How to grow new African violet plants from leaf cuttings

Updated April 14, 2018

African violet is the common name for several species of flowering plants within the genus Saintpaulia. The short, somewhat spreading growth habit of African violets bears a crop of showy flowers above a layer of furry, fleshy leaves. The leaves contain a large concentration of meristematic cells, which provide the means for growth and regeneration in plants, and they will quickly produce a new plant if potted in soil. Growing African violets from leaf cuttings takes little effort or time and, within six to eight weeks, the plant will show signs of vigorous new growth.

Take a leaf cutting from a mature African violet plant that has no obvious signs of distress or disease. Choose a young leaf with mature colouring and a thick, fleshy stem.

Snip the stem 3.75 to 5 cm (1 1/2 to 2 inches) from the base of the leaf. Make an angled cut with a pair of sanitised floral snips or a sharp, clean utility knife.

Prepare a pot for the African violet leaf cutting. Fill a 15 cm (6 inch) plastic pot with drainage holes with a mix of equal measures potting soil and perlite. Leave 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) of space at the top of the pot.

Lean the African violet leaf cutting against the edge of the pot so the stem just touches the surface of the soil. Poke a 6.5 mm (1/4 inch) deep hole in the soil mixture below the tip of the stem. Set the stem in the hole and lightly cover it with soil.

Drizzle 25 ml (1/8 cup) of water over the soil. Let it drain.

Place the potted African violet leaf cutting inside a large plastic bag. Gather the opening of the bag and blow air inside to inflate it. Seal the bag closed.

Place the African violet cutting where it will receive very bright but indirect light and temperatures around 18 degrees C (65F). Open the bag for 30 minutes every three to five days to allow air to circulate around the cutting.

Check for roots in three weeks. Remove the plastic bag approximately three weeks after rooting once the African violet begins to sprout new leaves.


Start up to six African violet leaf cuttings in one pot. Divide them, if desired, once they root.

Things You'll Need

  • Floral snips
  • 15 cm (6 inch) pot with drainage holes
  • Potting soil
  • Perlite
  • Large plastic bag
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About the Author

Samantha McMullen began writing professionally in 2001. Her nearly 20 years of experience in horticulture informs her work, which has appeared in publications such as Mother Earth News.