If bringing beauty to your indoor space is your goal, then African Violets are just what you are looking for. Clusters of violet, blue, purple, white and a myriad of other splendid colors bloom beautifully over a neat rosette of dark-green fuzzy leaves.
The flower is recognized worldwide to be one of the prettiest houseplants that come with the perk of blooming almost constantly. All you need is a bright window, and you’ll find your African Violets brightening up your space all year round. However, African Violets have earned quite the reputation of being a fuzzy plant to grow and care for.
The African violet does come with a few quirks since they are really demanding of the growing conditions. African Violets are peculiar about the water, light, temperature and soil requirements. But fret not! We are here to help you learn all about growing and nurturing the dainty houseplant.
Conditions for Culture
Adequate light is one of the pre-requisites for an African violet to stay healthy and produce abundant flowers. Insufficient light makes the leaves turn dark green and thin, while the leaf stems also become very long and weak.
On the other hand, too much sunlight can turn the leaves pale yellow-green, and you may also notice some bleached out burned or dead areas. However, you can diffuse bright sunlight with the help of a sheer curtain.
It’s important to ensure the right intensity and duration of light. Placing the plant in bright and indirect light should give good results. Generally, 3 feet from a south, east or west windows offer good exposure to the light. Maintain proper light exposure for eight hours every day, and try to make up for the insufficient lighting with the help of artificial fluorescent lights.
A little testing will easily help you determine if the light conditions at your home are suitable for the growth of violets. Also, you must note that the duration and intensity of light will vary according to the climate and weather.
African Violets grow most beautifully when properly watered. You can water the violets either from the top or from the bottom.
African violets are at risk of developing leaf spotting when splashed with cold water on the leaves. Hence, tepid water is recommended in case your water from the top but do not let the plant sit in standing water to avoid root damage. Keep watering until the water runs out from the bottom and be sure to drain the excess if you are using a tray or saucer below the pot to prevent problems from waterlogging.
In order to water the plant from the bottom, simply fill the tray below the pot with tepid water and it will be automatically drawn up to the soil with capillary action. You can pour off the excess water from the tray after about an hour.
Common indoor temperatures that range around 65 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 70° to 90°F during the day are fine for violets.
Humidity is essential for the growth and flowering of African violets. The flower tends to grow in high humidity ranges, so you’ll be required to set the pot in watertight trays filled with pebbles or water and gravel. Ensuring shallow water level is essential. Also, you must not let the plant sit in water for too long
Containers and Pots
African Violets like to be snug and hence grow best in small pots. But at the same time, they do require some space to grow. So, shallow pots that give them enough space to spread their roots are best for these beauties. It’s imperative to see that the root ball of the plant fits comfortably in the pot. The pot must have drainage holes at the bottom in order allow excess water to drain out and let the water seep into the soil when watering from the bottom.
Violets are easy to propagate from the leaf cuttings of a well-developed and mature plant. The leaf must be removed from the main stalk with a clean break. Place the leaf into a glass of water and make sure that it isn’t completely covered with water. Gradually, roots will start forming near the base.
You may also take a leaf with plenty of stems and place the stem into a pot containing sterile potting soil. Keep the soil moist and it will eventually grow into a new plant.
An ideal potting mix is the one that offers proper nutrition, moisture, aeration, and physical support to the plant so that it grows to its utmost capabilities. When it comes to African Violets, they grow best in soil that is loose and porous in structure, in addition to being well-draining and well-aerated. You can prepare a potting mix or opt to grow your plant in a soilless mix to meet your cultural requirements.
African violets can benefit from small amount of fertilizers, especially if you notice they haven’t bloomed or aren’t growing for several months. Use fertilizers that are specially made for African Violets and make sure to use the same in moderation. Mix the fertilizer at a one-quarter strength and use while watering the plant. Excessive or too little fertilizer may impact the growth of violets.
African violets thrive in small pots as they like to be root bound. Eventually, a mature plant tends to produce an offspring that can be grown into a new plant. As soon as you witness the formation of new crowns in the pot, gently remove the plant from the pot and separate the new growth. Repot the plants in separate containers to keep up with their growth.
Garden with clean hands
African violet is vulnerable to attack from diseases, organisms, and insects and may develop mildew, blight or stem rot if not taken care of. Make sure you always wash your hands and use gloves while handling any organic matter. Also, clean your gardening tools before and after use to prevent the spread of diseases from one houseplant to another.
Remove dead blooms
African violet is a plant that grows close to the soil. As such, dead leaves or flowers may start causing excessive moisture near the stem, ultimately leading it to rot. Therefore, in order to keep the plant healthy, you must remove any dead or dying leaf immediately from the pot.