Starting An African Violet - Growing African Violet Plants With Seeds

Close Up Of An African Violet Plant
(Image credit: Veni vidi...shoot)

An African violet plant is a popular home and office plant due to the fact that it will happily bloom in low light conditions and needs very little care. While most are started from cuttings, African violets can be grown from seed. Starting an African violet from seed is a little more time consuming than starting cuttings, but you'll end up with many more plants. Keep reading to learn how to start African violets from seed.

How to Get Seeds from African Violets

It is often easiest to simply buy your African violet seeds from a reputable online seller. African violets can be tricky when it comes to forming seeds and, even when they do, the plants grown from the seeds rarely look like the parent plant. Despite this, if you would still like to get seeds from your African violets, you will need to hand pollinate the plant. Wait until the flowers start to open and take note of which flower opens first. This will be your “female” flower. After is has been open for two to three days, watch for another flower to open. This will be your male flower. As soon as the male flower is open, use a small paintbrush and gently swirl it around the center of the male flower to pick up pollen. Then swirl it around the center of the female flower to pollinate the female flower. If the female flower was successfully fertilized, you will see a pod form in the center of the flower in about 30 days. If no capsule forms, the pollination was not successful and you will need to try again. If the pod forms, it takes about two months for it to fully mature. After two months, remove the pod from the plant and carefully crack it open to harvest the seeds.

Growing African Violet Plants from Seeds

Planting African violet seeds starts with the right growing medium. A popular growing medium for starting African violet seeds is peat moss. Fully dampen the peat moss before you start planting the African violet seeds. It should be moist but not wet. The next step in starting an African violet from seed is to carefully and evenly spread the seeds over the growing medium. This can be difficult, as the seeds are very small but do the best that you can to spread them evenly. After you have spread the African violet seeds, they don't need to be covered with more growing medium; they are so small that covering them even with a small amount of peat moss can bury them too deeply. Use a spray bottle to lightly mist the top of the peat moss and then cover the container in plastic wrap. Place the container in a bright window out of direct sunlight or under fluorescent lights. Make sure the peat moss stays moist and spray the peat moss when it starts to dry out. The African violet seeds should germinate in one to nine weeks. The African violet seedlings can be transplanted to their own pots when the largest leaf is about 1/2 inch (1 cm.) wide. If you need to separate seedlings that are growing too close together, you can do this when the African violet seedlings have leaves that are about 1/4 inch (6 mm.) wide.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.