African Violets: Transplanting to a Larger Pot
African violets should be repotted with fresh soil at least twice a year before they become rootbound. Repotting will keep your plant healthy and looking its best. You can transplant an African violet at any time of the year.
Step 1 - Remove the Plant
Put some new potting soil in the bottom of the new container. Remove the plant from the old pot by putting your hand on top of the pot with the crown between your fingers. Turn the pot upside-down and, if the pot is plastic, squeeze the sides to losen the roots. If the pot is clay, tap the bottom and the roots should loosen. If your plant is rootbound you may have to insert a pencil or other object through the drainage holes to push it out. If your plant is extremely stubborn you can slide a butter knife between the pot and the rootball. After the violet is out of the pot, set it aside
TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Susan Patterson reminds you, "Never pull a plant out of its pot by the stem or flowers."
Step 2 - Trim Roots and Leaves
Before the plant is transplanted the following 2 steps may be necessary depending on circumstances. Cut away bottom half of the root--If the plant is too tall, removing part of the root will restore its balance. Remove bottom leaves--If the lower leaves will be too near to the potting soil for good air circulation and growing room, take them off.
Step 3 - Prepare the New Pot and Planting
If your new pot is higher than the old pot, put the difference in potting soil in the bottom of the new pot. Place the old pot inside the new pot and center it. Place potting soil in between the old pot and the new pot until it is level with height of where the rootball should be. Pack the new soil tightly so that it remains in place when you remove the old pot. Remove the old pot and place the violet into the hole. The soil should be 1/2 inch below the rim of the pot.
TIP: Susan adds, "African violets can be grown in any container as long as it has drainage holes. You can set a plastic planting pot with drainage holes inside a more attractive pot to improve its looks."
Step 3 - Water
It is essential that you provide water for your violet immediately after transplanting. Set your pot into a saucer with some water and allow the violet to absorb water for at least 30 minutes. Drain the excess water.
Step 4 - Bag the Plant
To increase humidity and help your plant overcome the transplant you can place your violet in a clear, plastic bag large enough to accomodate it without damaging the leaves or flowers. Leave your violet in the bag for a week.