African violet leaves drooping

Is your African Violet Dying How to Revive & Care!

For any houseplant lover, none of us want to use the word “dying” however sometimes things happen, life happens. Sadly life happened to us when we had to evacuate our home for 3 weeks due to Hurricane Florence in NC.
Our 3 weeks were spent hoping from hotel to hotel where sadly it was just too difficult to bring along my beloved African Violets.
They would have to be left behind and fend for themselves.

photography by: Simply Living NC

Three weeks went by, these lovely African Violet beauties were deprived of a drop of water and limited sunshine. I thought to myself many times throughout these long 3 weeks, surely I would arrive home to find them dead. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, when I arrived back home I found them hanging on trying to survive and thankfully our home too survived.


My heart sank the moment I set eyes on my once so very strong Violets.
They had weakened, shriveled up, and were severely wilted. They were simply begging for help. Operation African Violet Rescue 911..starts now!

photography by: Simply Living NCphotography by: Simply Living NC

How to Revive & Care For Your Dying African Violet:

  • STEP ONE: Water, Water, Water, water your violets under the water drains through many times. I even let my violets sit for an hour within their own water just to make certain they were full replenished. However I would not recommend that in a normal care circumstance.
  • STEP TWO: Break, Pinch, Break, yes it may sound violent in a way…however you will need to break off and pinch off any damaged or wilted leaf. By the time I did this step, there wasn’t much left to my lovely little lady. However I gave her hope!
  • STEP THREE: Love, Time, Love, give lots of love and lots of time as your Violet is most likely in shock and needs ample amount of love and time to get over such a shock. Don’t worry, she’ll come back.
  • STEP FOUR: Care as You Typically Would Care for your African Violet. You can Enjoy My African Violet Easy Care Guide Here.

Three months have now passed and I’m happy to report my Lovely Ladies are doing well! They have produced new leaves, have bloomed, and the little one I thought for certain would not return…she has grown strong! Just look at how cute she is as she’s growing each and every day!

photography by: Simply Living NCphotography by: Simply Living NC

I leave you for now by simply saying, never ever ever give up hope no matter how small or how sad your lil’ African Violet may be!

I have created some SUPER Cute Pilea Tees and Other Tees as a way to “Bring About Smiles” wherever you go!

Thanks a bunch for enjoying my blog, I hope you’ll Follow Along!
I hope I’ve helped to inspire you to:
“make memories, live simply & follow the sun!”
I’d LOVE so much to hear from you, if you have a moment Leave a Comment below to share your Experience, Ask a Question, or simply say Hi!
Peace, Love, & Simplicity,

A to Z for African Violets Care — Everything You Need to Know and More

In this article I will provide all the information you need to know about African Violets — from the very basics of growing to more subtle tips that will help you create a state-of-the-art African Violet

I very much doubt that the German district commissioner of Tanga knew back in 1892 that the seeds he is sending to his father, an amateur botanist, are going to make a revolution in the gardeners’ world. But, as the story goes, that’s exactly what happened. Please enter Baron Walter von Saint Paul-Illaire, who came across the plant in Tanganyika (present day Tanzania), and presumably fell in love with it, like many others in subsequent years.

But then again, what’s not to like about African violet? It’s comparatively easy to grow and its subtle elegance holds irresistible charming power, making it a must have plant for all gardening enthusiasts. Similarly to ​the lucky bamboo, the African violet is not exactly aptly named. Actually, superficially resembling the actual Viola aside (it’s from the totally unrelated Violaceae family), the African violet is its own plant hailing from Eastern Africa.

We generally differentiate between mini, standard and large African violets, although some people do include the miniature African violet — this little piece of beauty rarely exceeds 3 inches in width. The mini African violets are most people’s cup of tea, because they are smallish (generally 3 to 8 inches), cute and easy to care for. Most African violet growers tend to choose them over all other sizes nowadays, although the standard violet is still a top favourite for some people — and, as the name suggests, it’s the African violet all other varieties of the plant are compared to. Finally, we have the giant African violets — they grow up to 16 inches in diameter and their leaves’ maximum reach is around 5 inches, which is pretty impressive for a gentle plant such as this.

African Violet Care — Light

Light is, obviously, one of those ever-important factors for any plant, because it’s the driving force behind photosynthesis. For this reason alone, finding the right spot for your African Violets is of great importance.

The first thing you need to know is that African Violets love indirect, filtered light. Picture them cutie African violets under the forest canopy in Tanzania and always be mindful this is the environment they thrive in. Bright to moderate light is best.

Placing them near a window with western or southern exposure is a good idea, because they will receive a lot of light throughout the day. Being as unpretentious as they are though, African violets will grow well whatever direction they are facing, including north (except during the winter), as long as you provide them with the right amount of light. That said, during the summer they are not to be placed next to a window facing south, unless they are well-shielded by a sheer curtain, for the violently hot sun will scorch their leaves.

Rotating your African violets intelligently is key. The goal is all sides of your plant to receive roughly the same amount of light. If done correctly, you’ll be rewarded with symmetrically beautiful African violet.

Too Much Light or Not Enough — How to Do it Right

If your African violet is not flowering as much as you would like it to, usually it’s because its not getting its fair share of light. Insufficient light also leads to gangly appearance and rangy growth. Other symptoms are leaves turning yellow.

Too much love will kill you, just as sure as none of all, once uttered Freddie Mercury. I have great confidence most plants feel the same way about light. Overexposing an African violet to too much light will cause brown spots to appear on its leaves (necrosis). Another sign your African violet is receiving too much light is if its leaves turn greenish. Not recommended.

Artificial Light — African Violets Appreciate it a Lot

This is hardly an overstatement, because it happens so that often African violets grow into lovely plants while receiving some love from artificial sources, especially fluorescent lights.

My people from the African Violet Society of America recommend a 48” fluorescent light with two tubes — one cool white and one warm white. I completely agree, since it will help them with both blooming and photosynthesis.

If you think artificial light will make your life easier, It’s worth buying a light meter (for one things, it’s pretty inexpensive). The correct luminosity is in the 10 000–12 000 lux range — that’s about 900 to 1100 foot candles.

It’s a common sense thing, but because of its importance, it’s very much worth saying it — the closer your African violet is from the fluorescent lamp, the more intensive the light will be. Although there isn’t a ready-made solution — you should take into consideration how powerful your lamp is, as well as the size of your plant — but the rule of thumb is that you should place the light 18 to 20 inches above the crown for the standard African violet and 10 to 12 inches for the miniature ones.

The photoperiod is about 14 hours, but not more than 16, because your African violet needs its 8 hours of darkness in order to bloom. If your plant doesn’t receive enough sunlight, having a fluorescent lamp comes in handy as a supplementary way to help your violet blossom.

African Violet Care — Water

Finding the right balance is not difficult, but you should be careful not to overwater your African violets, because they will simply die off. Or get some potentially deadly diseases like Pythium, Root Rot, Crown Rot or all of them at once. In one sentence, whatever you do, just don’t overwater your violets.

As a general rule, the best way to go about watering African violets is to touch the top of the soil — if it feels dry, water it. Your violets should never be drowning in water, neither should be left completely dry. The soil should be moist, but not soggy, because soggy soil is impenetrable for air, and, you know, plants need air.

The temperature of the water should be similar to that of the room, with little variations if possible. Warm and mildly warm water is preferable to cold water, because the latter may chill the roots of the African violet. If watering from the top (more on that later), avoid at all costs touching the leaves — it will cause brown spots to appear on your leaves, which is also known as necrosis and is irreversible.

Softened water should be avoided, because of its excessive saline content, which will reduce the absorption of water and nutrients.

The same goes for tap water which is highly chlorinated (to kill bacteria). If your tap water has high levels of chlorine, leave it in an open container for some hours — slowly but surely it will evaporate a bit by bit. Don’t forget that your African violet needs some chlorine — in the 70–100 ppm range — for its photosynthesis, just not too much.

Finally, you can water African violets both from the top and the bottom. When watering from the top, remember not to touch the leaves, it’s important. If watering from the bottom, you can use especially-build-for-African-violet pots. They come in two parts — when your plant gets thirsty, put some water into the bottom piece. When the soil gets moisty, your plant is happy and you should remove any water still standing in there, even if the instruction manual for the pot says otherwise. If not, your plant will drown.

If you are a beginner gardener and not a hundred percent sure in your abilities, you can ask the experts, they will heed your call. Calling some seasoned pros in the London area is a good course of action if you are unsure — better safe than sorry, you know.

African Violet Care — Fertilizers

You should go for a well-balanced fertilizer (for example 20–20–20 or similar) or, if your African violet is not blooming nearly as much as you would like it to, a fertilizer with more phosphorus.

The phosphorus is the number in the middle, while the first and the third numbers stand for nitrogen and potash, respectively. If you are opting for the “constant feed” diet, you should merely use a quarter of the recommended dosage with every watering.

I have read that you should avoid fertilizing while your African violet is blooming, which doesn’t make much sense to me, since blooming is helped by constant food intake.

African Violet Care — Temperature and Humidity

Typical room temperature suits your plant just fine. Temperature in the 18°–27° range is pleasant for your average African violet, with 20°-21° probably being optimal.

You should beware hot temperatures, as the growth will be affected, but the real danger for your plant is when it gets cold. Temperatures below 15° will stunt its growth, while temperatures below 10° pose immediate danger for your African violet’s existence.

Cold temperatures combined with high level of moisture are the perfect breeding ground for problems such as crown rot and you should always be aware of that.

Humidity is of massive importance for African violets. In their natural habitat the relative humidity is usually quite high — we are talking about something like 70–80 percent here. While such levels of humidity may be uncomfortable for most people and difficult to maintain at home, you should strive for 45–60 percent humidity — your violet will appreciate it.

Using the above-mentioned African violet pots will also help maintain recommended humidity levels. Placing several African violets next to each other will work as well, but you should always guard against positioning them too close to each other, as they need enough room for their growth.

African Violet Care — Potting and Repotting

African violets enjoy small pots. The golden rule is that the diameter of the pot should be one third of the distance between two opposite leaf tips.

Plastic and clay pots both do a good job for growing African violets. Both have their advantages — the former is generally a cleaner option and holds humidity longer, which African violets love deeply, while the latter is of benefit for your plant, because it allows better air penetration.
Either way, good drainage is essential.

Repotting is recommended every six months to one year.

Final Words on African Violets

Growing and taking care of African violets is a very satisfactory experience. Follow the words above and enjoy your African violets in style. In case you have questions, something to say or, even better, something to add, hit the comment button below. Every opinion matters and we all love plants, so reaching out to your fellow gardeners is always worthwhile.

Limp and Yellowing Leaves on African Violets

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Warm the water and eliminate the salt if your African violet has limp leaves that eventually yellow and drop off.

Use room temperature water to avoid cold damage to the leaves. Then check for a white crusty substance on the soil surface or plant container. This salt buildup is from the minerals in the water and fertilizer. African violet leaves are damaged and often drop when they come in contact with this material. Scrape off the crusty white substance. Then water the soil thoroughly with room temperature water. Allow the excess water to drain from the pot. Repeat this several times at 20 minute intervals. Leaching the soil like this will help wash any excess salts out of the soil.

Some growers cover the rim of the pot with foil or a similar material to protect the petioles from the salt laden container rim. Others raise their plants in plastic or ceramic pots, with drainage holes, to avoid this problem.

A bit more information: Once you correct this problem you may want to start more plants. African violets can be started from just a single healthy leaf. Listen to my audio tip for more details.



Yellow African Violet Leaves: What To Do When African Violet Leaves Are Yellow

African violets are a houseplant with many seasons of beauty. These small plants grace the home with their classic tiny violet blooms but also come in other colors and double petal varieties. The plants have a few peccadilloes regarding water and fertilizer, but are otherwise easy to grow. When African violet leaves are yellow, the plant is signaling that it has either a shortage or excess of something. Knowing how to take care of yellowing African violets can minimize the effect, but lower leaf yellowing is a natural part of the growth process and not a cause for worry.

Common Reasons for Yellow African Violet Leaves

African violet leaves usually only live for about a year. It’s a common trait for the older leaves to fade and turn yellow before they die and drop off, leaving room for new foliage. If the lower leaves are not the only ones turning yellow, it’s time to investigate a few potential causes. Cultural care, lighting or disease may all be potential reasons for African violet leaves turning yellow.

Water issues – One of the biggest explanations when African violet leaves are yellow is incorrect watering practices. The leaves don’t tolerate water directly on them, and the foliage will respond by developing yellow or bleached, necrotic spots or ring spot.

When the water is warmer or colder than the leaf itself, the cells inside collapse and the leaf becomes discolored. There is no cure for the leaf, but you can avoid future damage by watering under the leaves. There are even special watering cans for African violets with longer stems to reach the soil surface under the foliage. You can also minimize damage by using room temperature water.

Lighting – African violet plants don’t perform well in direct light and strong sun; however, they do need light to produce energy and form flowers. The best site is a southeast or west window. Place the plant 3 feet away from the window for best light.

Plants that are grown further inside the home or in an office under unnatural lighting will turn yellow on the edges. This is a signal that the plant isn’t getting sufficient light. Leaves will recover if you move the plant to a brighter location in indirect light.

Fertilizing – Lack of food is another cause of African violet leaves turning yellow. The condition indicates the plant may need supplemental feeding to produce deep green, fuzzy leaves. Use a food prepared for African violets and dilute it according to the directions.

Fertilize once per month in the growing season. To prevent over-fertilizing, drench the soil four times per year to remove excess salts.

How to Take Care of Yellowing African Violets

In addition to drenching the soil, it’s necessary to repot your plant at least every two years. The soil will gradually lose its nutrient content and texture, making it difficult for the plant to uptake water and food.

Use an appropriate mixture, which is usually sphagnum peat moss with some vermiculite. African violets don’t do well in traditional potting soil.

If your home has low humidity, place the potted plant on a saucer filled with pebbles and a small amount of water. Change the water every few days to minimize gnats.

Pinch off old leaves and remove spent blooms to encourage new growth.

With good lighting, watering and occasional food, your African violet should be back in the pink — or rather green, again.

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