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Four Ways to Propagate African Violets

Updated on May 24, 2018
Jeanne Grunert profile image

Jeanne Grunert is a Virginia Master Gardener, gardening magazine columnist, and book author. She is a full-time freelance writer.

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Four Ways to Propagate African Violets

African violets are easy to propagate. You can grow new African violet plants from seeds, leaf cuttings, or divisions. Seeds are perhaps the most difficult method to use to grow new African violet plants, but if you want to collect different types of African violets, seeds offer an easy method for obtaining new and unusual varieties from mail order sources. Leaf cuttings are perhaps the most common method of propagation, and there are two simple methods for growing new African violet plants from leaf cuttings. Lastly, when African violets grow too large for their pot, they often create separate crowns, or centers, which can be divided. Learn about these four methods of propagating African violets and grow more of your favorites for your indoor home garden.

Growing African Violets from Seeds

African violets can be grown from seeds. You will need:

  • African violet seeds - you can obtain these from many online sources and plant catalogs
  • Seed starting trays
  • Indoor grow lights - it is best to start African violet seeds indoors, under lights if possible
  • Sterile seed starting mixture

African violet seeds are so tiny that they are easy to lose, so be sure to have all your materials ready before planting the seeds. Take the clean seed starting trays and fill the compartments with sterile seed starting mixture. Thoroughly water the mixture so that the soil is moist throughout, but not sopping wet. Set up the indoor light system if you need to do so.

Carefully open the package of seeds. Gently tap a seed into each compartment of the seed starting tray on top of the soil. Do not press them into the soil. Let them remain on top of the soil.

Cover the tray with a clear plastic dome or another cover to keep the soil moist. Mist or water as necessary. African violet seeds can take a long time to germinate, depending upon the type of seeds. It may take more than a month before you see your new African violets emerge, so be patient. Save the seed package so you have the information about when to expect your seedlings. One common mistake is for people to give up too soon and think that the seeds won't germinate. They end up discarding the seeds before they have a chance to grow.

When the seedlings emerge, you can remove the plastic dome but keep them well-watered. Transplant to larger containers when they have at least two sets of leaves.

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Two Methods of Propagation Using Leaf Cuttings

Many African violet growers propagate them using leaf cuttings. It is easy to grow new African violets from leaf cuttings. You can grow them in plain water or use rooting hormone and soil.

Starting Leaf Cuttings in a Glass of Water

Choose a large, healthy leaf. Cut the stem, leaving as much stem as possible. Take a plain glass or glass jar and fill with water. Take a piece of aluminum foil and place it over the top of the container. Cut a slit in the foil and submerge the stem, leaving the leaf above the foil. Set in a bright eastern or western window or under plant lights. Roots will grow from the stem tip, and when the cutting has a nice set of roots, you can transplant it into a pot with soil.

Starting Leaf Cuttings in Soil

The second method of starting African violet leaf cuttings is to grow them directly in soil. Cut a healthy leaf from the plant as described above, but tap the stem tip gently into rooting hormone mixture. Insert the stem into sterile potting soil placed in a small container. Keep moist. When you see new leaves emerge, you'll know your cutting rooted successfully.

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Dividing African Violets

When African violets grow too big for their pots, they often develop suckers, which look like smaller crowns or center portions of the plant. Each one can be divided off into a new plant. Your newly planted violets may appear lopsided at first, but over time the plant will produce new leaves and you may have a beautiful new plant.

Choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the violet. Fill it halfway with sterile potting soil. Remove the existing plant from its pot by holding it over newspaper (or do this outside as it may be messy) and gently tapping the sides and bottom of the container until it slips out of the pot. Shake off as much soil as possible. Use a sharp knife and gently pry the crowns or suckers apart. Place each in a separate container and repot them as normal. Keep well watered and moist until the plant becomes established again.

African Violets as House Plants

African violets are fairly easy to propagate, and if they like the area where they are growing indoors, they will be healthy and vigorous plants. You can grow them from seed, leaf cuttings, or divisions. Over time, as you add more to your collection, you can truly add a beautiful, colorful indoor flower display to your home thanks to the prolific and lovely African violet.

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© 2012 Jeanne Grunert

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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      You've chosen one of the most liked houseplants so I would hope this hub will go far. The African violet is delicate and beautiful and you can't go wrong having it in your house.

      Voted up.

    • snlee profile image

      snlee 

      5 years ago from Asia Pacific Regions

      Ideal flower plant for indoor decoration......

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