Friday, November 18, 2011

What is the best way to propagate an African Violet? Why?

I'm doing a leaf cutting.....but I'm not sure....

What is the best way to propagate an African Violet? Why?
I do this a lot. Here's how. Choose a healthy looking leaf with at least a one inch stem. Pinch the leaf off half way down the stem. Use the eraser end of a pencil to poke a hole into the soil equal to the length of the stem. Put stem into hole and press soil around stem AND base of leaf. Root stimulating products are not necessary. Water plant as needed by using a spoon to carefully drip water around base of leaf. The leaf does not like to get wet. Put the plant in a sunny window. Do not cover it. Water once daily ( or less if soggy ) and be patient. This will take much time, but it works great. You will see baby leaves begin to grow from the base of the old leaf. I do not use fancy soil or fuss about cutting style and my plants have always grown fine.
Reply:I prefer to take a mature leaf, neither a very new one or a very old one. Cut the leaf stem down to about an inch and half in length if it's longer; don't cut directly across, but at an angle to the stem, so that plenty of tissue is exposed. Pot the leaf in a container of FRESH African violet potting soil; be sure the pot is labeled as to the variety of the leaf. Keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet. It takes time, but in a few weeks you should start to see "babies" coming up through the soil. When the leaves are about the size of a dime, the young plants are big enough to be separated and planted individually.

Some folks use water because the roots seem to show up more quickly; however, I've found that water-rooted babies are a lot more fragile, since the water has been supporting the leaves during development, and I used to lose a lot of them that way. Soil rooting takes a little longer, but I get MUCH better plants that way, with strong leaf stems and a good root system. Likewise, I know that some people use rooting hormone when they propagate leaves; again, though, I've found that you get lots of roots this way, but not many leaves, and ultimately you may not get ENOUGH leaves to have a viable plant.

If you can provide some mild heat underneath the leaves (presuming you don't allow the soil to dry out), I've found that the plants root and grow considerably faster than in room-temperature air. I use some pet bed warmer pads for this purpose; you can get them on eBay for about $20, but they're certainly not a necessity. I use covered flats to start violet leaves, but you can also do something as simple as covering a pot with a clear plastic bag to retain moisture.

Enjoy your new plants!
Reply:I seem to have luck by placing the leaf in water until roots show and then place it in a pot with potting soil. You can also place it in a pot and water it until it roots. Both ways have worked for me.

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