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African Violets - Adventures in Propagation

Mar 13, 2008
You can propagate plants in multiple different ways, including leaf cuttings, seeds, etc. You can use leaf cuttings to propagate African violets and Gloxinia. Leaf cutting is when you cut the leaf where it joins the stem. You then put the leaf in a starting mixture to allow it to grow. Roots will begin to grow from the stem within a few weeks. Once the roots start to grow, you can transplant the new plant into regular potting soil.

The long, pointed foliage of the Sansevieria can also be propagated by leaf cuttings. It is done slightly differently though. You should cut the leaves into four-inch sections and set them in the starting mixture right side up. Roots will come out of the bottom where you cut.

The Rex Begonia requires a separate technique for leaf cutting propagation. You should cut across the thick veins on the underside of the leaves with a razor. The cut leaves should then be placed face up in he starting mixture. You need to make sure the leaf has good contact with the soil, so toothpicks or pins should be used.

Not only will creating new houseplants from leaf cuttings create new healthy plants, but it will actually be good for the plants that the cuttings come from as well. Pinching, pruning, and cutting back plants will grow more evenly. They will grow tall and uneven with a lack of foliage low on the plant if you do nothing to prune the plant. You want the plants to be full and even throughout the entire plant. They should look more like bushes than trees. You have to prune vines and trailers as well to avoid uneven growth.

Don't worry about cutting off the center of a healthy young plant, or a branch that is just about to flower. It will be tough to convince yourself to do it because it goes against what you would naturally think, but it will help the plant in the long run and it is a part of growing African violets from leaves. You must prune them if they will grow into nice looking plants. You want to prune so the plant can use that energy to grow in other ways.

Growing an indoor garden yourself is extremely satisfying. Growing house plants yourself is very inexpensive and the time you spend working on it is very worthwhile and fun.
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