January 19, 2011

African Violets from Leaves

I love African violets. I have the perfect windows for them in my kitchen and in the studio. Trouble is, I wanted more violets than I had space for. That’s when I remembered  miniature violets! I live in the violet capital of the world – Nashville is the home of Optimara Violets. I visited their web site and found that they sell Leaves! I ordered three varieties of tiny violets and I was on my way to windows full of blooms.

Here’s how I did it:

Because I’m frugal (translate that as cheap), I cut some plastic Dixie cups down to about 3 inches tall, put about an inch of water into them. I recently discovered a better medium than water, Soil Moist granules and perlite stays moist much longer and provides a little support for roots too.

Next I stretched plastic wrap over the cup, punched holes with an ice pick and added the leaves. The plastic wrap holds the leaves up so that just the tips are in the water and also keeps them off the edge of the cup which could cause them to wilt – it’s a violet thing – leaves don’t need to touch the edge of the pot-period. Be sure to put the ID tags in also so you remember what you have. Of course, you can write the names on the cups too.
Put the whole thing in an East or South facing window and wait. In a month or so you should see tiny leaves forming at the water line. Wait until you have lots of little leaves and then carefully pot them up into small pots. Keep these moist but not wet and you will be rewarded with years of happy violet blooms once these babies are established.

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