Did you know that the African violet (Saintpaulia) lives for 30 years or more? As a perennial plant, it can continue to grow for up to 50 years! But for this to happen, the plant needs the correct care.
One way to ensure its growth is by giving it enough root space, and this could be done by transplanting or repotting the African violet at the right time in the right ways. This article will be discussing the best way and time to transplant and repot your African violet plants.
When to Repot African Violets
Generally, when growing African violets, you need to transplant or repot these plants twice a year, every 5 to 6 months. However, it is also crucial to listen to what your plant is telling you.
When your plant starts to have stagnant growth and more wilting happens, it is a sign for you to repot. These signs may be brought upon by overcrowding. Overcrowding means having multiple plants in a small space. This setup is not ideal, especially for flowering plants like Saintpaulia, as it could result in malnutrition and competition for water.
Another indication to transplant is when the plant is twice or thrice the size of its pot. Don’t worry. There is no rush into repotting. African violets tend to love a slightly compact root as it induces flowering.
Speaking of flowering, some growers repot African violet while in their blooming phase. It is possible. However, disrupting the plant and flowering may be too stressful. If repotting is needed to be done while blooming, wait for the idle blooming time. Cut some flowers off the plant upon transplanting to lessen the stress.
How to Repot African Violets
Repotting and transplanting may sound intimidating for new growers. However, it becomes more natural as time goes by. Here are the steps to follow for repotting and transplanting your African violets:
- Loosen the surrounding soil by tapping the pots on the side. If the soil is too compact or glued to the pot edges, use a knife to lightly scrape it off.
- Using the same knife, carefully remove the lower ⅓ of the root ball.
- Use running water to remove soil-bound in the roots. Make sure that the water pressure will not cause any harm to the roots.
- If the plant is ready to be separated into multiple individual plants, do so. Use a knife to carefully detach them from each other and transplant each one in a different pot. Keep in mind that each plant should have enough roots and no damage to the stem and leaves.
- Remove the wilted and damaged plant parts before planting them into another pot.
- Fill half of the container with a moist African violet growing mixture. Put in 1 cup of warm water for every 4 cups of potting mix. Stir the mixture until it has a crumbly texture. Remember to have a not too wet nor too dry growing medium.
- Make a shallow hole for the plant to sit on and place the plant in that spot.
- While holding the plant upright, fill the pot with more soil. Add as much as necessary to cover all the roots. Do not plant too deep because this may cause problems for the stem.
- Lightly press on the surrounding soil 2-3 inches away from the plant stem.
Key Tips for a Successful Transplant and Repot of Saintpaulia
Now that you know the basics, here are some additional tips to make sure that the repotting is successful.
First is knowing the best soil mixture for African violets suitable for your location. Since different locations entail different climates, it is best to know what would work best based on the climate. You can read more about the best growing medium mixture in another article.
The second tip is to not press too hard on the soil. Avoid over-compressing the soil as it would limit the space for the roots to grow.
The third tip is to use shallow pots. However, this should be done with discretion based on the size of the Saintpaulia.
The fourth tip is to opt for a “soft” transplant for more sensitive African violets. Some have more fibrous roots and when disturbed, flowering will be less. To avoid this from happening, a soft transplant or applying more soil mixture at the edges of the pot is recommended.
Lastly, put the plants inside a clear plastic dome after transplanting. In doing so, it will prevent wilting especially in areas with warmer and drier climates. This lessens the transpiration rate and loss of water. A clear plastic bag or any clear dome-shaped cover may be used.
Remember to put them away from direct sunlight and keep the plants in the dome for 1 to 2 months. Moist inside is normal, it may be opened a little bit for a short time to release too much moisture in the air inside.