Why do African Violet plants need to be in a certain size pots?
- African Violet plants potted in a too small or large pot, will not grow to its full potential.
- The growth may be slower, leaves smaller and blooms/bud may not produce.
- The African Violet plant will still survive, however it will have an uneven growth habit.
What is the ideal pot size for my African Violet plant?
(a) Choosing pot size based upon type of African Violet:
- One method to choosing your correct African Violet pot is identifying the type of African Violet plant you have.
- If you have a miniature/mini African Violet plant, the ideal pot side is between 1″- 2″ pots.
- Miniatures maximum diameter is 6″ across.
- If you have a semi miniature (semi-mini) African Violet plant, the ideal pot size is between 2″- 2.5″ pots.
- Semi miniatures maximum diameter is 8″ across.
- If you have a standard / large African Violet plant, the ideal pot size is between 3″- 4″ pots.
- Standards maximum diameter is 12″ across.
(b) Choosing pot size based upon diameter of African Violet plant:
- Ideal pot size for African Violet plants is 1/3rd size of the plant.
- Which means your African Violet plants diameter should be 3 times the diameter of your pot.
- For e.g. if the diameter of your African Violet plant is 3″, it should be in a 1″pot. If the diameter of your African Violet plant is 6″, it should be in a 2″ pot. If the diameter of your African Violet plant is 8″, it should be in a 2-3″ pot. If the diameter of your African Violet is 9″, it should be in a 3″ pot. If the diameter of your African Violet plant is 12″, it should be in a 4″ pot.
- The diameter is measured from the outer edge of one African Violet leaf across the crown to the outer edge of the opposite leaf.
(c) Choosing pot size based upon the size of your African Violet plants roots:
- One final method of choosing the pot size for your African Violet plant is to pick a pot size similar to the length and / or width of your plants roots / rootball size.
- The pot size should be just big enough for all the roots to nicely fit inside the pot.
- There should be just enough space around the roots to add soil in the pot to fill up the pot.
- After filling up the pot with soil, the roots should not stick out from the top of the pot and also not come out from the bottom of the pots drainage.
- If this happens, pot up, which means pot the plant in a 1″ larger pot.
- African Violet plants prefer to be potted in 1″ increment pot size.
- For e.g. if your African Violet is in a 3″ pot, then pot it up next time in a 4″ pot.
- Conversely, the if your African Violet plant has a smaller root system and it is potted in a larger pot, then it will contain too much soil, compared to the roots and the soil will retain too much water.
- Over the long run, this can lead to root rot and if planted deep inside soil, crown rot too.
What happens if pot size is too small for my African Violet plant?
- If your pot is too small for your African Violet plants, you will start to see roots growing out from the top of the soil and through the drainage holes.
- The roots will become “rootbound” and compacted within the limited soil available.
- Rootbound means when the roots have taken up all the space within the pot and when there is no space left, they start to circle around the existing roots and form a tight root ball.
- This can deprive your African Violet plant of moisture, nutrients and air pockets.
- The African Violet growth will slow down, leading to leaves growing slower from the crown, the older leaves falling off or turning yellow/mushy.
- This in turn can lead to an elongated neck. To learn more about long necks in African Violet plants, How to Bury and Re-Pot African Violet Bare Stems or Necks?
- The leaf stems will also grow elongated and the African Violet plant will cease to bloom, form buds.
How can I pot up my African Violet plant in a larger pot?
- First of all find out what size pot your current African Violet plant is in.
- Then select a pot 1″ larger in size than your current pot.
- Gently remove your African Violet from its current pot. This can be done by gently squeezing the sides of the pot (if its plastic) to loosen up the soil/roots slightly.
- Then turn the pot at an angle, tap the pot base gently with one hand and with the other hand holding the base of the stems, gently tug the plant out of the pot.
- If the plant does not come out of the pot, do not force it out and do not pull the stems. Gently squeeze the pot sides again and tap the pot base a few times, this will loosen up the roots and soil and the plant should easily come out of the pot.
- Once the plant is out of the pot, inspect the roots for any bugs/ infestation. If all looks good, can shake off / brush off any old soil.
- Do not disturb the root ball or the root mass.
- Then transfer your African Violet plant to the new pot.
- The plant should sit in the pot such that the outer leaves just brush the rim of the pot.
- If the plant is sitting too deep into the pot it can lead to crown rot.
- To prevent your African Violet plant from sitting too deep inside the pot, add a fresh layer of soil in the pot.
- This soil will form a base on top of which your African Violet plant can rest.
- Then place your African Violet plant into the pot, it should now rest higher above the rim of the pot and not too deep inside.
- You can not add soil in the pot to cover the roots and any empty pockets in the pot.
- There is no need to pat down the soil. Keep the soil loose.
- Alternatively, instead of adding soil to the base of the pot, you can add coarse perlite.
- This layer of perlite in the bottom of your pot can improve water drainage in your plant.
What happens if my pot is too large for my African Violet plant?
- If your pot size is too large for your African Violet plant, the opposite will happen, the roots will be lost in all the extra soil.
- The roots will keep trying to fill up the pot and expanding, in the process the plant it will forget to grow the top part of the plant (leaves/flowers) and focus on growing the bottom part of the plant (roots).
- This will in the long term, diminish the African Violets growth above the soil and it will also flower slowly.
- Another sign that the pot is too large, is if the soil is always wet even if you have enough drainage at the bottom of the pot.
- As there are not enough roots to absorb all this extra water, the African Violet roots will just sit in the wet soil and over time this can lead to root rot.
How can I pot down my African Violet plant in a smaller pot?
- First measure the pot size of your current African Violet plant.
- Then go down 1″ in size and select another pot. For e.g. if your current pot size is 3″, then repot in a 2″ smaller pot.
- The size of the pot is measured in diameter, so 2″ means 2″ diameter of the pot.
- The base and the top of the pot usually measure same. A slight half inch difference between both is fine.
- Follow the same steps as mentioned in the prior section (potting into a large size pot).
- The potting method is the same. Can also check out the article, How Often To Change African Violet Potting Soil Mix & Why?, for more tips on re-potting African Violet plants.
How many holes should my African Violet pot have for drainage?
- Sometimes, you may use a container in your house to pot African Violets and choose to drill holes by yourself in the container.
- When doing this remember:
- 4 inch pots – 4-6 holes (1/4″- 1/8″ diameter)
- 3 inch pots – 3-4 holes (1/4″ diameter)
- 2 inch pots – 2-3 holes (1/8″ diameter)
- 1 inch pots – 1 hole (1/8″ diameter).
- Pots should always have holes underneath. African Violets need to be planted in pots which can provide drainage.
What kind of pot should I use for African Violet trailer plants?
- African Violet trailers like shallow depth pots and wide in length.
- Something similar to Azalea pots would work well for African Violets.
- Can use a pan pot, this way African Violet trailers can have space to branch out horizontally.
- When deciding the pot size, measure the length or spread of the trailer plant.
- Then select a pot 1/3rd size of its spread. So if your spread is 12″, choose a 4″ pot. If its a 9″, choose a 3″ pot and if its 6″ spread, then choose a 2″ pot.
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