They do need that crowding to bloom, but they can get too crowded, and that is not healthy for the plant. African violets can become root bound if they are too crowded, and they will stop blooming. Then they will need to be repotted.
Below, you’ll find out what to do when your plant is looking unruly and getting too big for its pot, and we’ll cover the steps you need to take to fix it!
Do African Violets Like To Be Crowded?
Yes, they do like to be crowded to bloom, according to the African Violet Resource Center.
But there is a fine line between pleasantly crowded to encourage blooming and a struggling plant that may stop blooming altogether. It could even stop growing.
Some say the African violet is a fussy plant and not worth the trouble. I beg to differ! The beautiful purple blooms make taking a little extra care with your plant worth it.
What To Do When African Violets Get Overly Crowded
Do You Have Overcrowded African Violets? Let’s Take a Look!
If your plant has a lot of excess leaves and is starting to look like a jungle in its pot, that’s a sign it may need pruning or even repotting. What you need to do to tame your potted plant depends on where you find the excess of leaves. Are they in the center or growing out from close to the soil? What do the leaves look like?
Each case of overcrowding has its own set of clues, like a mystery to be solved. Decipher the clues to prune your African violet and get it back to looking great.
Is the Crowding in the Center of the Plant?
If the crowding is in the center of the plant and on the top, this could be happening for a number of reasons, and they could be an overabundance of what the plant needs.
- Overfertilization: It’s possible to fertilize your plant too much. If this happens you will notice the leaves will have a burnt look to them, a reddish or yellow color. You’ll want to lay off fertilizing for about a month and flush the plant’s potting soil with water a few times in order to lessen the effects of the fertilizer.
- Excess light: African violets don’t like direct sunlight and instead prefer filtered light. If you suspect your plant is getting too much light you may want to look for signs such as: droopy leaves, bunching up of leaves, or leaves curling in tightly together. Your best bet to fix this is to move the plant to a less sunny location and it should fix the problem.
- Excess heat: This plant does not like the heat! African violets are most comfortable with temps of 68 degrees Fahrenheit and could lose their flowers if they are kept too hot. The leaves will curl up and the flowers might streak, or lose color. Move your plant to a cooler area of the house and you’ll be good to go!
What About if the Overcrowding Is “Suckers?”
What are suckers? They are baby plants, or offshoots, growing on the original plants. They can sometimes take a toll on the mama plant, and the babies need to be weaned away from her!
If the suckers are growing directly off the plant, you may simply pinch them with your thumb and finger and pull them off. Below I will show you how to repot these “suckers” into new individual plants.
How Do You Repot An Overly Crowded African Violet?
If you love your African violet and want another for yourself or to give as a gift, having an overcrowded plant may be a blessing in disguise. I love getting plants as gifts, don’t you? With a little work, you can have multiple African violet plants!
Propagating From Leaves
Water the soil until it’s nice and moist. Too much water and the leaf will rot, but you want it to be moist enough to get a greenhouse effect.
- Place the pot in a plastic ziplock bag for increased humidity and find an area with filtered sunlight.
- You may want to use a rooting hormone to shorten the amount of time it takes for a cutting to grow roots
- In a few weeks you should begin to see 3 or 4 leaves growing from the original leaf and that’s when it’s time to move your babies to a pot with good drainage and African violet soil. The original leaf may have died but the other leaves should be fine.
- In a few more months it’s ready to be moved to an African violet pot where it will finally bloom flowers of its own!
Repotting “Suckers” With Root Systems
If your plant has suckers that have their own root systems, you can separate them from the mama plant and repot them, making new plants out of them.
- Remove the plant from the pot and gently brush away the soil from the roots until you can see each individual root system.
- Separate each plant and place them in their own pot with African violet potting soil.
Wondering why your African Violet roots are above soil? Click here to find out why!
- Lightly water until moist.
- Place each sucker plant in ziplock bags to increase humidity and you should have new plants that will bloom in 4-6 months!
A Blessing In Disguise
With a little attention, the fussy African violet can grace your home with its beauty. From now on, when you see your African violet getting overcrowded in its pot, think of it as an opportunity to increase your collection or to give a loved one a gift. They’ll thank you for it!
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