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Debbie's African Violets

~~African Violet Propagation~~
 

When I propagate African Violets from leaves, I plant the leaves in the same potting mix that I use for planting my violets.  The container for the leaves should always have holes in the bottom for drainage of excess water.  The leaves are kept moist, but not too wet.  If the leaves are kept very wet, they will rot. 

Miniature and Micro-Mini Leaves
 
For miniature or micro-mini leaves I like to use something small like a 1-ounce medicine cup.  Make holes in the bottom of the cup and fill about 2/3 with potting mix.  Barely moisten the mix with fertilizer water. 
 
Cut the leaf petioles at an angle with a very sharp razor blade, knife or scissors leaving them about 1/2" long.  Make the cut on the front side of the leaf (see Picture B below).  Gently insert the leaves into the soil about 1/4" deep being careful not to bruise the tiny leaves.  (Picture #1)  Add a few more drops of fertilizer water if needed.  Label the cup with the name of the violet and the date the leaves were planted.
 
Since the leaves are so small, I like to put several leaves in the same cup.  These are leaves of Ramblin' Snowflakes, a miniature trailer.  These leaves were planted on March 7, 2007.
 
Suggestion:  If you don't have any of these little cups, an excellent alternative for these small leaves is a styrofoam egg carton.  Cut off the top cover of the egg carton.  Poke drainage holes in the bottom of each egg section and fill about half full of potting mix.  Plant leaves in each section.
 
 

Picture #1

Put the cup of leaves into a clear container and cover.  (Picture #2)  Put this on your lightstand or a windowsill.  Occasionally, check to be sure the leaves are not too wet or dry.

Picture #2

May 4, 2007 - It's been two months since the leaves were planted, and there are several babies growing.  (Picture #3)  It won't be long before they can be separated from the leaves, but they need to get larger first.  Continue to keep them covered and moist.  Place them where they will get plenty of light.

Picture #3

It's now been 12 weeks since the leaves were planted.  The leaves have produced lots of babies, and they are ready to be separated.  (Picture #4)

Picture #4

Gently pull the leaves with the babies out of the cup.  Separate the clumps so you can work on one leaf at a time.  (Picture #5)

Picture #5

Using tweezers or the sharp point of a pencil gently separate the babies from the leaf.  Try to leave as many roots on each baby as possible.  However, if some come off with no roots, they can still be planted and will make roots.  (Picture #6)

Picture #6

Plant each of the tiny babies in a 1" or thumb pot.  (Picture #7)  The pots should have holes in the bottoms for drainage of excess water.  I use my regular potting mix and moisten it with fertilizer water which is mixed at the rate of 1/8th teaspoon to a gallon of water.  The soil should be moist but not too wet.  Label each pot with the name of the violet and date.

Picture #7

Put the potted babies in a container with a clear lid.  (Picture #8)  Place the container on your light stand.  Keep the plants covered for approximately one month, or until they are well rooted and you see new growth.  Make sure they stay damp, not too wet or too dry.
 
 
 
The babies can then be removed from the covered container, planted into larger pots and grown along side your other plants.

Picture #8

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Semi-Miniature and Standard Leaves

 

For semi-miniature and standard leaves I use 3-oz. solo cups.  Make holes in the bottom of the cup (Picture A) and fill about half full of potting mix.  Moisten the mix with fertilizer water. 
 

Picture A

On the front side of the leaf cut the petiole (stem) at an angle with a very sharp blade or scissors leaving it about 1" long.  Let the cut dry for about 10 minutes before planting.  Also, cut off the tip of the leaf.  This prevents the leaf from continuing to grow while it makes plantlets.  (Picture B)

Picture B

Put the leaf into the soil about 1/4"-1/2" deep.  (Picture C)  Do not pack the soil around the leaf.  Add a little more fertilizer water if needed.  The soil should only be damp, not too wet.  Label the cup with the name of the violet and the date you planted the leaf.
 
This leaf was planted on March 24, 2007.

Picture C

Place the cup into a clear container with a cover.  (Picture D)  You can use a clear plastic shoe box, deli container, plant tray with a cover or a ziploc bag.  Put it under your plant lights or on a windowsill.  Occasionally, check to be sure the leaf is not too wet or has dried out.

Picture D

May 14, 2007 - It's been about 7 weeks since the leaf was planted, and babies are beginning to grow at the base of the leaf.  (Picture E)
 
Continue to keep the leaf in a covered container with plenty of light, and make sure it doesn't dry out.  The babies need to keep growing until they are large enough to separate from the mother leaf.

Picture E

June 6, 2007 - It's now been about 11 weeks since the leaf was planted.  The babies have grown much larger and are now ready to be separated from the leaf.  (Picture F)  You can separate babies when they are large enough to handle without damaging them.  I like to wait until the baby leaves are about the size of a dime.

Picture F

Gently pull the leaf with the babies out of the cup.  I suggest working on paper towels or newspaper for easy clean-up.  (Picture G)

Picture G

Using tweezers, the sharp point of a pencil or a chopstick gently separate the babies from the leaf.  Try to leave as many roots on each baby as possible.  However, if some of the babies come off with no roots, they can still be planted and will grow roots.  (Picture H)

Picture H

Plant each baby in it's own little pot.  I use 3-ounce Solo cups and my regular potting mix.  Dampen the potting mix with fertilizer water.  There should be drainage holes in the bottom of the cups so excess moisture can drain out.  Be sure to label the cups with the name of the violet and the date it was planted.  (Picture I)

Picture I

Put the potted babies in a container with a clear lid, and place the container on your light stand.  (Picture J)  Keep the plants covered for approximately one month, or until they are well rooted and you see new growth.  Make sure they stay damp, not too wet or too dry.
 
 
 
The babies can then be removed from the covered container, planted into larger pots and grown along side your other plants.

Picture J



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Baskets

Sometimes plantlets will form on a bloomstalk.  These are called "baskets".  There are two plantlets on this bloomstalk.  They can be removed and treated like suckers to root and make new plants.
 

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Rooting Leaves In Long-Fibered Sphagnum Moss
 
Another medium that can be used for rooting leaves, suckers and cuttings is long-fibered sphagnum moss.  It is a good option if you have trouble with your leaves rotting before they make plantlets.  When you buy the long-fibered sphagnum moss, it is very dry.  Soak a small amount in warm water until it absorbs water and is soft.  Then squeeze the water out of the moss and put it in the pot you are using. 

The procedure is the same as rooting in potting mix (see above).  After making a diagonal cut in the petiole, insert the leaf about 1/4" into the moss.  The moss should be kept only damp, not too wet.  Be sure to label the container with the plant name and date.
Cover the container and put it under fluorescent lights or on a window sill.  Make sure the moss stays just damp and doesn't dry out.
In a few weeks you will see plantlets beginning to emerge.

After about 2-1/2 months the plantlets are big enough to be separated into their own small pots.  The procedure of separating the plantlets and repotting them is the same as above (when the leaves were rooted in potting mix).

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