Monday, January 25, 2021

African Violet propagation from a leaf


Oddly enough, some of my African violets are blooming right now. They're fairly old (probably 8+ years), and one of the benefits of the MIL's house (although she probably is not happy that I've taken over the table in her living room, lol) is the beautiful light she has in this room. The challenge is that it's well past time to repot these plants, although they are testament to the fact that these plants like to be crowded into small pots, because they are extremely top-heavy.

Those who know me are aware that I like plants that are small, and I'm delighted by the idea that enough genetic material in a single leaf is capable of starting a whole new plant...if you can keep the leaf alive long enough. However, once the plants are large...I like to find them a new home. Unfortunately, we are plagued by fungus gnats (from a set of plants someone gifted the MIL several years ago), so I don't feel comfortable giving anyone that headache along with a plant. If I ever find an experienced violet gardener, I will be happy to gift the plant without soil (the gnats lay their eggs in the topsoil) and let the new owner pot the plant.


Starting a new plant:

I used to fill a small jar with water, put plastic wrap over the top, cut a small x into the wrap in several places (I usually just stab it with a sharp knife), then break off a fairly mature violet leaf (keep the stem relatively long so it can sit in the water and make a sharp break or cut with a sharp knife), and watch it for several weeks. 

As long as the stem doesn't start rotting, roots start emerging from the end in the water. You can transplant to a pot with African violet soil or you can continue to watch until a fairly healthy cluster of leaves starts growing, then transplant. I try not to let the stem touch the bottom of the jar, so you may need to shorten the stem a little bit if that's an issue.



I've developed a modicum of patience (snicker, I'm the one who used to dig up seeds to see if anything was happening, lol), so now I go ahead and put the stems into loosely packed violet potting mix that I keep a little moist.

 Before the world went nuts, I had purchased a couple of bricks of coconut coir (which is theoretically more ecologically beneficial than using peat pots), so the most recent venture is shown using that potting medium. 

I always celebrate when I see those small leaves start to push up from the soil. Now I just have to be patient enough to let them grow sufficiently so that they don't go into shock when I transplant them into their new home.


The three parent leaves are large, and the baby plants are several months old (?maybe 5 months?)

I figure this is a fun way for folks with kids to teach them about nature. Once I get my pictures in order, I'll show how this can be done with succulents as well.

Stay safe!

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