Starting African Violets

Frilly and elegant African Violets are gorgeous and are the only plant that intimidates me on a large-scale.

Their beautiful bloom and the velvety leaves are the two reasons that I continue to try to grow them.  My Aunt Kathleen had such a green thumb when it came to growing these beauties.  She had so many of them in every color under the sun!  Last fall I got some leaves from a friend and tried once again to get them to grow.  I got really frustrated and took these steps.

Start with a stem like this.

Using a pair of scissors, snip most of the stem off.

Leave about a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch piece of stem on the leaf.

Then cut the top of the leaf off leaving about an inch of bottom on that little stem you just cut.

I know this works because I finally got six plants started and more seem to be coming on.  Proceed!

All of the instructions I have said to use a special African Violet potting soil but I just used some leftover Miracle Gro potting mix and it did fine.  Take a lead pencil and make a small hole in the soil for the stem you’ve cut.

I used a rooting hormone called “Take Root” that I stuck the stem of the cutting in a little water and then into the white powdered rooting hormone. It works, I promise!
Next, stick the stem of the cutting into that hole and press the soil tightly around it. NOW WAIT!

It took about two months before I really started seeing results.  Truthfully,  I didn’t figure it would work so I took several cuttings and put them in a tin foil pan that I filled with the Miracle Gro just as directed above.  I had about 10 – 15 cuttings in that 10″ by 12″ tin foil casserole pan that I bought at the grocery store.

I started seeing results but still wasn’t sure they would make it through the winter. I put the pan in a north facing window of my upstairs foyer which stays around 50 – 65 degrees in the winter. It got lots of light and I only watered them when the soil looked dry, careful not to get the leaves wet. Water will make ugly spots on the leaves so water from the dirt, not over the leaves.

In March those plants took off and I had a pan full of 5″- 7″ plants and little ones coming up under the big ones.

And I had my first bloom!!!

It was time to come out of the foil pan and go into individual pots.  Sunday afternoon I went to work separating (gently) from the pan and re-potting in nice little pots I got at Dollar Tree for $1 each.

I placed them in an east facing window along with the pan that small plants are still growing in. They all got a good drink of water and they’ll be fertilized in about a month.

Now, I wait and see how they all do and when I have pots full of bloom, I’ll show them off in another post.

6 thoughts on “Starting African Violets

  1. tonytomeo

    Someone else just wrote about growing succulents from leaves. I explained that I prefer good old fashioned cuttings the were not only easier, but grew more mature plants. To me, leaf cuttings are for plants that there is limited stock for, particularly if many copies are needed quick. However, African violets do not provide stems for cuttings. I suppose that the good news is that they are so easy to grow from leaves.

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      1. tonytomeo

        I grow most things in my garden, but all my roses were purchased as grafted bare root plants. I never grew one from cutting. However, it is probably just as simple as growing anything else from cutting. It should be done while they are dormant. Rooting hormone should be helpful.

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