How to Grow and Care for African Violets

Oct 11, 2022

With their striking purple petals and yellow centres, it is no wonder that African violets are loved by so many. The flowering plant blooms several times annually and is available in various colours. The rosette features thick, fluffy leaves and violet petals.

The exotic plant requires special care and maintenance to ensure it keeps blooming and doesn’t die out prematurely.

Top 6 Tips to Ensure Your African Violets Flourish

When planting and caring for this beautiful flowering plant, use these tips for the best results:

1.      Use Aerating Soil

Your garden-variety soil won’t do here. To make your African violets healthy, ensure the soil you use is slightly acidic and draining. Good potting soil is porous and light, allowing air to flow through the roots without getting soggy. Sphagnum peat moss is a suitable option.

2.      Water Carefully

Water African violets carefully, or the plant can die. Use tepid water and allow it to stand for at least 48 hours. Do not splash the leaves and petals, or it will cause spotting. Add the water at the base only. The best time to do this is when the soil doesn’t remain moist to the touch. You can also try watering from the bottom, but only if you are experienced in growing this delicate plant.

3.      Provide Filtered Light

Place your plants in a spot that is partially in the shade or gets filtered light from window treatments. Light will affect the flowering process. If your African violets have dark green leaves, they will thrive under higher light levels than those with pale foliage.

4.      Turn the Pots Frequently

Turn the pots frequently to keep the petals in the shade as much as possible. Your African violets can grow at least 3 feet tall if cared for properly. Keep them in a south or west-facing window of your home for the proper light, and add artificial light if that isn’t an option.

5.      Prune Cautiously

Prune these plants cautiously. Remove the dead leaves and blooms, and don’t touch the healthy ones. It will encourage more growth and ensure the plant remains healthy.

6.      Use Liquid Fertilizer

Add liquid fertilizer to the pot when you water your African violets. Dilute it to prevent the fragile roots from rotting. Search for a brand with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in equal parts. You can also get special fertilizer mixtures from your local garden centre.

Propagating African Violets

You can propagate African violets with leaf cuttings or from their offset. Just follow these steps:

  1. Choose a healthy green leaf from the bottom of the plant and snip it off the base using scissors.
  2. Cut the leaf’s stem to half an inch and at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Place the cutting into another pot that has the fertilizer, as mentioned above.
  4. Cover the cutting with a plastic bag and place the pot under bright but filtered light.
  5. You should see some small plants in 12 weeks. Remove these from the pot when they get bigger and replant. This process will encourage new growth and better blooms.


Additional Care Tips

The pots may accumulate fertilizer salts at the bottom with time which can rot roots, leaves and stems. Prevent this from happening by following these tips:

  • Do not add more fertilizer than needed.
  • Use plastic or glazed ceramic pot.
  • Create a waterproof shield between the pot and the leaves.
  • Soak the empty pot in a mixture of vinegar (one part) and water (three parts) overnight, then rinse the salt.

Use these tips to make your African violets flourish in your home, whether indoors or outdoors.

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