Whether you wish to take your gardening skills to the next level or grow some gifts for your friends, you are lucky with the African Violet species. They are easy to propagate and don’t take long to grow into a mature plant.
Are you are overwhelmed by all the information on propagation and are not sure where to begin? The propagation process may appear intimidating, but I assure you it is surprisingly easy to understand and follow.
In this article we will learn everything about how to propagate African violets.
The most popular method to propagate African Violets plant is by leaf cuttings. You can also propagate the African Violets from seeds, but they are subjected to strict conditions like light soil with Epsom salt. Also, it is essential to have a warm environment for sprouting and optimal germination.
Keep reading to understand how to propagate African Violets to gather a crowd of baby plants in no time.
In the majority of scenarios, the baby plants look identical to the parent plant. And whenever the baby turns out different, it is called ‘sport.’
What is the best time to propagate African Violets?
Since you will be growing the new plants indoors, you need not worry much about finding the perfect time to propagate African Violets. You can propagate the African violets whenever you want.
In contrast to other flowering plants, the African Violets bloom all year round. But it is no myth that houseplant growth can reach a staggering halt in the fall and winter months. The cuttings can undergo rot instead of producing new roots.
Also, propagation under extreme heat conditions can trigger stress in the plants. Thus, propagation should not be encouraged if the conditions are not favorable.
With the arrival of spring, you can initiate your African violets propagation projects to ensure the most successful and fuss-free results.
Lastly, you must choose the African Violet plants that are healthy, thriving, and don’t have any discoloration.
Using unhealthy plants for propagation will lead to failure. So, if you notice that the African violet plant is unhealthy, you must take all the essential attempts to nurse the plant back to health.
Supplies required to propagate African Violet plants
- A host African Violet plant with a few rows of strong leaves
- Rooting medium (Vermiculite and Perlite)
- African Violet Potting Soil
- Rooting hormone (optional)
- A sharp knife, scalpel, or a pair of fine-tipped pruners
- Rubbing alcohol
- A bowl for mixing the soil
- Plastic shallow 2-inch pots
- Plastic bags and labels to track the cuttings
- A moderately large bakery clamshell to hold the pots
How to propagate African Violet?
You can propagate the African Violets in three main ways:
- By leaf cutting
- In water
- By seeds
How to Propagate African Violet by leaf cuttings?
Take a look at these steps that can help you understand the propagation process.
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1. Prepare the Rooting Medium
For a successful propagation, you must use a lightweight and well-drained growing medium. The medium preferably should be able to retain moisture without being too dry or moist.
Use a balanced combination of vermiculite and perlite to fill each pot. Poke shallow holes through the soil, using a pencil, chopsticks, or your finger to position the stems firmly.
Plantlet should be placed so that none of the bare trunks are exposed, but also the growing point is not buried. Use the plant tags as support to ensure the leaves do not keep collapsing into the soil.
2. Choose a Leaf
The most suitable leaves for propagation are mature and well-developed. This is because the youngest leaves are too small.
You should ensure that the chosen leaves are fresh, full of life, and free from signs of disease and aging like curling edges, holes, and brown spots.
To be on the safe side, select more leaves than you desire to multiply to boost your chances of a better yield. The African Violets grow foliage from the center of the plant and continue to move outward in circles.
Naturally, the lower leaves tend to be too tired for propagation, but the upper layers, especially the third-row leaves, are perfect for propagation. Even the broken-off root cuttings can work if they are healthy.
3. Prepare the leaves to plant
After selecting the leaf:
- Take a sharp knife or pruning shears.
- Always use rubbing alcohol to disinfect the tools thoroughly between the uses.
- Cut the leaves down to a length of about one and a half inches.
The surface area for the sprouting of roots is diagonally increased after slicing the petiole/stem. An optional step is trimming the top part of the leaf, allowing the plant more energy into the new growths.
4. Use a rooting hormone
Always use gloves and eye protection glasses as a safety precaution as the rooting powder is a mild irritant. As a part of the prepping of leaves, lightly dip each stem into the rooting hormone.
Auxins are a plant hormone present in the stem tip that regulates elongation. The root hormone application increases the supply of auxins and helps the plant to grow fast.
5. Create a greenhouse
Take the clamshell containers and place the pots that contain the leaf cuttings inside. Next, carefully close the lid tightly to lock the cuttings in a humid and warm environment. By doing this, you will recreate the greenhouse on a small scale.
Opening the container at regular intervals is vital to release the extra moisture or add more water. Cover the planters with plastic bags and secure them with rubber bands if you do not have a container.
6. Give it indirect sunlight
Place the container or your covered pots near a window with moderate conditions. The main objective is to look for a bright area without the sun being directly overhead.
7. Plantlets sprout
In about 3-4 weeks, you will notice the formation of roots on the petiole. At the end of a month, new leaves start growing. As soon as a couple of leaves appear at the base, you need to repot.
Transfer these plants into a container larger than the original with the same rooting medium mix used for the cuttings. Keep maintaining your plantlets and caring for them to aid their transition into full-grown African Violets.
How to propagate African Violets in water?
The easiest method of African Violet propagation is water. The whole process is more magical in water since you observe the roots and baby plants grow closely.
Take a wide container and fill it with lukewarm or room temperature water. Now, wrap the container with a sheet of cellophane.
Next, make a hole in the plastic wrap and stick the leaf through that immediately. Make sure the petiole touches the water.
The African Violet leaves tend to toughen up on minor exposure to air itself. That is why they should be placed in water immediately after cutting.
- Keep the container in a location with indirect sunlight. Avoid exposure to excess heat or cool air.
- To keep the environment fresh, you should change the water every 7-10 days. Rather than using tap water, use filtered water as tap water contains fluoride and other chemicals that can negatively impact the plant.
- Roots start developing within a few weeks. You might want to add a small drop of liquid fertilizer to the water to boost the growth.
- Within six weeks, the parent plant will start growing plantlets. Be patient till the baby plant is about half-an-inch and then transplant it to a small pot.
How to propagate African Violet by separation?
When the African Violets have grown too big for their pots, this will signal the need for propagation by the separation method.
Using the division technique and sharp blades, cut the small crowns or pups (with their root system) from the mother plant and set them in another planter.
How to propagate by seeds?
Propagating African violets with seeds can take about the same time as propagating via cutting. Let’s take a look at the steps.
Step 1: Prepare the medium by pouring water on the soil so it becomes moist. However, don’t make it soggy. Now put the medium in the pot or container and ensure that the mix is not too compact.
Step 2: Take the seeds on a piece of paper and evenly spread them out on the growing medium. Make sure to take a generous amount of seeds because all the seeds you sow might not germinate.
Step 3: Take a plastic cover or a bag and put it or wrap it around the container so that the moisture stays trapped and there is enough humidity for seed germination. You might take out the cover or the lid and mist the medium if it seems to be drying out.
Step 4: Provide enough indirect sunlight to the seeds. These will require at least 10 hours of indirect light. Find a bright window that gets light throughout the day and if that is not sufficient, use artificial lights.
Try to maintain warm temperature levels between 70-80°F as the seeds will germinate faster if provided with this range.
You might notice seedlings coming out in 2 weeks, but some may take as long as 4 or 5 weeks to germinate.
After the seedlings have grown big enough, you can repot them in a bigger planter using a suitable soil mix or plant them in your garden.
Propagating the African Violets is an excellent pastime for people who cherish the presence of these lovable flowering plants in their homes.
The biggest reason for African Violet deaths is overwatering. So, make sure to water the soil only when it feels dry when you touch it. Also, try your best to prevent water splashing on the leaves as it can lead to discoloration.
We hope that our comprehensive guide has cleared all your questions on the propagation of the exotic African Violets. Now can confidently undertake the journey to getting an assembly line of African Violet plants in your house.
Good luck with your propagation!
Source: Wikipedia, African violet: Classical breeding, African Violet Society of America, In vitro propagation of African violet, University of Florida, North Dakota State University, The University of Georgia.