Different Propagation Methods

GROWING SUB-FORUM; General care, light, water, Temperature requirements, soil mix and propagation discussions by leaf and chimeras divisions.

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Different Propagation Methods

Postby kbugs » Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:48 pm

I thought I would briefly give you the various ways to propagate African Violets. This is brief and I am probably leaving stuff out, but here goes:

1. Leaf propagation -- The easiest and the most common. There are several ways you can start a leaf.

You want to make sure that you get a leaf from around the middle row of leaves. Your bottom leaves will be older and while they may propagate, it will take a lot longer to root and produce babies. Once you have selected your leaf/leaves (I generally will put two in the pot), use a sharp knife to cut the leaf close to the crown of the plant. You need a stem that is at least 2" long. I use plastic 5 oz. solo cups for starting leaves. Or you can use any small (2") pot. I will punch a hole in the bottom and insert a short piece of yarn for a wick. I use my normal violet soil (moist). Make an angled cut at the bottom of the leaf, so that your cut edge is facing forward. The babies will grow to the front of the leaf. Plant your leaf so that the cut edge is well covered. Now whether you bag (enclosed in a plastic bag or clear container) or leave your leaf in the open is purely a matter of choice. I do find that the bagged leaves tend to root faster. It will take six to eight weeks before you may start seeing "mouse ears" (baby plants). Some leaves will take much longer and some a shorter time, and occasionally you will get a leaf that will not produce babies. Make sure you mark your pots so you know what you are rooting!

You can also use finely cut up sphagnum moss (the very clean New Zealand type used for Orchids) as a rooting medium, taking care that the moss does not dry out.

Some people will also root their leaves in water. I haven't had real good luck with this. Some will root in water and then transfer to soil when the roots start to develop.

My grandmother even used to "pin" her leaves to a curtain above the kitchen sink and believe it or not it worked, but I don't know how.

You can also that a leaf and cut it, producing "wedges". This is easy to do, but rather hard to explain without illustrations. Basically, you cut the actual leaf of the violet into wedges, making sure that you have one of the viens of the leaf in your wedge. Then you would place this is soil deep enough to cover the vein and this will produce babies. You would treat it the same way as normal leaf propagation.

2. Beheading or crowning. This is where you will take a mature plant and remove the crown of the plant, leaving a few rows of leaves and a base. You would plant the crown, removing enough leaves so that you have a small stub to place in your growing medium, and bag it or cover it. I always use the sphagnum moss for this, as it helps keep moisture in and the crowns generally will not rot. Then your base you would treat as normal and within six weeks or so, you will start to see suckers coming from where you removed the crown. This is a very common way to propagate a chimera. Or you can remove the crown a from a plant that is suffering from crown/root rot, or has developed a long neck, or just not growing well, saving the plant, but discarding the base. The crown that you restart will be a new viable plant in no time.

3. Keiki Grow - This is a growing hormone from Canada, great stuff. This is my preferred method for propagating chimeras. The Keiki Grow is a green slimy stuff. A little bit goes a VERY LONG WAY. http://www.orchidmall.com/hormones/keikifaq.htm I will pick a nice bloom on a chimera and take a pin dipped very lightly in the Keiki Grow and pierce the bloomstalk at the base of the bracts, making sure that the pin does not go all the way through the stem. Label your plant and that's it. In about six weeks or so, you will start to see little tiny plantlets starting. I leave the bloomstalk on the plant during the whole process. You can also pierce the crown and sometimes this will also produce babies. If you use too much, you will end up with a great big blog of green.

5. Bloomstalk propagation -- I mentioned this in another post.

4. Growing from seed. Violets are easy to pollinate and produce seed pods. Some violets will even self-pollinate or at times you have the help of thrips. You simply pick the two plants that you want to cross-pollinate, taking the pollen from one anther to the other's stigma. When the seed pod develops, you will leave it on the plant until the pod starts to dry. Dried seeds pods can be kept in a freezer for long periods of time and then used at a later date. African violet seeds are extremely tiny. You will need to open your pod on white paper to see the seeds. Plant in normal moist (not wet) soil mix, on top, and cover with plastic or place in a clear container. You should start to see sprouts in about ten days to two weeks. You can lightly mist your soil with water if it starts to dry out. The seedlings are extremely tiny and fragile and have to be thinned regularly.
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Re: Different Propagation Methods

Postby Stephen » Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:36 pm

Great information Kay, Thanks. Would you have a close up photo of the Keiki method?
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Re: Different Propagation Methods

Postby kbugs » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:03 pm

I couldn't find this earlier and this is a great illustration (I hope I don't get in trouble for borrowing all this sites :eek: ) http://www.rachelsreflections.org/Janet2.htm

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Re: Different Propagation Methods

Postby Stephen » Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:35 am

Ok, that was very helpful. At what point should you remove and separate the suckers? Then how do you best handle them to get them properly rooted and growing on their own?
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Re: Different Propagation Methods

Postby kbugs » Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:54 am

The best rule of thumb to separating the babies from the stalk is when their leaves are about dime-size or a little bigger. You would then plant them in a bed of sphagnum and cover or bag them until their roots develop, basically treating them like any sucker of small seedling.
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Re: Different Propagation Methods

Postby Matt » Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:26 pm

Great info Kay! Thanks for posting it.
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