How to Propagate African Violets (Step-By-Step With Photos)

I have had African Violets around my house for over 40 years. They are one of my favorite flowers and, in my opinion, are among the most beautiful plants in the world. The great thing is that I haven’t bought one of them since the 1960s. This is because they are fairly easy to propagate.

The best way to propagate an African violet is by leaf-cutting, then inserting the stem (petiole) about an inch into a hole in potting soil at a 45-degree angle. Then, gently pat down the soil around the stem and keep it moist, but not wet. Roots typically form in 3 or 4 weeks.

African Violet Leaf-Cutting Propagation Step-By-Step:

  1. Cut or pinch off a large healthy leaf with at least 2 inches of the stem (petiole).
Anne- James-Pinching-off-an-African-Violet-Leaf

2. Fill a flower pot with good African violet potting soil.

3. Cut the end of the stem (petiole) off at an angle with a clean pair of scissors.

Cutting-the-Stem-of-an-African-Violet

4. Dip the angled end of the petiole into a rooting medium. (Optional)

5. Using a pencil or other small round object, make a 2-inch hole in the soil at a 45-degree angle.

Making-a-Hole-in-Potting-Soil-With-a-Pencil-for-Propagation

6. Insert the petiole into the hole in the potting soil.

Inserting-the-Stem-of-an-African-Violet-Into-a-Hole-in-Potting-Soil-in-a-Pot

7. Gently pat the soil around the petiole.

Patting-the-Soil-Around-a-Propagated-African-Violet-Stem

8. Keep the soil moistened, but not wet. Expect roots to form in 3 or 4 weeks.

Enjoy your beautiful new plant!

Plants grown from a leaf cutting will produce a plant that is exactly like the parent plant, except for “Chimera” African violets, which are very rare and must be propagated with suckers.

What Are African Violets?

Purple-African-Violet
One of my Purple Beauties

African Violets are mainly house plants whose botanical name is Streptocarpus ionanthus, formerly Saintpaulis ionanthus, but they were discovered in 1892 by Baron von St. Paul in Tanzania and Kenya growing wild in the mountains under the cover of larger plants. 

There are many different varieties that range in color from white to all shades of pink, to all shades of purple, blues, and reds. And although they are called African Violets, they are not violets but members of the Gesneriad family, which are mainly tropical and subtropical plants.

How Large Do African Violets Grow?

African violets come in many sizes, which range as follows:

  • Miniatures that are 2-6” in diameter, 
  • Semi-miniatures, 6-8” in diameter, 
  • Standard, 10-12” in diameter, and 
  • Large, 18-24” in diameter.

The Kind of Environments Do African Violets

What Temperature and How Much Light Is Needed by African Violets?

African violets need a sufficient amount of light for proper growth. They prefer a moderately warm temperature and prefer not being placed directly under an air conditioning vent. They like bright light but prefer indirect sunlight, as direct contact with bright sunlight will burn the leaves and result in brown spots where the sunlight hits them directly. If they don’t get a sufficient amount of light, they will not bloom.

If you don’t have the ideal location for growing your African violets, you can use artificial or grow lights. According to information provided by The Violet Barn, who specializes in African Violets and other rare houseplants, they recommend placing the light fixture 12-18 inches above the plants for 12-13 hours per day.

The Best Soil and Container for African Violets

African violets prefer loamy soil with a slightly acidic pH. It is best to pot them in soil that is formulated specifically for African Violets, but they also do well in all-purpose potting soil. 

There are recipes for making your own African violet potting soil, and I prefer using equal parts peat moss, vermiculite, and sand. This gives you a soil that will drain well as they must dry out between waterings. I also like to put a layer of small rocks in the bottom of the pots, which also helps with proper drainage.

There are many different types of flower pots available, from plastic to ceramic to pottery. But, my plants seem to grow better in either ceramic or plastic pots, not the ones I have tried in clay pots.

Watering and Feeding African Violets

African violets should be watered only when the soil feels dry to the touch. Use room temperature water or water that is slightly warm when the weather is cold. If your water comes from a city or community system that puts chlorine in the water, I recommend filling the watering cans and letting the water set overnight before watering.

My recommendation for feeding African violets is to use a low dose of a fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro for African Violets (Click to see on Amazon) or their All-Purpose formula, not the larger dose for longer intervals. Use the package directions for the maintenance dose or the dosage recommended for every watering.

Potting African Violets

There are recommendations that African violets should be repotted every 6 to 12 months, but I don’t normally re-pot them more often than once a year. The larger plants need a 4 to 5-inch pot, while the smaller plants should not be put into a pot larger than 2-½ inches.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

For more, don’t miss How Long Does It Take for a Plant to Grow? | Complete Guide.

Anne James

Anne James has a wealth of experience in a wide array of interests and is an expert in quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, mixing drinks (bartending), and making jelly. Anne has a professional canning business, has been featured in the local newspaper as well as on the Hershey website, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is. With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass. Amazingly, she doesn’t need to reference many resources due to her vast wealth of experience. She IS the source. Anne wants nothing more than to pass on her extensive knowledge to the next generations, whether that be family or anyone visiting her website, her YouTube channel, or survivalfreedom.com.

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