Rejuvenating an African Violet

Giving it a new lease on life

Jacki Cammidge is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

If your African violet is happy, it may start to be too vigorous and outgrow its pot.  Then it's time to rejuvenate it and possibly get a couple of extra plants out of the deal.

Rejuvenating an African Violet

Quite often, they start to put out pups from close at the base.  These are a new plant, if you know how to separate them. 

Luckily, African violets, or Saintpaulia, are very lush and tender, and easy to pull apart. 

The pups, if fully formed with a few leaves of their own, will quickly root and make a whole new plant for you to grow or give away.

The tendency of the main rosette, if left to its own devices, is to grow lopsided, reaching for the light. 

They don't like sun at all, but they do like a bright diffuse light, say in a north window. 

I've had the best success with a simple shelf near a window facing north. 

The violets loved it, and bloomed almost continuously. 

They were turned a quarter turn about three times a week, just to allow every side of the plant to get enough light.  They stretch if they don't get enough, a dead giveaway.

The supplies you'll need for repotting an African violet

This is what to do if they look totally overgrown, if still healthy. 

A sad and sick African violet just gets punted to the compost - they are susceptible to so many microscopic critters and diseases that it's impossible to treat them successfully.

Gently pull the pups off the main rosette of the African Violet

If possible, gently pull the root ball out of the pot. In the case of this plant, it was really too delicate and root bound, so it ripped off only a section of the roots.  That's okay, they'll grow more.

Cover the drain hole with plastic mesh

The one larger pup and two smaller ones were carefully pulled away from the base of the mother plant. 

New soil was put into the pots, after the too large drain hole was covered with two layers of mesh to stop the soil from spilling out.

A hole was dibbled in the center of the pot, and the rosette (with or without roots) was put in the hole, and gently filled in. 

Gently is the best way to handle African Violets.  They are easily bruised.

Saintpaulia, African Violet in full bloom

Once repotted and secure in their new home, carefully water the soil, either from the bottom by putting water in a plant saucer and letting it move upwards by capillary action, or spray around the rosette. 

The newly potted plants my require a bit of care at first, such as covering with a bell jar or terrarium to hold a bit more moisture around the leaves. 

In time, they'll have brand new strong roots and can join the other house plants in a bright but not sunny window where the temperature stays around 22 degrees C.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.