African Violet Repotting – How To Repot African Violets

African Violet Repotting – How To Repot African Violets

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Image by ChamilleWhite

African violets can live a long time, as long as 50 years! To get them there, you need to provide good care which included repotting African violets. The trick is knowing when to repot an African violet and what soil and container size to use. We’ll go over some of the tips on how to repot African violets for a successful transition for your plant.

When to Repot an African Violet

Most plants need repotting at some point to either increase the container size or to refresh the soil. There are several schools of thought on the right way to repot, but all agree you can buy or make your own African violet mix. Before removing your plant, select a container that is one third the size of the plant’s leaf spread.

Most collectors recommend repotting at least once and up to twice per year. The timing is not terribly crucial since they are usually indoor plants, but to avoid transplant shock, it is wise to disturb the plant when it is not actively growing and producing flowers.

Tips on African Violet Repotting

Before repotting, water the plant well from under the leaves or put the container on a saucer of water for an hour. The moisture will help you remove the plant from its container. This is more important with clay or ceramic pots. You can skip this step with plastic containers that will bend a bit to help the root ball slide out.

The right soil is necessary for successfully repotting African violets. There are very good mixes to purchase that are specially blended for this species or make your own. For this, use 1 part each garden loam, sand and peat moss. Add a small amount of bone meal if you wish. Pre-moisten the soil lightly before planting.

Be careful when removing the plant from its old housing. You may need to loosen the soil a bit and then turn the plant over, cradling it in your hand gently and push into the drainage holes. The plant should come right out but, if necessary, cut around the container with a knife.

How to Repot African Violets

There are various instructions on the next step. Some say to cut a bit of the root mass off the bottom and spread the roots gently. This is useful if the neck of the plant is elongating.

Others say separate the plant into smaller plantlets, but this would only refer to older plants. Still others feel that the root ball should not be disturbed and, instead, nestled into a hole made in the new container and backfilled around.

The leaves of the plant should be lightly resting on the rim of the container. To reduce transplant shock, bag the container and plant. The increased humidity helps the plant recover. Remove the bag after one week and continue the plant’s usual care.

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