Care of your new African Violet leaf


Here is the information you need to have success with growing an African Violet plant from a leaf you've received at a show, sale, special event, or friend.

How to care for an African Violet leaf

Hopefully, you've had the chance to have the helpful African Violet members at the Education table demonstrate how you plant your leaf. If not, it's a simple process:

    Starting a leaf

  • Prepare a 6oz dixie cup by poking a small hole in the bottom for the "wick" or 4 inch acrylic string.
  • Poke the string though the bottom of the cup so that about two inches are inside the cup and 2 inches come out the bottom.
  • Write the name of your leaf and the date on your cup.
  • Fill your cup with about 3/4 inch of pearlite and African Violet soil up to about 3/4 inch from the rim of the cup.
  • Cut your leaf stem at an angle leaving about 1 or 2 inches of stem.
  • Make a hole in the soil with a pencil and place the leaf in the soil so that about 1/2 inch of the stem is sticking out the top.
  • Carefully place cup with leaf in a quart-sized ziploc bag.
  • Pour about 1 Tablespoon of fresh room temperature water on top of the soil and about 1 teaspoon in the bag. Make sure the "tail" of the string is in the water.
  • Watch closely for a minute or so to see if the water is absorbed. If so, repeat by pouring another teaspoon in the bag and watching.
  • Once the water isn't being absorbed up the string anymore, close up the bag. There should be no more than about 1/2 teaspoon of clear water in the bottom of the bag.

    Caring for your leaf

  • Your leaf in the bag is in its own greenhouse but it gets no fresh air. We recommend that you open the bag once a week and let some fresh air in or carefully blow in the bag. Then close it back up.
  • If there is condensation inside the bag, or you see brown water in the bottom of the bag, leave the bag open for a short period of time and let it dry out and then close it again. If more condensation appears go through the same process. A little is okay, but if there is too much condensation the leaf can rot.
  • If the soil gets dry, just add a 1/2 teaspoon of room temperature water to the bag. Watch to see if it's all absorbed, if so, add a little more. Make sure bag closes securely.
  • Once the conditions are correct in the bag, you shouldn't need to fuss with it too much. It can take several weeks or a few months before the baby leaves come up so be patient! There are many factors that control how fast you see the babies, variety of leaf, age of leaf, room temperature, etc. If it's not dead and looks healthy (not limp and squishy-looking), then just keep watching every week or so and make sure it's not getting dry.
  • Violets like lots of light but NO DIRECT SUNLIGHT! North or East windows are recommended but if your room gets a lot of light, just choose a spot out of drafts and out of direct sunlight.
  • Violets also like temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees, the temperature of most homes. But, if you have your leaf next to a window that gets very cold at night or very hot during the day, the leaf could die.
  • Leave the leaf in the baggie until the babies have leaves the size of a nickel then you can plant the babies in small pot(s) and throw the "mother" leaf away. You can also bring your bagged leaf and babies to our Spring Show in March or April and we will help you pot them, check our website for dates and location. You can also buy new leaves at that time, to expand your collection!
  • Don't be discouraged if your leaf dies. Sometimes, it's the leaf and nothing you did wrong. Maybe the leaf was too old (on the plant it was taken) or maybe it was a more difficult variety. Just try again! Everyone of us in the club have had failures - some disastrous - but we just grow more. With a little practice you can enjoy some beautiful plants!!!
  • If you have questions please contact us! We love talking about violets!!!