Pot Size - Too Small
When African Violets are restricted to a pot size that is too small, they are unable to get sufficient water and nutrients. As a result, African Violets will have a distorted growth habit. The plant will appear rangy with elongated leaves and stems, and it will likely develop a long neck above the soil line. While your African Violet will probably not succumb to this anorexic condition, it is nevertheless unhealthy and greatly diminishes the aesthetic pleasure that comes to those who grow African Violets.
If your African Violet has this symptom, its pot size is too small.
Repot in the next pot size up. In general, pot sizes for African Violets come in 1-inch increments. Therefore, if your African Violet is potted in a 4-inch pot, repot in a 5-inch pot.
Be sure to use what is called an Azalea pot. These pots are more shallow than standard pots. Their height is three-quarters the size of their diameter at the top of the pot.
Before repotting, remember to disinfect the pot with a 10 percent bleach solution, i.e., 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.
If your African Violet has developed an elongated neck, you will need to pot it down. Do not be confused by the term. "Potting down a neck" has nothing to do with "potting down," as the term is normally understood. In fact, when potting down a neck, you do not use a smaller pot. Instead, you either use the same pot or a larger one. In the case of your African Violet, you will, of course, be using a larger pot.
The procedure for potting down a neck, especially when going to a larger pot size, is simple to do. After removing your African Violet and its rootball from your existing pot, add just enough potting soil to the bottom of your new pot so that the leaves of the Violet are resting on the rim. Next, add fresh potting soil up to the top of the neck, i.e., where the leaf stems of the bottom-most leaves issue from the main stem. Make sure that the new potting soil is pressed down firmly. When done, be sure to give your African Violet water and let any excess drain.
For more information on repotting, see "Caring for African Violets."
Do not let your African Violet get rootbound. When repotting (at least twice a year), examine the roots to insure that your African Violet does not need to be potted up. As another precaution, check the ratio between the pot size and the diameter formed by the outer edges of the leaves. The leaf diameter should be about three times the diameter at the top of the pot, i.e., if the pot size equals 4 inches, the diameter of the leaves should be no greater than 12 inches.
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