Transplanting Small African Violet Plants

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When my little plants became over ¼” inch high, I prepared to pot them. I scrubbed two-inch pots clean and filled them with vermiculite.

I often use sharp sand for this potting with excellent results; however, I notice that my violets bloom more quickly when plants are rooted in vermiculite, and since I’m always in a hurry to see the first flower, I’ve taken to using it.

Transplanting Small African Violet FlowerPin

Potting up these babies is the tricky part of raising African violets from cuttings. Pulling the plants from the mother leaf and separating the tiny roots without tearing them is a delicate operation.

I accomplish it under barely running water, gently pulling each plant till it comes free from the root mass. After that, it’s no trick at all to pot it up in vermiculite.

Right here, I do a little magic that seems to make all the difference between buoyant growth and wilting away. I wrap each little pot in polyethylene plastic. It lets air in and out but keeps moisture sealed in.

With a few twists of the wrist and a paper clip to hold it in place, I’ve given each plant its little private hothouse, and it loves it. The humidity is proper, and there are no drafts or chills. Since moisture is conserved, I seldom need water.

When I do, I do it from the bottom, setting the plant into a container of tepid water and letting it stand until the sand or vermiculite is well soaked.

This was when I graduated. I ordered ‘Annabelle’ of the Southern Belle Series, feeling now that I was no longer gambling with the cards stacked against me.

I was right; that first “bought” violet has been blooming ever since, season after season, with spontaneous beauty, assuring me that now I, too, am a violet grower.

Welcoming New Plants

A word about the care of your flower guests. I have been delighted with the ingenuity with which violets are packed for shipping, methods that bring a plant two-thirds of the way across the country in perfect condition.

However, it must be unwrapped and planted immediately. Make it welcome and comfortable the minute it arrives.

It needs a not-too-sunny spot in good soil, in a pot that fits snugly without crowding. Here is a good place for polyethylene wrapping; remember, the humidity was ideal where your plant grew up; for a while, it would be better to imitate this condition.

Never fertilize the plant when you pot it. Let it adjust first to its surroundings. Water from the bottom the first few times, ensuring that none is left standing in the saucer.

There are almost as many potting soil formulas as successful violet growers. I like the one that calls for one part of each sand, leaf mold, peat moss, and garden soil.

I sterilize the soil, sometimes in the pressure cooker, putting it into the inset pan and cooking it for 15 minutes at 15 pounds pressure; sometimes in the oven, 30 minutes at 200° Fahrenheit. Only the soil in the formula needs to be sterilized.

by D Schroeder

10682 by NA