African violet leaf cuttings

Taking leaf cuttings from african violets is very easy, however, it does take a while (several weeks) before you get a new plant. This is how I do it:

  1. Get a jar ready by drilling (or punching) holes in the lid (I’ll add as many holes as possible so that leaves can be rested on the lid without touching).
  2. Fill the jar up to the brim with water (I’ve successfully used water straight out of the tap although some poeple swear by rainwater or cooled boiled water) and screw on the lid (obviously!).
  3. Select a healthy, reasonably mature leaf from a well-established parent plant.
  4. Cut the leaf away from the parent plant, leaving a section of stem approx. 1cm (a bit under half an inch in old money).
  5. Immediately insert the stem of the leaf in a hole in the lid of the jar. Make sure that the tip of the stem is well immersed in the water.
  6. Place the jar in a light-ish position but not in constant sun (an east-facing windowsill is ideal although a north-facing one will do). The temperature should be maintained at room temperature.
  7. Check on the water level every few days and top up if necessary – do not allow the stem tips to get dry.
  8. Be patient! The leaves may sit there for a few weeks (normally at least three) before anything happens. If the leaf starts to turn brown and/or shrivel then it’s probably not going to ‘take’ and can be removed – otherwise leave them alone.
  9. After several weeks, you will be rewarded with the sight of several rootlets appearing around the end of the stem. These are delicate-looking translucent threads and means you’ve been successful (so far).
  10. Once you see the roots appear, leave the leaves in place for a week or so in order for them to develop a bit.
  11. Prepare some small (e.g. 5cm / 2 inch) pots for each leaf that has roots. I use a decent quality seed compost but have used multi-purpose compost with good results. Make sure that the compost is very moist and dib little 1cm (half inch) holes in the middle of the pots.
  12. Remove the leaves from the lid, be careful not to damage the roots.
  13. Immediately place the roots and stems in the holes in the pots and gently firm the compost around the roots/stems.
  14. Place the pots in similar position to the jars (i.e. an east-facing windowsill).
  15. Keep the compost in the pots moist (I stand the pots in a large tray which I top up with water so that the pots are watered from the bottom and the leaves remain dry – this stops them from rotting before the roots have ‘taken’ in the compost).
  16. Again – be patient! It may take a few weeks before you start to see some leaflets appearing beside the original leaf.
  17. Once you have several decent sized leaves you can re-pot as you like.

NB. Since this is quite a slow process, I tend to do a lot of leaves in one go.

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