How to Transplant African Violets
Discovered in East Africa in 1892, African violets, or Saintpaulia, are adaptable to a wide range of indoor growing conditions. Their small size makes them ideal for anyone with limited space, such as in an apartment. The ease of starting new plants from leaf cuttings makes it possible to create an African violet garden with very little effort. African violets have very short root systems, and do best when transplanted into shallow pots with good drainage, as they hate soggy soil. Transplant newly rooted plants, or move an older plant to a slightly larger pot to encourage growth.
things you’ll need:
- Plastic or clay plant pots
- Small houseplant trowel or spoon
- Potting mix
- Deep saucer or drainage tray
- Select a pot that is the right size for the African violet plant you are transplanting, being sure that it is not too tall. Place a pebble over each hole in the bottom of the pot.
- Fill the pot to about the halfway mark with potting soil. Make a small indentation in the middle of the soil and place the rooted cutting in it, being careful not to damage the delicate roots.
- Hold the plant gently but firmly as you fill in around it with more potting soil, adding enough to come up to the base of the leaves. Tamp the soil down and add more if necessary to come up to the bottom of the leaves.
- Wipe any soil off the rim of the plant pot and place it into a saucer or drainage tray. Fill the saucer with warm — not hot — water, and allow the plant to sit for at least an hour or until all or most of the water is absorbed.
- Transplant older plants by removing them and all their soil from one pot and place them in another slightly larger pot at the same depth. Use a pot that is about 1/3 the size of the plant, as African violets like to be crowded.
Tips & Warnings
Don’t worry if some of the leaves fall off the plant during transplanting, as they can be used to start new plants. Simply cut the stem off at a slight angle, leaving about an inch of stem on the leaf. Cut the top half of the leaf off, insert the stem gently into damp potting soil up to the bottom of the leaf, place a plastic bag over the pot, and set it in indirect sunlight. Tiny green shoots should appear in four to six weeks. Remove the bag, and when the cutting is 2 inches tall and has at least four new leaves, transplant it into its permanent home.