the bottom of your stems.
Do I need special soil for propagating my African violet?
No. You can use any kind of soil to propagate your African violet. Just be sure to use sterile soil. If you're propagating via a plantlet or leaf cuttings, though, you can use water as well.
How do I control pests on my African violets?
A healthy plant is generally resistant to most pests. To keep your plants healthy, make sure they are getting plenty of humidity by misting them regularly or using a humidifier near them. You can also spray for pests with insecticidal soap or rubbing alcohol (70% or higher).