Sunday, April 1, 2012

Propagating African Violets from Leaf Cuttings

One of my favorite experiments we've done in my horticulture lab this year is propagating new African Violets plants from leaf cuttings. Because our class gets to use the fancy mist house to root plants so, since I'm assuming most of you don't have access to a mist house, the technique I will describe here will be a bit different.

My mature African Violet that I took my leaf cuttings from.

1. Prepare your rooting media. In the greenhouse, we usually use sand, but I've read elsewhere that others prefer a mix of half perlite and half potting soil. Whichever you choose, fill up a 6-inch plastic pot with your rooting media and set it aside.

2. Take a mature African violet plant and choose a strong, healthy leaf. Cut off the leaf, leaving a good amount of leaf-petiole still attached. You cutting should look like this:
3. Make a hole in your rooting media with your finger and set the tip of the leaf cutting into it. Cover it lightly with soil so it stands upright and drizzle water over the soil so it's moist.

4. Put the cutting in a large plastic bag, blowing into it before zipping it shut.

5. Set it in bright, but indirect light and make sure to open the bag for about a half hour every four days or so to allow good air circulation.

6. After 3 or 4 weeks, check your leaf cutting for roots. If roots have formed, slowly acclimate the leaf cuttings to the air outside the bag so you can eventually take it out of the bag completely. If you choose to root the leaf in sand, once the roots have formed, transplant it to a pot with potting soil.

 My three leaf cuttings. They really seem to like it by the heater in my room. 

After a few weeks after rooting, new leaves will start to form. This is the beginning of your new African Violet. Once these leaves get bigger, the original leaf cutting will die off. (Don't worry, that's supposed to happen.)

 One of my leaf cuttings. This is what the new plant will look like. 

-African Violets don't like to be top watered, so keep the pot in a dish and pour water into the dish, letting the dry soil soak it up and try not to get water on their leaves. This can cause leaf spotting and other problems. Try to keep the soil moist all the time. This way your African Violets will stay a lot healthier and happier. 
-If you want to do more than one, I suggest rooting all of the the cuttings in the same pot, then dividing them into separate pots after the roots have formed.
-They like sunlight but direct sunlight isn't necessary. They also like warm temperatures. I keep mine near the heater in my room and they seem to love it.


  1. So helpful, thanks! Going to go cut some leaves and try this.

    1. Thank you for reading! I hope you have some luck propagating! :)