Five or six (we're not sure) years ago, Solon and I went to the local garden center to buy him a plant. He was five (or four, we're not sure) and he chose an African violet. The African violet thrived. It thrived a lot. We moved it into a bigger pot, and maybe we even divided it once (we can't remember that, either). This year, home for Thanksgiving, I was asked to please help divide it again. Which, of course, I was happy to do. And since African violets are such obliging, gratifying house plants, it occured to me that some of you might have one, in desperate need of division. If you do, then here's how Solon did it. I suggest you follow his instructions.
First, find two (or more) pots in which to plant your divisions. Solon wasn't sure that this pot would work because there was no hole in it, and he reminded me that he waters his African violet from the bottom.
Without a hole in the bottom, the plant couldn't absorb water, could it? No, it couldn't! So we went down cellar and chose two, terra cotta 4" pots for the two divisions we anticipated.
I knocked the violet out of its pot (onto the newspapers, of course) and told Solon not to be shy. He easily pulled apart the two main clumps of the plant.
Next Solon coverd each drainage hole with a stone,
then poured a little fresh potting soil into the pot. I held the plant in place while he added soil around the plant, pushing it in deep.
We thought we'd have two African violets after the division, but while we were pulling things apart, we found two mini-plants, trying their best to push up from underneath the leaves of the larger plants. These clumps didn't have many (any?) roots, but we thought we'd try an experiment. We potted them up in 2" pots, then placed each one inside a zip lock bag.
Solon inflated each bag (after reminding me I should say inflate instead of blow up. Apparently blow up means something different to little boys...), creating a mini-greenhouse for each mini-violet.
In the end we had two, freshly potted, blooming African violets, and two mini violets, which Solon has promised to send me regular reports on. He's going to open the bags once a week, check the soil moisture, water if necessary, and re-inflate the bags. Solon asked what he should do if the plants start growing and outgrow the bags? I explained that if they start growing, they've established roots and they can come out of their mini-greenhouses. Fingers crossed.