You can root African violets in water by filling a container with room temperature water and placing cling wrap taut over the top, then sticking leaves taken from the mother plant into holes in the cellophane. Make sure the cuttings reach the water. Then place the container in a spot with bright, indirect light and optimal humidity and temperature.
Change the water once a week, and roots should start to appear within two weeks.
After a month or a month and a half, the mother leaves will grow plantlets. Move the baby plants to a pot when they are about half an inch long.
To learn more about how to root African violets in water, keep reading.
African violet propagation from leaf
Using leaves from a parent plant to propagate African violets is quite easy and will cause very little change to the aesthetic of the parent plant.
When choosing which leaves to cut off for rooting, pick ones that are mature but not too old. Young leaves will root just the same, but it might take them longer to do so. If you accidentally break off a leaf that is fairly young, you can still let it root in water.
Use a sterilized pair of scissors to cut off the leaf so that you do not infect the parent plant with any fungi or bacteria, and try to cut the stem at an angle.
How to root African violets in water
Propagating African violet leaves in water can be fun because you get to see the progress of the rooting very clearly.
Prepare a glass container and fill it with water. Stretch some cling wrap over the mouth of the container until it is taut. Poke holes in the cling wrap using a bamboo skewer; these will be where you will insert the cuttings.
Once you have chosen the leaves, cut them with a sterile pair of scissors and place the cut leaf into a hole in the cling wrap, making sure the end of the cutting reaches the water. Only the stem should touch the water; the actual leaf should not get wet.
Use room temperature water only. Tap water can be used, but if you think your tap water is heavy in minerals, you can use filtered water instead.
Only change the water once a week, or whenever the water starts to look murky. Refill the container if the water level drops below the bottom of the cutting to ensure that the stem is always touching the water.
Place the container in a spot where it can get bright, indirect light most of the day and where the temperature and humidity are stable.
Now, all you need to do is to wait and monitor your cuttings. After one or two weeks, you should be able to see tiny roots forming. Do not worry If the growth is slow, as long as the leaf itself is looking healthy.
After two weeks, the leaves should have grown their first roots. Your cuttings may not all form roots at the same rate because of the difference in the maturity of the leaves you chose for cuttings.
After two months, you should be seeing baby plants, or plantlets, starting to grow. By this time the roots should be long and strong, and their growth will have got faster.
By this time, the plantlets will have grown nicely. Each leaf-cutting you rooted will ideally produce multiple plantlets. You can now remove the plantlets from the main leaf as they are ready to be planted in soil in their own small containers. You can also choose to keep the main leaves in the water and let the baby plants grow out their roots just a little bit longer.
Separating the baby plant from the main cutting
The plantlets are growing from the petiole of the main leaf. Remove the plantlet gently with your fingers, or you can use a sterile knife and tweezers to be more precise.
Prepare a small pot with moist, well-draining potting mix. Poke a hole in the middle of the soil and place the plantlet in it. Make sure all of the plant’s roots are covered with soil.
You can place the pot inside a Ziploc bag for a few weeks because the humidity inside the bag will be higher than outside. This will help the plant grow better while also keeping it safe from pests and disease.
Other methods of propagation
Propagating in soil
Rooting African violet cuttings in soil is similar to rooting them in water, except you cannot see the roots as they form. Cut the petiole the same way, at an angle.
Prepare a small pot with well-draining soil, poke a hole in the middle and place the cutting inside it. Try not to push the cutting too deep into the hole. You can water the soil around the cutting a little bit, but not too much.
If you do not want to constantly water the plant, place the small containers inside a large, clear plastic container. This elevates the humidity around the plants and keeps the moisture locked in. Do not forget to open the plastic container every week or so to let fresh air circulate for a bit and water the plants if they need it.
You can use any container, as long as it is clear so as not to impede the light from reaching the plants.
Place the container in a spot where the plants can get sufficient bright, indirect light and where the temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and stable.
After you have done all this, all you need to do is wait for the roots to start developing.
If you think you pushed the cutting too deep into the soil, you can remove some soil from the top layer, as long as the plant is secured.
After two months, you should see baby plants growing around the base of the cutting.
Just like with water rooting, you can remove the plantlets from the main leaf when they are big enough. Plant them in their own small pots and you can now care for them the same way you would a regular African violet plant.
You can root your African violets in water by choosing mature leaves from a parent plant and inserting them through holes poked in cling film over a clear container filled with water. Make sure the ends of the cuttings are touching the water. Place the container near a window that provides bright, indirect light and ensures the temperature and humidity around it are optimal.
After a few weeks, roots will start to grow and soon plantlets will appear on the petiole.
After two months, the roots on the plantlets will be long and strong enough for you to cut them off the main leaf and plant them in their own small pots, in well-draining soil.
Image: istockphoto.com / cliper