I think one of the most beautiful and dainty of house plants are African Violets. I tend to have problems keeping them due to over-watering and moving them from one spot to another. I have learned from past experience that they love my upstairs hallway window where no one sees their beauty but me and they seem to like the east facing window in our guest room which is also upstairs where they spend the winter months with my other houseplants for warmth.
This violet was a start from a friend and in this post I will show you how I got a lot more plants from the one.
During late summer of 2018 this plant was doing so well that I decided to try to propagate some more from it. I was going to feel like a “master gardener” if I got one plant going. Instead I got a whole pan full and they came in at different stages. First let me tell you the dictionary meaning of propagate: breed specimens of (a plant or animal) by natural processes from the parent stock.
I started my “starts” in a 5 x 7 foil pan and filled it with Miracle Gro potting soil. I’ve never had any luck starting them in “African Violet Potting Soil”; I sprayed the top of the dirt with a fine mist of just plain water (not chlorinated) just to dampen the soil.
This is a stem from the parent plant that I pinched off at the base of the plant. I try to find a healthy stem for my starts.
The next step requires scissors that have been dipped in alcohol or bleach to sterilize before cutting into the stem.
Cut the lower end of the stem off up to about a 1/2 – 3/4 inch below the bottom of the leaf. Throw the stem away.
Here’s the crazy part, cut the upper most part of the leaf off. A lot of energy goes into that leaf and we need for the energy to go into stem part to grow roots for the plant.
I will also place that part in the dirt but we want to focus on the stem and half leaf at the moment.
In the top picture of the dirt you will note a pencil size hole poked into the dirt. That is where I place the cut leaf.
In this photo you can see where I placed both pieces of that main stem. I’m not sure if the upper portion of the leaf will root or not but I have nothing to lose by sticking it in the dirt. Before I pinched off the stem from the mother I watered the plants careful not to do too much. If it had been summer time I probably would have placed them in their own pot instead of the same planter the mother plant is in.
This is the foil plant the mother and babes are in now. When the weather warms up I will start each plant in its own pot. It not noticeable from looking at this but there are babes under the leaves of the mother plant.
Lifting the leaves of the mother plant and getting my camera lens in close you can see the new babes. They’re not even a 10th the size of the large plant and yet were planted at the same time.
Close up of a few more plants under the leaves.
There are two large plants in the pot along with the babes. One of them has not bloomed but I believe it will be a pink bloom.
I’m very anxious to collect more starts from other people because they come in such a huge variety of colors. A few tips if you decide to try the violets:
Be careful when watering and try not to get water directly on the leaves
Let the potting mix get dry between waterings, I only water about every 10 days.
Try a east-facing window to keep them but away from drafts.
Hope you will try some of the delicate beauties.