AFRICAN VIOLET PROPAGATION FROM A LEAF
MAKE A 45 DEGREE CUT ON THE LEAF STEM ABOUT 1- 1½ INCHES FROM THE BOTOM OF THE LEAF. USE A VERY SHARP KNIFE OR RAZOR BLADE. THIS NEEDS TO BE A CLEAN CUT. YOU DON’T WANT TO CRUSH THE LEAF STEM WHILE YOU ARE CUTTING IT. MAKE THE CUT FACING THE SAME WAY THE LEAF IS FACING.
POKE A WATERING HOLE IN THE BOTTOM OF THE SOLO CUP AND MARK THE NAME OF THE PLANT ON THE SOLO CUP WITH A SHARPIE. YOU WILL WANT TO BE ABLE TO IDENTIFY YOUR PLANT AS IT GETS OLDER AND NEEDS TO BE REPOTTED INTO A BIGGER POT.
FILL A 3 OUNCE PLASTIC SOLO CUP (YOU CAN FIND THESE AT THE GROCERY STORE OR AT WAL-MART) WITH A 1/2 AND 1/2 MIXTURE OF PERLITE AND VERMICULITE OR AFRICAN VIOLET SOIL TO ABOUT 1/4 OF AN INCH FROM THE TOP OF THE CUP. MOISTEN IT SLIGHTLY AND POKE A HOLE IN THE MIXTURE WITH A PENCIL.
PLACE THE LEAF INTO THIS MIXTURE SO THERE IS ABOUT 3/4 OF AN INCH OF SPACE FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE LEAF AND THE SURFACE OF THE SOIL. LIGHTLY TAMP THE MIXTURE OR THE SOIL AROUND THE LEAF STEM.
KEEP THIS MIXTURE MOIST BUT NOT WET. THE SECRET IS TO KEEP THE FINE NEW ROOTS MOIST SO THEY CAN SPREAD OUT. YOU CAN PLACE THE CUP INTO A SAUCER OF WATER UNTIL THE MIXTURE DRAWS UP SOME OF THE WATER AND IS MOISTENED. YOU CAN PUT YOUR LEAF AND CUP INTO A ZIP-LOCK BAG FOR EXTRA HUMIDITY.
PUT YOUR LEAF IN A WARM, WELL LIGHTED PLACE (NOT IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT) AND IN ABOUT 4-6 WEEKS YOU SHOULD SEE THE NEW LITTLE LEAVES POKING UP FROM THE BASE OF THE LEAF.
LET THE BABY LEAVES GET TO ABOUT THE SIZE OF A DIME BEFORE REPOTTING THEM INTO THEIR OWN POTS.
Propagation of African Violets Using a Leaf Cutting
By Renee Wilson
1.) Choose a healthy leaf from the middle row of leaves and remove it. Don’t use an older outer leaf as these are not desirable. The outer leaves are not as vigorous, take longer to put out plantlets and will not give you optimum results.
2.) Make a 45 degree cut on the petiole (stem) about 1 to 1 1/2 inch from the leaf base using a very sharp knife or razor blade. You want to get the cleanest cut possible and avoid crushing or damaging the petiole.
3.) Use a very light and porous rooting medium. This will enable you to keep the leaf petiole uniformly moist. I use a 50/50 mix of Perlite and Vermiculite. Keep this medium moist at all times. If the medium dries out, the new delicate and fine roots will wither and die. Please note: I said keep moist….NOT WET!
***The reason I do not use regular potting soil to start leaves is because when the little leaves are brand new and very small, sometimes the regular potting soil is too heavy for them to push their way though easily.***
4.) I like to use a plastic 3 ounce Solo cup that has 3 or 4 holes poked in the bottom. MAKE SURE you put the name of the mother plant on the cup with a Sharpie or other permanent marker so you can identify your leaf !! This is very important! It takes a long time for plants to grow from leaf to blooming plant and you might lose the mother plant in the meantime so you won’t have anything to compare the bloom to later. You don’t want to go to all this trouble and then not be able to identify your plant when it is mature.
5.) Fill the cup up to about 1/4 inch from the top with the Perlite/Vermiculite mixture.
6.) Place the petiole of the cut leaf into the Perlite/Vermiculite mixture leaving about 1/2 inch from the surface of the medium to the base of the leaf. Then put into a saucer of water until the perlite/vermiculite mixture soaks up enough water. This will take about 10-30 seconds.
7.) Put your leaf under the same lights as the rest of your plants and keep moist. If you grow under artificial light, keep it about 12 inches under the lights. If you grow in natural light, make sure it is in very good light away from drafts and colder windows.
8.) You will notice tiny little leaves pushing their way up through the Perlite/ Vermiculite mixture in 6 to 12 weeks.
Let them grow until the leaves are about the size of a dime and then they will be ready to transplant into bigger pots and regular potting soil. You will very often get at least 2 or 3 strong little plantlets from each leaf.
Please remember, this is how I start my leaves and it has worked very well for me. Everyone has different methods so my best advice is to experiment, ask questions of other growers, read the articles relating to leaf propagation in the African Violet Magazine and find the way that works best for you and your growing conditions.
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THE CENTRAL CALIFORNIA AFRICAN VIOLET SOCIETY MEETS THE 3RD MONDAY OF THE MONTH AT 6:30 PM