Streptocarpus: Repotting and Dividing

This lesson will demonstrate when and how to pot Streptocarpus plants into larger pots, and how to divide and repot a mature plant.  More so than some other gesneriads, streps like to have fresh, light, soil into which they can produce new root growth–they need “happy feet”.  Timely potting and repotting ensures that they will continue to grow and bloom.  Like African violets, properly cared for streps can live indefinitely–some streps in our collection have been in continuous bloom for 5 years or more

StreptocarpusStep 1:  Potting-up into a 3″ pot.  When the first bloom appears on a young plantlet in its original 2″ pot, it is ready to be potted-up into a larger, 3″ pot.  It’s best if both the new soil (in the 3″ pot) and the plantlet’s soil are moist (not dry, not soggy).  Make a “mold” in the 3″ pot by making a hole in the center about the size of the plantlet’s pot.  Having done this, the plantlet can then be easily dropped into the molded hole.

StreptocarpusStep 2:  The just potted plant.  Firm the plantlet in, and be sure to label the pot.  For the next 2-3 weeks after any repotting,water more sparingly!  The recently repotted plant needs time to establish new root growth into the additional soil. (See photo right)

StreptocarpusStrep 3:  Potting-up into a 4″ or 5″ pot.  Once in a 3″ pot, most streps will growvery quickly!  For compact growers this means a 4″, and for most other varieties, a 5″ pot.  Shallow “azalea” pots are best.  Basically you just repeat step #1.  Make a mold in the larger pot by making a hole the approximate size of the smaller 3″ pot, then drop the plant into the hole and firm-in.  Again, water carefully for the next couple of weeks, until the plant develops new roots in the larger pot.  (see photo at left)

StreptocarpusStep 4:  Dividing streps by separating crowns.  After about 6 months in its final, larger, pot, your strep will need to be repotted again into fresh soil.  By then, the plant may be thick with foliage and you may notice more than one plant, or “crown”, growing in the pot.  First, cut away some of the older growth.  These leaves have likely already produced a number of bloom stalks and have served their purpose (we’ve already done this with the plant pictured at left).  Next, you’ll want to divide and separate the multiple plants that appear in the pot.  Begin to do this by making a shallow cut through the surface growth that usually joins the multiple crowns.  Sometimes this growth is quite tough.  You needn’t cut through the entire rootball, just the tough growth at the surface.

StreptocarpusStep 5:  Separate into two or more plants.  Once you’ve made the initial cut described above, firmly grasp the two plants and carefully pull apart.  You should be able to separate the original potted plant into two or more smaller plants, each with its own rootball.  At this point, these separate plants can each be potted into their own pots (repeat step 3).  Again, be careful in your watering immediately after potting.

In another 6 months or so, this will need to be repeated again.  Streps will go much longer without repotting, but will be healthiest, and perform and bloom best when repotting is done in a regular, timely, manner.  Gesneriads are “survivors”–they will do their best to live under even the worst of conditions, and streps are better at this than most.  But for them to look and perform their best, they need to be cared for when they require it, not when its “convenient” for us (though admittedly, we all procrastinate a bit….).

10 comments

  • My Streps. Were lovely for about 4-5 months , I repotted as directed but they did not come back well at all , they stopped blooming and look raggedy , they grow under a grow light bar. The leaves on most look like they were sun burned and seem to just be shrinking , I’m not a novice plant grower,m my violets do well and 2 small orchids, what’s happening to my streptocarpus ? Help!

    • Would need far more information than what’s provided here for a proper diagnosis. You can always call us during business hours.

  • I have my streps outside this summer in a protected area and they love it! What do you suggest I spray them with before bringing them inside for the fall and winter. I want to make sure I don’t bring any tiny critters inside! Thank you

  • I just received 6 streps as a gift from my son. Do I wait u til they bloom to repot from the plastic pot they arrived in to a 3″ pot? I read the enclosed purple sheet and it stated that they should be repotted at about 6 months from the date on the plastic pot. Mine are dated Oct and Nov of 2016. Read about the repotting process on your site but I do not want to move them too soon and cause stress. I have had them about 2 weeks. No signs of bloom time yet. Thanks, Jo

    • Since streps don’t like to be overpotted, wait until you’re certain that plant has filled the current pot with roots before going to larger pot. When the plant looks top heavy and overgrown, this is likely the case.

  • What soil do you use when repotting and do they like fertilizer of any sort (such as compost tea)?

    • Streps prefer a very light, coarse, soil. We like to use a soil with added perlite, much like a “wicking” soil. Any ordinary, balanced, houseplant fertilizer is sufficient.

  • Kathryn Kilpatrick

    My streps were repotted into a 2 1/2 inch pot a few months ago. Now, they are budding and some are ready to burst into blooms. (yayyy) Do I need to leave them alone and let them enjoy blooming, or is this the time to repot into a 4 inch pot? I am so nervous I will upset them!!

    • Streps will begin blooming when very young, even in the smallest of pots, sometimes before the plant has really grown very much (when this is case, we’ll remove blooms to encourage foliage growth). If plant has a full root system and can fill, or nearly fill, the current pot with roots, then it would be time to pot into a larger container.

  • Have had these plants for years. I love them.I did not know how to care for them. Love your website! Thank you for all the info on these wonderful plants. Have one in bloom now & will get it repotted soon.

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