I spent the morning propagating new African Violets from existing plants. Why? I’m nervous about the weather. This fall, I lost a couple of plants due to a sudden cold snap before we turned the furnace on. Lucky for me, I already had some leaves propagating.
The process is fairly simple. Cut a leaf from the plant. Taking leaves from the second row is best because they’re younger than those on the outer edge. Snip the top third of the leaf and cut the leaf stem – called the petiole – on a 45 degree angle. Plant it in a small pot filled with a light soilless mixture. I like to use half African Violet mix that you can buy in most nurseries and half perlite.
The cups are simply plastic with a hole poked into the bottom. I use a hammer and an ice pick to poke the hole and then I slip a bit of yarn or nylon string through the hole to act as a watering wick. What works best for me is twisted nylon Mason line #18.
Finally, place a larger plastic cup with holes in the top for air circulation over the smaller cup. This creates a mini greenhouse for humidity.
Then you wait.
In about three months, if you’re lucky, you’ll get something that looks like this.
The trick is to never over-water or under-water. Figuring that out takes some practice and, frankly, some luck. I’ve switched from plain, filtered water to water with a bit of chamomile tea. Just as the tea prevents damping off with seeds, it seems to prevent leaf rot.
In about a year, I may have something that looks like this beautiful Bob Serbin violet.
I have several go-to places for information about African Violets. One is The Violet Barn.