How To Grow African Violets

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This Article Will Give You Information and Tips On How To Grow African Violets.
by Maple Tree · All Zones · Growing Basics · 0 Comments · June 17, 2014 · 3,900 views

The African violet (Saintpaulia species) is a popular houseplant that grows and flowers with temperatures and light conditions found in the average home. There are many varieties and colors available that can be easily grown. With just a little care in providing them with proper conditions they will stay healthy and bloom continually all year long. Growing up I can't remember a time I ever saw our kitchen window without several pots of African violets growing in them. Seeing them in so many households, florists, nurseries, and garden centers, I can see why this beautiful flowering house plant is hailed as "America's Favorite Houseplant".

Here is information and tips on how to grow healthy abundantly blooming African violets.

Soil African Violets

Always plant in a soil that is well draining. African violets need a soil mix that is well draining and aerated. Soil specifically formulated to African violets can be purchased at most nurseries and garden centers. I you wish to use a soil mix on your own best results will be achieved with a mix containing a high percentage of humus or organic material. A good mixture you could use would be 1 part leaf mold, 1 part peat moss, 1 part sand, and 1 part loamy top soil. It’s important not to plant your African violet in too large a container. They do not have a large root system and do well even if becoming a little root bound. Too large a pot holds too much soil that will stay too wet as the plant can't use all the water in this excess soil. Any African violets I have grown do well in a container 1/2 the diameter of the plant or even a little smaller. African violets need to be regularly repotted, even when they haven’t outgrown their pot. It is not necessary to repot them into a larger pot if the root system has not filled the pot they are growing in. African Violets require fresh soil around their roots to remain healthy. At least once a year you should repot your violet with fresh new soil. Replacing with fresh soil will help in getting rid of any buildup of salts and other chemicals from hard water and fertilizing that can affect the plants health.

Potting

Be careful when potting your African violet remembering that their leaves, stems, and roots can be tender and easily damaged or broken. Fill your pot with enough soil mix in order to set the crown of the plant slightly above the soil level and approximately 1/4 of an inch below the rim of the pot. Continue adding soil mix to the pot filling in around the plant lightly firming the soil making sure there are no air pockets. Water plant well making sure all potting soil is consistently moistened making sure soil is not kept to wet. Plants will do better in pots with drainage holes in the bottom allowing any excess water to drain easily.

Light

African violets need plenty of bright indirect light to grow healthy and bloom well. The most common cause of not blooming is not enough bright light. Although you may have it sitting in a window the light may not be bright enough. Block some of the light coming through the window and hitting your plant. If you don't see a shadow on the plant it is not getting enough light. Morning sun is alright but afternoon direct sun is too much and can burn the leaves. During the winter months with short and or cloudy days you can keep them blooming with enough light by sitting them under a fixture with two 40-watt fluorescent tubes (Cool White Tubes) 12 to 15 inches above your plants. African Violets need 8 to 12 hours of light and 8 hours of darkness to grow and bloom well. An indication of too little light is thin darker green leaves with very long and weak stems. Too little light will also be indicated by very little to no flowering. South or west windows offer the best light in winter. During warmer seasons, windows with east or north exposures are best. As plenty of bright light is needed for good health and blooming it is important that the plant receives at least 8 hours of darkness also.

Water

The African violet likes a soil that is evenly moist. Your African violets do not like too much or too little water and can die from either one. Too much water can cause disease which can also be a killer. It is best to grow your African violets in pots with drain holes in the bottom. Plants in containers without drainage holes are much more subject to overwatering problems. Always water your plants until the water runs out the bottom of the container making sure all soil is consistently moistened. You can water the plant by sitting it in a shallow dish of water. Once the soil has absorbed enough water to moisten the soil the pot needs to be set aside to drain any excess water. It’s important not to plant your African violet in too large a container. They do not have a large root system and do well even if becoming a little root bound. Too large a pot holds too much soil that will stay too wet as the plant can't use all the water in this excess soil. Any African Violets I have grown do well in a container 1/2 the diameter of the plant or even a little smaller. Always water your plants with room temperature water. The water should be room temperature, or as close as possible in temperature to the air around your plants. Too cold water can chill the roots of African violets. This can cause the leaves to curl down as the water is absorbed into the plant. Cold water can also cause leaf spotting if you are watering at the top of the plant getting the leaves wet. Water on leaves can also cause spots caused by burning if plant is in any hot direct sunlight. Never use soft water as this will increase the saline content of the soil which can hurt the plants ability to absorb water and nutrients. Routinely watering your plants may not be beneficial to your plants as their water needs may vary with soil mixture, drainage, light, temperature and humidity. It is best to water African violets whenever the soil surface feels dry to the touch and before any wilting of the leaves is seen.


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