Repotting African Violets ~ Single Plant

by Deena · 11 comments

in Container Gardening

Post image for Repotting African Violets ~ Single Plant

Originally posted here on Real Country Living ~ August 2008

Many people have a fear of re-potting African Violets because they think of these house plants as fragile or dainty.  While the flowers themselves are tiny, the plants that produce them are anything but frail.

Don’t Be Afraid of Re-potting African Violets

Here I’ll explain the procedure for re-potting a single African Violet in its pot.

Sometimes African Violets Propagate spontaneously and produce a second plant in the same pot. I’ll be posting instructions on how to divide and re-pot those soon.

African Violet Pot With a Single Crowded Plant

The African Violet shown below is much too crowded and the plant has too many whorls (a “whorl” is a row of leaves or petals encircling a stem), which need to be removed.

It also has unsightly spent (dried or dead blooms) flowers that reduce the production of new ones.

over grown African Violet

A very over grown African Violet plant

Dead and dried up flowers should be removed anytime they are present…not only when re-potting African Violets.

All three of these plants have roots that are crowded in old soil. The soil’s nutrients are depleted, which makes it all the harder for the mass of roots to find what the plant needs.

Step #1

Start by identifying each row of leaves, starting in the center.

There should be three or four whorls only.

When you know which leaves are to be left, start at the bottom row of leaves and clip them off.  It is also very easy to “snap” them off and makes a neater stem, but some growers prefer to clip.

clipped leaves of African Violet

The unwanted leaves have been clipped from this African Violet

snapped off leaves of African Violet

This plant had its unwanted leaves "snapped" off...very easy...just grab one and bend it downward until it snaps off the main plant stem.

Don’t try to be too precise about the number of whorls left.  It’s not rocket science!

Step #2

Once the lower leaves have been removed, there is room to insert a knife along the edge of the pot.

Run the knife around the entire edge, to loosen the root ball. The soil and roots should come out very easily.

repotting african violets

Use a serrated knife and run it around between the dirt and the side of pot to loosen the root ball.

Step #3

With the plant completely free from its pot, take a serrated knife and cut 1″ off of the bottom.

cutting off bottom of African Violet root ball

Cut about an inch of the dirt/root ball off the bottom. Don't be afraid...you won't hurt it!

Step #4

This method of re-potting African Violets allows the plant to utilize the same sized pot that it was in previously.  This works well if you don’t want the plant to take up more space with each repotting.

Put about half cup of new soil in the bottom of the pot. Then place the plant on top of this “bed“.

pouring potting soil in pot

Make a nice "bed" for your newly trimmed African Violet...with fresh soil in the bottom of the same pot you removed the plant from.

The top of the plant should be just above the pot rim, so press the root ball down into the pot if necessary.

Continue putting new soil around the bare stem and press it down gently with your fingers as you fill.

Again, don’t be afraid to press that soil down firmly around the stem. You want to make sure the roots and stem are surrounded securely by soil.  The more soil you can fit in, the longer your newly potted plant will thrive.

repotted African Violet

Look at all those leaves and dead flowers that were trimmed off this little guy...he's a new man!

After you finish filling around the roots and stem with new soil, place the pot in a small saucer that holds water.

repotted African Violet

Water your African Violet by filling the saucer and not pouring it on top of the soil...their leaves don't like getting wet and you can end up with dead "spots".

Newly Re-potted African Violet Plants

Here are our newly repotted African Violet plants! Very soon, the violets will fill in with many new leaves and it will be time to repot them again!

african violets and angels

Three of the African Violets take their place in the kitchen windowsill, along with my collection of Willow Tree Angels that family & friends have helped me accumulate.

Next, we”ll be dividing an African Violet that has self-propagated…oooo…exciting stuff!!!


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