It’s likely that you love African violets. These pretty houseplants provide aesthetic appeal to many home and office environments.
They’re relatively easy to take care of and that makes them perfect for beginners. You don’t need to be a houseplant guru to have a good time with these plants.
Every so often, these plants will outgrow their current pots. When the time is right, you’ll need to repot the plant so that it can continue to grow and stay healthy.
You might not have any idea how to go about doing this if you’re a houseplant novice, though. Keep reading to get advice that will help you to repot African violets the right way.
Do African Violets Need to Be Repotted?
Yes, African violets are going to need to be repotted every so often. If you leave the plant in the same pot that you got it in, it’s not going to do too well.
Eventually, the plant is going to become rootbound. When a plant becomes rootbound the roots will ball up because they have nowhere to go.
They can’t spread out properly, and this is very unhealthy for the plant. Your plant will start to look bad if you allow it to remain rootbound for too long.
Note that African violets aren’t overly sensitive to being root bound. They can deal with this, but it will become a problem after it has been too long.
It’s normal for these plants to be slightly root bound. This is ideal for blooming, but you can’t let them be incredibly rootbound.
So you’ll be repotting the plant fairly often as it continues to grow. It’s something that you’ll get used to doing for your African violets.
Do They Need Special Pots?
People grow African violets in many different types of pots. So it’s not necessarily required for you to use special pots to grow an African violet.
However, most enthusiasts recommend using self-watering pots for these plants. You’ll likely be able to find pots that are being sold as “African violet pots” at plant stores.
Nurseries and garden centers will carry these special types of pots. They’re really just self-watering pots.
These African violet pots are self-watering pots that are usually four or five inches. They’re made out of plastic or ceramic.
Using such a pot makes it easy to give the plant the continuous moisture that it needs. It keeps the plant in good shape and makes maintaining it that much simpler.
You can use normal pots and get the same results, but you might need to pay more attention to the soil. The special pots can make watering African violets that much simpler.
What Size Pot Is Best for African Violets?
Finding the best pot size for African violets is easy. The diameter of the leaves should be just about three times the diameter of the pot.
You can use this simple formula to figure out the pot size that you need. The specific pot size that you’ll need will depend on the size of the plant.
Typically, people put African violets in three- to four-inch pots when starting out. However, it should be noted that there are different types of African violet plants.
These plants fall into simple categories based on their size. There are miniature plants that are six to eight inches in diameter or less.
Semi-miniature plants stay between six and eight inches in diameter. Standard-sized plants are between eight and sixteen inches.
Large African violets are sixteen inches or larger. So you’ll need to determine the right pot size for the plant that you own.
When to Repot African Violets
You must repot your African violets when they become rootbound. As mentioned earlier, allowing a plant to stay in a rootbound state for too long will be negative.
So you’re supposed to repot the plant whenever you notice that it has become rootbound. This will occur when the African violet has outgrown its current pot.
You’ll see that the roots are growing out and they’ll start to grow around the rootball. In some cases, you might even see the roots poking out of the pot.
Make sure that you repot the plant often enough to avoid complications. You might wind up doing this more often than you’d expect, but it’s not that hard to do.
How to Repot an African Violet
Repotting an African violet won’t be hard so long as you approach things the right way. To start, check the plant to see if it needs to be repotted.
If the plant is rootbound, it’s time to put it in a new pot. You’ll want to go a little bigger when the plant has become rootbound.
Choose the appropriate pot size for the plant that you own. Remember that the size of the pot is based on the size of the plant.
Make sure that the diameter of the leaves is three times the diameter of the pot. It’s okay if it’s close since it doesn’t have to be exact.
Remove your African violet plant from the old pot. You can do this by grasping the base of the plant and sliding it out of the pot gently.
Take the time to brush the root ball clean. Gently remove soil using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
This will also be a good opportunity to prune the plant. Consider trimming away damaged or dead leaves.
Place a thin layer of soil inside the new pot. Put the root ball on top of this soil and then gently add more soil to the pot.
Keep doing this until the soil is covering up to the base of the leaves. It’s best to leave the soil a bit loose for these plants.
Put the pot in a saucer of water so the plant can soak some of it up. Now you’ve successfully repotted your plant.
Just remove the plant from the saucer of water when the time is right. Put it back in its normal position and keep an eye on it to see how it’s doing over the course of the next few weeks.
How Often Should African Violets Be Repotted?
It’s common for African violets to be repotted twice per year. You could get into the habit of repotting the plants every six months like clockwork if you want to.
However, it’s only necessary to repot the plant when it becomes rootbound. So you can check the plant to see if it’s rootbound to determine when the plant needs to be repotted.
This might wind up working out to slightly less than twice per year. It could be that the plant will need a new pot once every seven or eight months.
Just take the time to check once you know it’s been around six months since the last time you put the plant in a new pot. This will help you to avoid complications.
Can You Repot African Violets When They Are Blooming?
Technically, you can repot African violets while they’re blooming, but it’s not wise to do so. This is something that can cause the plant unnecessary stress.
Repotting a plant will cause it a bit of stress no matter what. Doing this while the plant is blooming is not recommended.
Ideally, you want to wait until the plant has finished blooming to repot it. So be patient and wait for the right opportunity.
Remember that African violets can tolerate being a little bit rootbound. It’s likely fine for your plant to wait until it has finished blooming to be repotted.
There are some things that you can do to help your African violet out once you finish repotting it. You want to alleviate stress and make it as simple for the African violet to thrive as possible.
One way to do this is to put your plant in a plastic bag for a week after repotting it. This might sound strange at first, but it’s a simple way to elevate the humidity levels near the plant.
A clear plastic bag should be used and it should be placed loosely around the plant. You don’t want the leaves to be restricted in any way.
Don’t leave the bag on for longer than a week. To be safe, it’s wise to make a note of the date you put the plastic bag on.
You can even set an alarm that will tell you when it’s time to remove the bag. This will make it easy to boost the humidity a bit for the plant and make the recovery process easier.
Note that this is optional. You don’t need to do this if you’d rather not.
It’s simply something that can help the plant a bit when it’s stressed from being repotted. Many enthusiasts choose to do this, but not everyone does.
Which Soil Is Best for African Violets?
Putting African violets in the right type of soil will have a positive impact. You want to use soil that will help the plant to stay healthy.
Standard soil mixes aren’t great for these houseplants. It’s better to use a soil mixture that’s slightly acidic and rather fluffy.
The soil must be well-draining or it’ll be hard for the African violet plant to dry out between watering sessions. Thankfully, there are many amazing potting mixes that will work well.
You can even make your own using ingredients such as vermiculite, perlite, and peat moss. 50% peat moss, 25% vermiculite, and 25% perlite will get the job done.
It’s also fine to substitute peat moss for coco coir if you’d prefer to use that. Just make sure to use the right potting soil and your plant will be that much more likely to stay in good shape.
Repotting your African violet shouldn’t be tough. Now that you know what to do, you’ll be ready to take care of your plant when the time is right.
Be sure to check the roots every so often to see if it’s time to repot the plant. On average, you’ll be doing this twice per year.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.