How to Bury and Re-Pot African Violet Bare Stems or Necks?

How to Bury and Re-Pot African Violet Bare Stems or Necks?

What does a long neck look like on African Violets?

  • An African Violet neck looks like a long and thin tree trunk. It can resemble a small tree.
  • The trunk starts upwards from the base of the soil and ends at the leaves of the plants.
  • Below are three images of an African Violet neck:
  • These are relatively small necks (1-2 inches).
  • Sometimes, if an African Violet is left unattended it can develop a long thick neck (5-6 inches) long.
  • This kind of neck ultimately tilts sideways due to the weight of the crown. This kind of neck is known as a “goose neck”.
  • A neck can also resemble a palm tree/coconut tree trunk.
  • These are close up images detailing the scaly surface of an African Violet neck:

How does a long neck develop on African Violets?

  • African Violets grow from the top, developing its crown and displaying its rosette forming leaves.
  • As the plant uses its energy to produce leaves from the top/center, the lower older leaves start to lose their usefulness and die back.
  • The plant loses these mature leaves as they become dry, shriveled or yellow.
  • It then becomes necessary to keep removing these lower leaves to promote growth at the top/center of the African Violet plant.
Robs Macho Devil African Violet Plant
Robs Zipper Zapper African Violet Plant
  • Overtime, as more and more lower leaves are lost or removed a bare stem or neck forms on the African Violet plant.
  • As the African Violet plant grows, the neck pulls the plant away from the soil and the pot.
  • This is when the neck needs to be buried/hidden underneath soil and the Violet needs to be repotted.
  • Sometimes, when the lower ring of leaves become old, tough, yellow, brown or mushy, I remove 1-2 rings of leaves from the plant.
  • This leaves behind tiny leaf stalks as seen below.
  • When these stalks are removed, the neck of the African Violet plant becomes visible.
  • Below are images of African Violet plants with the lower ring of leaves removed.

Why do we need to remove or hide the neck on African Violets?

  • One of the reasons to hide the neck is aesthetics. The African Violet plant will look unattractive as it no longer maintains its flat rosette shape.
  • The African Violet plant with a neck will eventually start to grow at an angle.
  • The plant will be more susceptible to disease, such as root rot, if the neck is left exposed to the outside environment.

How to repot the neck on African Violets?

  • Below are three examples which show how to repot African Violet plants with a neck:

Example 1:

  • This plant has lost its rosette shape and the bottom leaves are starting to look damaged, old and yellow.
  • I first removed few of the damaged, old and yellow leaves. 
  • This revealed the neck of the African Violet plant, which had brown scabs and dry roots up and around the entire length.
  • I then removed the plant along with its root mass from the pot.
  • To maintain its rosette shape, I removed a few more straggly leaves.
  • To encourage new root growth from the neck, I scraped off the brown scabs and dry tissue from the neck of the violet.
  • This can be done with a sucker plucker tool, a sharp knife or a clean fingernail.
  • After scraping the neck the exposed tissue looks bright green.
  • Since my African Violet plant has not developed a very long neck, I just removed a layer of soil from the bottom of the root mass that is equal to the length of the neck.
  • So my neck was around 1” in length, I removed around 1” of soil from the bottom of the root mass.
  • I added some fresh perlite at the base of the pot and set the plant back into its pot.
  • I then filled up the pot with fresh soil and covered the root mass and neck of the African Violet plant.
  • The buried neck will now spread out new roots into the soil.
  • You can sprinkle the neck with rooting hormone to speed up the process, but I have never done this.
  • I just place the freshly potted up neck in a Ziploc bag or humidity dome to increase the humidity and promote root growth.

Example 2 & 3:

  • I first removed two sets of leaves (6-9) which were dead, damaged, old, brown or yellowish in color.
  • I then removed the tiny leaf stems completely off of the main stem of the plant.
  • The plant is now ready for next step. Take a sharp knife or sucker plucker tool or use your clean fingernail and gently scrape the “trunk” or “bare stem” or “neck” of the plant stem all around and down the entire length, to expose the inner green tissue layer of stem.
  • Exposure of this tissue layer along the neck/stem promotes growth of new roots.
  • I used my fingernail to gently scrape the neck.
  • I then removed the plant along with its root mass from the pot.
  • Since both of these plants have a short neck, I removed only ½” of soil from the bottom of the soil mass.
  • Here, I also removed a little bit of perlite from top part of the soil mass.
  • Finally, place the plant along with its root mass back into the pot.
  • I did not add any extra soil at the bottom of the pot, as there was enough on the plant and the height of the plant in the pot was just right.
  • The bottom leaves of the plant should just touch or graze the rim of the pot.
  • If the leaves are too high, you can remove more soil from the bottom of the root mass.
  • If the leaves are sitting too deep in the pot, you can add more soil at the bottom and then place the plant and root mass in the pot.
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20 thoughts on “How to Bury and Re-Pot African Violet Bare Stems or Necks?

  1. I watched several YouTube videos and didn’t get the information I needed until stumbling upon your post. Thank you so much for your detailed explanation and extremely helpful tips! Off to bury my violet neck now!

    1. Hello Barbara,
      thank for your kind words, really appreciate it. Happy to hear my posts were useful! Happy Growing! BV

    1. Hello Vicky,
      I am happy to hear the article was useful.Thank you for your positive feedback, really appreciate it.
      regards,
      BV

  2. You just answered so many questions of mine,thank you! Your photos made it so easy to follow…. I was afraid to remove suckers thinking they were normal….THANK YOU

  3. I have an African violet that had grown too crowded, when I inspected it, it had a long neck with 2 visible plants on it. I don’t
    know how to separate them.
    Please advise!

    1. Hello Sandra,

      thank you for your question. Is your plant a trailer, if it has two visible plants on it then that’s ok. If its a normal rosette variety then if possible, you should try to remove one of the plants, whichever is easiest to remove. If one of the plants is slightly growing to the side, then can remove that one and leave the other plant which is growing in the center or seems to be the main part of the plant. Can carefully slice off one of the plants at the base with a sharp scalpel and pot in a light weight potting mix. Place the pot in a sealed ziploc bag for at least a month. Keep a eye on it, water when necessary, no need to fertilize for now and it should start to send out roots. If you could send a picture, that would be helpful, could give more specific advice. Best of Luck! BV.

  4. Hi , this Sandra again, the one that sent the pictures on March 7.
    I have the plant in the plastic bag like you said, however I forgot to ask if I close the bags and if I place them on the window south side or a neutral place with some light and no sun.
    Thank you
    Sandra

    1. Hi Sandra,

      Yes, the bag should be closed. An enclosed environment will help the crown give out new roots. If you observe lots of condensation / water droplets inside the bag, you can open it up, wipe the water drops clean, or leave the bag open for a few hours, then close the bag again. If the soil becomes too moist/soggy due to condensation, then open up the bag a little to allow for air circulation, keep bag open. I am not sure about the light. I usually keep my recovering plants in the same light as they were before. I dont give any special light treatment. If you had kept them in a south window, keep them there as before. African Violets like indirect filtered light, no direct sunlight. Hope this helps, best of luck, BV

  5. Hello, I’m enjoying reading all your good advice! I have several nice rosette type African Violets, have had beautiful healthy foliage and lots of blooms. Then I brought home a new color from a local nursery, and soon my plants all had tiny green aphid-looking insects on the flowers! The nursery denies any responsibility, but I never had any pests, for several years until I bought the new plant. I’ve diligently cleaned every tiny green insect off with a Q-tip, scotch tape, often checking the plants, every few hours for more. I get them cleaned off, and all look good for a while, until another set of blooms on any of the plants, and then it’s as if the tiny aphids emerge with the buds! Soon the first flowers to open have drops of residue, and little shed skins or excrement?, and the rest of the clusters of buds get hard and often don’t open. I snip them carefully out and discard, have tried so hard to clean these insects off manually, isolating the ones that are blooming, and for a few weeks I don’t see any aphids, the foliage looks full, healthy, vibrant, and then the aphids come again when the bud clusters come up.
    Please help!

    1. Hello Marilyn,
      thank you for your question. So sorry to hear about your dilemma. It seems like maybe after your cleaning, new eggs are hatching and they show up again. Did you check the soil? Is there anything in there. I am not sure what these bugs are, they sound like thrips. If they are clear in color and hang out around the buds, then it may be thrips. If so, first remove all the buds. Check the leaves, do you see any, underneath also. You mentioned you see sheds of skin? this may be pollen on the flower, which the thrips spill as they feed on the flowers. I would recommend using neem oil, this may help. Try it for a few weeks, spraying once a week. If it doesnt help, then any other insecticide, for thrips/aphids. Are they transferring to your other plants? Or just this one plant. I would isolate this plant in a ziploc baggie or keep it away from your other plants. Next time when you bring a new plant, make sure to isolate it for a month at least. Change the soil after a month and still keep it isolated for a few more weeks. Hope this helps. Maybe you can send a picture of the bug to my email at babyvioletss@gmail.com and I could assist more. regards, BV

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