Decapitating African Violet Crowns, Why And How?

Decapitating African Violet Crowns, Why And How?

Why do we need to decapitate African Violet crowns?

  • African Violets need to be decapitated at the crown level when issues with the roots or soil arise.
  • This can either be when root rot occurs or when the roots/soil is infested with bugs.
  • Sometimes when a new plant is bought from an unknown seller, some buyers will decapitate the African Violet from the crown and start in fresh soil. This is just as a precaution to safeguard against any hitchhiking bugs or disease in the soil.

How to decapitate the African Violet crown?

  • Before you start, first place multiple layers of newspaper on your work-area table.
  • Then wear clean gloves, lay out your supplies nearby-a small trash bag, a clean scalpel, sucker plucker-optional and a spray bottle of 70% ethanol.
  • Spray gloves with ethanol and start working with your first plant.

Example1:

This African Violet plant has developed a soil infestation.

  • First we will remove all the outer & middle ring leaves.
  • We will leave behind the 4 small-medium center / inner ring of leaves.
  • Here we will also leave the center crown- tiny set of 2 leaves too.
  • Next, remove plant- rootball from the pot.
  • Remove all soil and roots from the center crown stem.
  • Make sure to gently remove all the soil from the African Violet plant stem.
  • If you have an infestation, do this gently to prevent spreading soil everywhere.
  • Soil should not touch the leaves also, try to avoid this.
  • For this particular plant the African Violet crown stem is short and not very long.
  • Once soil is removed, clear your bench by wrapping up your old soil in one sheet of paper and put it in trash bag.
  • Spray gloves with ethanol again. Air dry.
  • Then place your African Violet crown stem plant on a fresh sheet of paper.
  • Slice the bottom of the stem, a nice clean vertical cut. There should be 1cm-3cm (0.5inch-1inch) of stem left.
  • Now gently scrape the sides of the stem using your fingers or a sucker plucker tool. This is to remove the outer old tissue and any extra soil / roots.
  • Since this one was a short stem, I sliced off only a little bit from the bottom.
  • Now spray your scalpel with ethanol, allow to air dry.
  • Cleaning your tools in between is especially important if you have an infestation.
  • Finally slice the bottom part of your scraped stem into a V shape. It should be a pointed V. Please see below.
  • Now fill up a new pot with fresh soil and stick the pointed V shaped stem into the soil.
  • Place decapitated African Violet plant into a ziploc bag. Keep in bag for 1-2 months. Then open up bag, leave for 2 weeks.
  • You can give the plant a little tug after 2 weeks. If it seems firmly rooted / planted in the soil, that means new roots have formed from the crown and it is stable in the soil. You can go ahead and remove your African Violet from the bag.
  • If the African Violet plant still seems wobbly or it pulls out easily from the soil, then you can leave it in the opened up bag for a few more weeks. Then it should be safe to remove.

Example 2:

  • This African Violet plant has developed root rot.
  • Remove all the outer & middle ring leaves, about 8 leaves.
  • We will leave behind the 5 small-medium center / inner ring of leaves.
  • Here we will also leave the center crown- tiny set of 2 leaves too.
  • Remove plant- rootball from the pot.
  • Remove all soil and roots from the center crown stem.
  • Remove all the soil from the African Violet plant stem.
  • Once soil is removed, clear your bench by wrapping up your old soil in one sheet of paper and put it in trash bag. Spray gloves with ethanol again. Air dry.
  • Then place your African Violet crown stem plant on a fresh sheet of paper.
  • Slice the bottom of the stem, a nice clean vertical cut. There should be 1cm-3cm (0.5inch-1inch) of stem left.
  • Now gently scrape the sides of the stem using your fingers or a sucker plucker tool. This is to remove the outer old tissue and any extra soil / roots.
  • Since this one was a short stem, I sliced off only a little bit from the bottom.
  • Spray your scalpel with ethanol, allow to air dry.
  • Finally slice the bottom part of your scraped stem into a V shape. It should be a pointed V. Please see below.
  • Fill up a new pot with fresh soil and stick the pointed V shaped stem into this fresh soil.
  • Place decapitated African Violet plant into a ziploc bag. Keep in bag for 1-2 months. Then open up bag, leave for 2 weeks.
  • You can then place the African Violet plant on your stand.
  • After 3 months, this violet was well rooted and started growing back healthy.

Example 3:

  • To start the decapitation process of our African Violet plant, first we will remove all the outer & middle ring leaves.
  • This will include 3-4 ring of leaves, totaling around 14 leaves.
  • We will leave behind the 5 small-medium center / inner ring of leaves.
  • Here we will also leave the center crown- tiny set of 4 leaves too.
  • Remove plant- rootball from the pot.
  • Remove all soil and roots from the center crown stem.
  • Once soil is removed, clear your bench by wrapping up your old soil in one sheet of paper and put it in trash bag.
  • Spray gloves with ethanol again. Air dry.
  • Then place your African Violet crown stem plant on a fresh sheet of paper.
  • This African Violet plant, has a long crown stem.
  • The stem also has tiny bits of leaf stems sticking out from the base of the crown.
  • Carefully remove these leaf stems from the main crown stem. See above.
  • Now gently scrape the sides of the stem using your fingers or a sucker plucker tool.
  • This is to remove the outer old tissue and any extra soil / roots.
  • This crown stem was quite long, so I sliced off 1cm from below. This was a straight vertical cut using a scalpel.
  • Spray your scalpel with ethanol, allow to air dry.
  • Finally slice the bottom part of your scraped stem into a V shape. It should be a pointed V.
  • Fill up a new pot with fresh soil and stick the pointed V shaped stem into this fresh soil.
  • After 3 months, this violet was well rooted and started growing back healthy.

Example 4:

  • This is our next African Violet plant.
  • It is a medium sized plant. First we will remove the 4 outer leaves and the middle 3 leaves.
  • We will leave behind the 3 small-medium center / inner ring of leaves.
  • Here we will also leave the center crown- tiny set of 2 leaves too.
  • Remove plant- rootball from the pot.
  • Remove all soil and roots from the center crown stem. Once soil is removed, clear your bench by wrapping up your old soil in one sheet of paper and put it in trash bag.
  • Spray gloves with ethanol again. Air dry.
  • Then place your African Violet crown stem plant on a fresh sheet of paper.
  • This African Violet plant, has a medium length crown stem.
  • Also, remove the tiny leaf stems from the main crown stem. See above.
  • Now gently scrape the sides of the stem using your fingers or a sucker plucker tool. This is to remove the outer old tissue and any extra soil / roots.
  • Since the crown stem is not too long, I only sliced the thin end of the stem off. This was a straight vertical cut, using a scalpel.
  • Spray your scalpel with ethanol, allow to air dry.
  • Finally slice the bottom part of your scraped stem into a V shape. It should be a pointed V. See above.
  • Fill up a new pot with fresh soil and stick the pointed V shaped stem into this fresh soil.

Example 5:

  • This is the plant we will be using to decapitate the African Violet crown stem.
  • It has not been growing well, keeps loosing leaves and not growing.
  • Go ahead and remove the outer 3-4 leaves.
  • Since we only had a few leaves to begin with, leave behind the 2 larger leaves and the center crown 2 leaves.
  • Remove plant- rootball from the pot.
  • Remove all soil and roots from the center crown stem.
  • Once soil is removed, clear your bench by wrapping up your old soil in one sheet of paper and put it in trash bag.
  • Spray gloves with ethanol again. Air dry.
  • Then place your African Violet crown stem plant on a fresh sheet of paper.
  • This African Violet plant, has a small length crown stem.
  • Also, remove the tiny leaf stems from the main crown stem.
  • There are about 8 of these tiny leaf stems. See below.
  • Now gently scrape the sides of the stem using your fingers or a sucker plucker tool.
  • This is to remove the outer old tissue and any extra soil / roots.
  • Since the crown stem is small in length, I did a straight vertical cut at the bottom, using a scalpel.
  • Spray your scalpel with ethanol, allow to air dry.
  • Finally slice the bottom part of your scraped stem into a V shape. It should be a pointed V. See below.
  • Fill up a new pot with fresh soil and stick the pointed V shaped stem into this fresh soil.
  • After 3 months, this violet was well rooted and started growing back healthy.

Example 6:

  • This is the plant we will be using to decapitate the African Violet crown stem. It is a small plant.
  • Go ahead and remove the outer 3 leaves.
  • Since we only had a few leaves to begin with, leave behind the 3 larger leaves and the center crown 2 leaves.
  • Remove plant- rootball from the pot.
  • Remove all soil and roots from the center crown stem.
  • Then place your separated African Violet crown stem on a fresh sheet of paper.
  • Go ahead and remove the tiny leaf stems from the main crown stem.
  • There are about 8 of these tiny leaf stems. See below.
  • Also remove the extra soil bits near the top of the crown stem.
  • Now gently scrape the sides of the stem using your fingers or a sucker plucker tool.
  • Since the crown stem is small in length, I did a straight vertical cut at the bottom, using a scalpel.
  • Spray your scalpel with ethanol, allow to air dry.
  • Finally slice the bottom part of your scraped stem into a V shape. It should be a pointed V. See below.
  • Fill up a new pot with fresh soil and stick the pointed V shaped stem into this fresh soil.

Example 7:

  • This is the plant we will be using to decapitate the African Violet crown stem. It is a large plant.
  • Go ahead and remove the outer-middle ring of leaves. This will include 3 ring of leaves, totaling around 15 leaves.
  • We will leave behind the 3 small center leaves and the tiny set of inner 2 leaves too.
  • Remove plant- rootball from the pot.
  • Remove all soil and roots from the center crown stem.
  • Go ahead and remove the tiny leaf stems from the main crown stem.
  • There are about 4 of these tiny leaf stems. See below.
  • Now gently scrape the sides of the stem.
  • The crown stem here is long in length. I did a straight vertical cut at the bottom, using a scalpel to remove 1cm of the bottom stem.
  • Then, spray your scalpel with ethanol, allow to air dry.
  • Finally slice the bottom part of your scraped stem into a V shape. See below.
  • Fill up a new pot with fresh soil and stick the pointed V shaped stem into this fresh soil.
  • After 3 months, this violet was well rooted and started growing back healthy.

Example 8:

  • This is the plant we will be using to decapitate the African Violet crown stem.
  • Go ahead and remove the outer-middle ring of leaves.
  • This will include 2 ring of leaves, totaling around 9 leaves.
  • We will leave behind the 3 small center leaves and the tiny set of inner 2 leaves too.
  • Remove plant- rootball from the pot.
  • Remove all soil and roots from the center crown stem.
  • Go ahead and remove the tiny leaf stems from the main crown stem.
  • There are about 6 of these tiny leaf stems. See below.
  • Now gently scrape the sides of the stem.
  • The crown stem here is really long in length.
  • I did a straight vertical cut at the bottom, using a scalpel to remove only a little bit of the bottom.
  • I didn’t remove too much, as the stem was green in color and it seemed quite healthy.
  • Once you have sliced the bottom base, spray your scalpel with ethanol, allow to air dry.
  • Finally slice the bottom part of your scraped stem into a V shape. See below.
  • Fill up a new pot with fresh soil and stick the pointed V shaped stem into this fresh soil.

Here we detailed 8 different African Violet plant decapitation examples. This should give you a broad idea, as each plant is slightly different, in terms of plant size, number of leaves and crown stem size.

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