Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gardening in the Dead of Winter.....

This time of year, propagating violets is a good thing to do to keep yourself in practice, and to make a bunch of new and good plants for your window sill.

Propagating violets is so easy and so rewarding! Anyone can do it, with minimal equipment and almost no effort. Violets are usually easy to find now, as they are a romantic little flower and Valentines day is right around the corner. Also, many box stores stock them as people like to grow them inside the house. I have very few plants in my house, because I worry about the silly cat eating them, but I do keep violets. The cat will just have to learn not to eat the violets.

Supplies needed include a healthy violet plant.
1 Styrofoam cup, and 1 plastic disposable cup (as shown)
a wooden skewer, or a sharpened pencil
about 1/3 cup perlite
about 1/3 cup vermiculite.
Rooting hormone powder
Distilled water, if you have 'city' water.

With the wooden skewer, poke 4 holes in the side of the Styrofoam cup, close to the bottom. Site them opposite each other. Then poke a row of holes about 1 1/2" up from the bottom, about 1/2" apart.

The bottom holes are to allow the rooting medium in the cup to pull water into the cup. The top row of holes is for drainage. If the water gets that high, it should be able to drain out.

Pour the vermiculite into the Styrofoam cup. Pour the perlite on top of the vermiculite. Do not mix them together. Place the Styrofoam cup inside the plastic cup (as shown), and add water up to (but not above) the top row of holes. Cut a leaf from the mother plant, including as much stem as possible. Dip the stem in rooting hormone, tap off the excess, and stick into the perlite in the cup.
Set the cup on a sunny window sill, but not where it will get direct sun on it. Bright light is needed here, not hot light. I use a window on the SE side of my house. Just remember to keep the plant watered.

After 6-8 weeks, you will see little leaves like this coming up through the perlite. I usually let them grow out a bit before I transplant them into their very own violet pot.
It is amazing how many different violets there are. Smooth leaves, curly leaves, flowers of all colors. Try this, it is fun.


Noelle said...

Hi Janie,

I used to do this in my high school floriculture class. It was so much fun and easy. I have three African Violets now...maybe I should propagate them and give to friends?

TheGaudyGarden said...

Hi Janie. You've taken me back years when I did competition AFs. I got leaves from all over North America. It was fun, but more like watching paint dry. Very slow.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

What a great post, Janie! I don't propagate my AVs, but I have eight different ones now; with seven cats, it's a challenge to keep them free of cat hair, but so far this group, most of which I've had for a while, haven't yet become hair collectors!

Amy said...

Good information to know. I didn't realize it was that easy to propogate African violets. I guess I need one to propagate one, though. :)

James Missier said...

African violets are very difficult to grow in my place.
It surely must be fun to see all the tiny plants sprouting.

Tammy said...

Very interesting. I havent grown violets for prob 30 yrs.

madblooms said...

I used to have two plants that I had black thumbs for...Orchids and Violets. I killed everyone I touched. I've mastered Orchids, maybe it's time to try Violets again!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I've never tried doing this before, but it does seem like it would be fun to try. Great instructions too!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Hi Janie! Good instructions for violet propagating. I have some leaves that took right off and others that have been just sitting there for weeks. ;-)

Wendy said...

I should invest in a couple of violets. I think propagating some would be a fun thing to do. thanks for the inspiration.

Jan (Thanks For Today) said...

Great info Janie...and I enjoyed how you reference your cats but still refuse to budge! I've gone through various 'cycles' of African violets, where I keep them for months, even years, then after I can no longer stand seeing them completely 'cat-bitten' and literally destroyed, I get rid of them (and I've felt guilty 'dumping' what's left of them in the trash! ...but, you haven't seen how badly my cat can tear them up!). I love having them on my windowsill where they get a lot of light. I've done at least one post on my African violet struggles with kitty. I've decided that having them will only resume when my cat goes to that great kitty-box in the sky;-)

marion said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

garden girl said...

African violets were the first plants I propagated as a little girl - this post brings back fond memories.

I didn't have an AV for years - picked one up at the grocery store for $2.50 a couple weeks ago, and now I want more - I've missed them!