Sunday, August 19, 2012
Propagating African Violets
My grandmother, Carrie Lou, always had beautiful African violets growing in her home. I'm sure that's why I'm so fond of them. They're probably really old-fashioned and out of style now, but I enjoy keeping a few to remind me of my sweet little Granny.
African violets are fairly fuss-free. They like light, but not direct sunlight. You can also forget to water them for a little while, and they will still be ok. The main thing you need to be careful of when watering is to make sure you don't get water on the leaves. If you do, the leaves will get grey round spots that look like a disease. It's best to water carefully from the top and then set the pot in a dish of water for a few hours in order to water from the bottom.
When African violets stay too moist for too long, they rot and drop all of their leaves. If watering correctly is a pain for you, there are special pots made just for African violets that allow the plant to get only the amount of water they need. I'm sure your local nursery carries them.
Did you know it is really easy to propagate an African violet? All you do is snip off some of the leaves making sure to include plenty of stem. It is better to snip leaves closer to the center than the mature leaves on the outside of the plant, as propagated plants from mature leaves may not bloom. Next, dip the cut stem in rooting hormone, and push the stem into a pot containing African Violet Mix (which comes already mixed in a bag). If you do not have rooting hormone (found at garden centers ) don't worry about it as some sources tell you not to use it. I've had good luck with it - so I do.
The rest is just keeping your little pot watered, not saturated, and waiting patiently. After about 8 weeks you should see some new little leaves peeking their heads above the dirt. I would let the new plants grow for another 2 months or so, but then they should be strong enough to separate and plant in their own pots.
If you are a beginning gardener, this is a great learning project. African violets are indoor plants, so you shouldn't have all the hassle of too much heat, drying out too fast, bugs, critters, etc. If you're successful, think of all the little violets you can give to your friends as gifts - and what is more satisfying than that?
Are you an African violet grower? What tips do you have? I would love for you to share your expertise.
Thanks for stopping by,