Propagating African Violets in Water: a 4-Step Guide

African Violets are true houseplants that belong to the genus Saintpaulia. The genus carries a name after Baron Walter von Saint Paul-Illaire, a 19th-century Austrian botanist and patron of science. They are fairly easy to propagate which is why we love propagating African Violets in water.

The African Violet can be anywhere from 1-2 cm wide and come in various colors. There are over 200 varieties of African violets available today. A well-known hybrid is Blue Boy.

One thing to note is that many African Violets have active plant patents against them. Be sure to read our guide on the legalities of propagating African Violets.

Our African Violet Series

Why we love propagating African Violets

African violets are a popular houseplant because they are easy to propagate. They’re also quite beautiful and colorful. When you propagate African violets, you can create new plants from an existing one. This way, you have the chance to have a lot of different plants in your home without having to buy a new one every time.

What are the ways you can choose to propagate

There are a few different ways you can choose to propagate African violets. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, and your choice will depend on what you want to do with the newly-propagated plants.

Water propagation

Propagating African Violets in water is the most common method of propagation. It’s easy to do, and you can grow healthy plants. You can use this method to grow your African violets for indoor and outdoor use.

Soil propagation

Soil propagation is similar to water propagation. The only difference is that you put cuttings in the soil instead of water.

Propagating African Violets in Water: A Step-by-Step Guide 

There are several methods you can use when propagating African violets. The most common methods include water and soil propagation, while pup propagation is rarest.

Materials Needed

  • scissors or a sharp knife 
  • cup or bottle with water
  • plastic foil
  • potting soil
  • pots


  1. Step 1

    Cut a leaf from an African violet in good condition but not in bloom. Choose a healthy leaf from the middle row of the plant. 

  2. Step 2

    Put your cutting in water and cover with plastic foil. Change out your water every few days. If you choose to put them in a cup, make sure that you keep them under bright light so that they get enough light for photosynthesis and can produce energy for growth. 

  3. Step 3

    Wait about 10-14 days before taking your cutting out of the water and planting it into the soil using your fingers or tweezers.

  4. Step 4

    Water well until the soil is moist, and then place them under bright light again until they begin growing new leaves on their own.

Long-Term Maintenance / Care

General Maintenance

1. Make sure your plant gets enough light to produce its energy for growth. 

2. Give them enough water so the soil never dries out while actively growing, or choose a self-watering planter designed for African Violets.

3. Make sure they get enough fertilizer. You can use the Miracle Grow Plant Food. 

4. Ensure air circulation around your plant.

Make It Last

1. Use well-draining soil. 

2. Make sure you are pruning so that there is lots of air circulation around your plant.

3. Fertilize it every 2 weeks

4. If possible, keep the air humid around your plants by putting the pot on top of a pebble tray filled with water.

5. Keep them warm during the colder months by putting them under lights or in a warmer part of the house

6. Give them plenty of light when they are actively growing.

7. Get rid of any bugs that might be bothering your plant.

8. Put some coffee grounds around your plants because coffee grounds repel insects

9. Don’t put plants in direct sunlight.

10. Remove dead leaves.

Common Issues

Mold is the most common problem that you can see with African violets. It is caused by too much water or not enough air circulation. Mold is a problem because it can spread to other parts of the plant and kill it. Make sure that your pot has drainage holes 

If you see any bugs on your plants, remove them because they can spread to other parts of your plants, killing them. 

If you notice any brown spots or yellow leaves try cutting them off, feeding them more often, giving more sunlight, or moving to a bigger pot.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to propagate african violets?

Propagating African Violets in water only takes a few weeks. The new plant will then be ready to be planted in soil (with some water).

Do you use a rooting medium to propagate african violets?

You can use water or soil as a rooting medium, but it’s not necessary to use rooting hormones.

How much light do you need for propagating African Violets?

It’s best to leave cuttings in a bright place but avoid direct sunlight.


African violets are complex and fascinating plants. These plants thrive in warm temperatures and need plenty of water and light. With a bit of effort, you can grow African violets in pots or on window shells. They propagate easily, and you can use water or the soil as a medium, to get more plants.