The Q&A Archives: Senior Citizen African Violet

Question: I have an African Violet that I've cared for for many years. It blooms continually so it appears to be very "happy". My problem is that the base of the plant is growing longer and longer (now about 4 inches from the soil line to the new growth) as the lower leaves die off and are replaced. The plant is starting to lean well over the edge of its pot. Is there anything I can do to restore "balance" without losing the plant? I was thinking about repotting it and putting the plant deeper into the pot, level with the newer growth but am afraid this might kill the plant. I'd appreciate whatever advice you can give.

Answer: Rather than repotting, you might try starting a new (identical) plant by rooting a healthy leaf taken from the center of the plant. Early spring and summer are the best times to do this. Simply remove a leaf, trim the stem to about an inch and a half long and "plant" or set it upright into barely damp potting soil or vermiculite so that the stem is buried. (Lean the leaf back against the edge of the pot if necessary to keep it more or less upright.) Keep the soil slightly moist and in a few weeksor so the leaf should develop roots and begin to grow into a plantlet which can then be potted into normal African violet soil. You can start several leaves in one pot in case you'd like a few more plants.

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