Caring for african violets

African Violet Plants – How To Grow African Violets

Some indoor gardeners shy away from growing the frilly and elegant African violet (Saintpaulia) because they are intimidated by African violet care. African violet plants do have a few quirks, but learning about them and the proper care of African violets can make growing the plants less intimidating.

Tips for African Violet Care

When you learn how to grow African violets, you can add several to indoor spaces for bright and cheerful blooms when the outdoor landscape is mostly brown and bare. Growing African violets takes little indoor space; grow them in small pot groupings for a showy display.

Soil – Pot the plant into the right soil for easiest African violet care. Special mixes are available or make your own from peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite in equal parts.

Water – African violet plants are picky about water, so take extra care of African violets when watering. Water with lukewarm or tepid water that was allowed to stand for 48 hours. Water at the base and never splash the foliage with water; just a drop can cause foliar spots and damage.

Proper watering is an important aspect of learning how to grow African violets. Water when the soil feels less moist to the touch. Never let growing African violets stand in water or completely dry out. Wick watering, from the bottom, is sometimes appropriate but may not be the best practice for those new to growing African violet plants.

Light – Provide appropriate lighting for the African violet plant. Light intensity should be filtered, with bright to medium intensity reaching the growing African violet. Light affects flowering. African violet plants with dark green foliage usually need somewhat higher light levels than those with pale or medium green foliage.

Turn pots regularly to keep flowers from reaching for the light. Place growing African violets 3 feet (1 m.) from a south- or west-facing window for the right lighting. If this light cannot be maintained for eight hours, consider supplementing with fluorescent lights.

Fertilizer – Fertilize African violet plants with special African violet food or a food with a higher phosphorus number — the middle number in the NPK fertilizer ratio, as 15-30-15. Fertilizer can be mixed at one-quarter strength and used at every watering. Reduced flowering and paler leaf color indicate that growing African violets are not getting enough fertilizer.

Pinch blooms from the growing African violets when they are spent. This will encourage the development of more flowers.

Now that you’ve learned a few tips about growing African violets, give them a try for indoor growing. Numerous cultivars are available at local or online garden centers.

With their wonderfully shaped fuzzy leaves, their compact structure and their bright, beautiful blooms, African Violets (Saintpaulia) have the kind of charm that cheers up the environment and makes you smile. If you are new to growing African violets at home or you just want to learn more about keeping them healthy and flourishing, here are some reliable tips.

1. Environment: African violets are meant to be grown indoors year round. Although some gardeners do take them outside when the temperatures are warm, they are susceptible to insect damage and will remain healthier and prettier when kept indoors.

2. Natural light: African violets require indirect light rather than direct sun, which can burn their leaves. They are perfect windowsill plants as long as there is lots of indirect sunlight for them to absorb. Windowsills that face east or west are the best locations for the plants which require 10-14 hours of light and eight hours of darkness a day for maximum blooms.

3. Water: There are many ideas about how to water African violets, but the basic guideline is to make sure the soil is kept moist to the touch, but never soaked or sodden. If you water by hand, try not to splash any water onto the leaves which will get spotty from water. You can water from the bottom up (letting the plant soak water up from a dish or saucer the pot has been placed in), which will help you avoid the spotted plant look.

4. Temperature: African violets are like a lot of people – they thrive in comfortable indoor temperatures that range from around 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Humidity: African violets need a humid atmosphere, more humidity than is found in most homes. If you use the bottom-up watering system, then your African violet will already have the advantage of this method that creates humidity. Another good method is to keep the plants on dishes or trays of pebble that are kept moist.

6. Choosing Your Plant: This is a matter of using the same common sense when you are picking out your African violet that you use choosing any plant for your home or garden. Pick out the healthiest looking plant, the one with the darkest green leaves and healthiest buds, and purchase your violets from a reputable grower or nursery. You can also check Amazon, there are tons of positive reviews from folks who purchase LIVE plants from Amazon.

7. Choosing Your Container: All potted plants should be planted in containers with adequate holes for drainage, and African violets are no exception. Proper drainage is essential in order to prevent root rot, so if you can’t live without a hole-less ceramic pot, put the plant in a plastic container with drainage holes and place that container inside the ceramic one. Remove the plastic pot from the ceramic one to water, and do not replace it until the excess water has drained off.

Bonus Tip: Use a Self Watering Planter (African Violet Self Watering System)

8. Soil: Again, drainage is very important in keeping your African violet healthy, so choose a commercial mix of sterile potting soil and perlite, If you need to re-pot, make sure to use sterile potting mix. In this guide, you’ll find more information on African Violet soil mix options.

9. Feeding: African violets don’t require much fertilizer, and can suffer from over-fertilization; too much or too little fertilizer can result in lots of green leaves but very few flowers. If you see that your plant isn’t thriving or isn’t blooming very often, then use a fertilizer that is specifically made for African violets and don’t overdo it.

10. Propagation: African violets like to be a little root-bound in their pots, and this is when they will produce offspring that can become new plants. When you see new crowns have formed in the pot, remove the entire plant so you can gently separate the new growth and put it in its own container. You can also cut a leaf from the plant and root it in water, making sure that the water does not cover the leaf. A third way is to cut off a leaf with its stem attached, dip the stem into rooting hormone and then plant the dipped stem in a pot containing a sterile potting mixture.

Best Products for Maximum Blooms

Self Watering African Violet Planter

African Violets LOVE these pots! It’s difficult to find the right pots for bottom absorption watering. This one is perfect!

How the African Violet self-watering system works: The bottom of the pot is used for water storage. The watering system includes a basket where a cotton rope is used to automatically pull water up into the root ball as it’s needed. The bottom water reservoir can be filled and will last for several days without having to worry about watering your African Violet. This keeps your plant healthy and thriving. Check Price on Amazon

African Violet Organic Potting Mix

Your African Violets will thrive with this potting mix! Improves aeration and moisture retention. Promotes root growth. Perfect for African violets for a thriving plant. See it on Amazon

Get your African Violet Blooming With Schultz African Violet Plus

If your African Violet is not thriving, here is a special plant food for African Violets and other blooming plants. Just add 7 drops to every quart of water. You can purchase Schultz African Violet Plus Here

The gorgeous purple flowering African violet is a plant that is familiar to most of us. But if you decide to explore this genus a little further, you’ll discover a variety of flower colors and color combinations; single or double blooms; smooth, wavy or variegated leaves, miniatures and trailing varieties – there’s something to please any indoor gardener.


Briggs Garden & Home

African violets are one of the world’s most popular house plants. An African violet has velvety leaves and comes in a wide range of colors, making it a sure candidate to add a simple splash of color to any room. These house plants also happen to be fairly easy to care for.

The single most effective way to water an African violet is from the bottom. Watering from the bottom, or sub-irrigation, allows for thorough saturation and can be accomplished by placing the container in a pan filled with about one inch of room-temperature water. Leave the plant in the water until the surface soil is damp. Always make sure to keep the leaves dry and not to leave it sitting in the water for an excessive amount of time, which could cause root rot.


One common way of cultivating an African violet in the home is in a self-watering pot. These typically consist of a ceramic or plastic outer pot and an insert with holes in the bottom to allow water to soak into the soil and root system of the plant. Watering is recommended approximately every ten days by removing the insert and replacing the water in the bottom of the pot. Some varieties of these pots may have a watering hole on the side, eliminating the need to remove the insert.


There are soils available specifically for African violets, but it is also possible to make your own. A mixture of ⅓ ordinary potting soil, ⅓ peat moss and ⅓ vermiculite or perlite will work perfectly.


Fertilization of African violets should occur every three to four weeks, but it is recommended to follow the directions of the fertilizer purchased. A loss of green leaf color along with a reduced growth rate could indicate a need for more fertilizer. One recommended African violet fertilization product is Schultz African Violet Plus, with an analysis of 8-14-9.


Regularly pruning African violets is also recommended to promote healthy growth. Roughly three or more bottom leaves should be gently removed about once every month. This can be done by bending the leaves to the side, forcing them to snap, leaving no stub toward the base of the plant. Pruning, along with removing spent flowers, will encourage healthy growth.


African violets have simple lighting requirements. They do not need direct sunlight and will flourish just fine with 8-10 hours of artificial lighting per day. For best growing conditions, they should be placed in a warm area (65-70 degrees on average).

The Care and Feeding of African Violets

Article: The Care and Feeding of African Violets

March 2, 2006

The African violet, one of America’s most common houseplants, comes in an immense range of varieties. Although it is not difficult to grow, it does demand constant care and attention. Above all else, that is the secret to successfully growing and maintaining this diverse and beautiful plant.

There are three primary areas to consider concerning the health of African violets: light, food and water, and general environmental conditions. These houseplants can be extremely finicky when it comes to their care, and upsetting the environmental balance will result in poor plant health.


In order to bloom, African violets need quite a bit of light, more than most people first realize. Moderate light is best, with exposure to direct light for long periods causing damage. Northern and eastern exposures tend to give these plants adequate amounts of sun. If you’re unable to capture enough natural light for your violets fluorescent tubes placed about 8 inches above the plants for 12-16 hours a day will enable flowering. If your plant is receiving inadequate light you’ll see dark, lean, blue-green leaves with long petioles.

Attaining the right amount of light for your African violets can be tricky, but what is most difficult about caring for this plant is simply watering. The right balance is hard to find and maintain. Too little water and the plant won’t grow or flower properly; too much water and the plant will often rot.


One method that works well is placing a saucer of water under the plant, allowing it to sub-irrigate. The plant will take water up through the bottom of the soil. If you use this method leave the plant in the water long enough to make the top inch of soil moist; remove the saucer and do not water again until that upper layer is dry. This will help guard against rotting.

It is also good practice to water these plants occasionally from the top; this will help leech out accumulated salts, which can harm the plant. When watering from above use water that is room temperature, otherwise cold water can damage the sensitive leaves, leading to an unhealthy situation.

Proper fertilization by using a complete fertilizer, which is dispensed at a low rate, is recommended. If over fertilized African violets will suffer from poor flowering, exposure to soil salts, and excessive growth.


Other general environmental conditions that influence the successful growth and flowering of your African violets include proper temperature, soil make-up, and problems associated with insects and disease.

Temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees F are ideal for African violets. Room and water temperatures below 50 degrees F will damage the leaves, causing them to wither and darken. Temperatures above 85 degrees F will result in poor plant and flower growth and dry, damaged leaves.

Soils that drain poorly and compact easily, such as garden or field soils, will not sustain African violets. Loose, porous soil with a pH level between 6.0-6.5 is vital to maintaining good growth. Pasteurized, fertile peat-based soils are recommended.

The good news is that if African violets are tended properly they rarely have trouble with disease or insects. Along with common problems such as mites and mealy bugs, these houseplants are susceptible to fungal disease brought about by the use of cold water on leaves and nighttime exposure of leaves to water. Over watering can also cause fungal problems. Once again, take care when watering these plants.


African violets demand daily care and the right conditions in order to thrive. Once you’ve created and maintained those conditions, you’ll have a beautiful plant that will flower continuously throughout the year.

Indoor Tiered Plant Stand

Indoor tiered plant stands provide you with the most effective way of placing more planters and beautiful plants in an available space. These stunning products add structure and height to your blooming floral plants. Although they’re great for outdoor display, they’re as incredible when taken indoors. Some sport interesting designs like the spiral staircase models.

Keep in mind the fact that the best size and style of an indoor tiered plant stand will depend on the species of your plants and your home’s layout. If you are on the lookout for one that will fit your home and preferences best, then keep on reading as we’ve listed all the things you need to consider when choosing indoor tiered plant stands.

What’s the right size for an indoor tiered plant stand?

Generally, the best indoor tiered plant stands are those that hold a good number of planters that are big enough for the roots of your plants to grow. Also, you must be able to see more of your flowering plants than the series of rows of the plant stand.

What are the pros and cons of common tiered plant stand materials?

Indoor tiered plant stands that are made from metal and wood are more affordable and easier to move around. Because wood is porous, it soaks up water so you must remember to only put planters that have drip trays on a wooden plant stand or else mildew will develop. What we love about wooden indoor tiered plant stands is the fact that they are resistant to elements compared to metal products which rust over time.

If your goal is to amp up a room’s look with the use of an indoor tiered plant stand, choose metal stands that have been painted. This way, you’ll have more options that aren’t just near indestructible, but also affordable. For plastic plant stands, they’re the most cost-effective, but you’ll find that they are harder to incorporate into a home. Also, they are not the best to use when you’ll be displaying heavy plants and planters.

What plant stands are good for both indoor and outdoor use?

You may want plant stands that you can alternately put indoors and outdoors. If what you need is a plant stand that can be brought outdoors during the summer season, make sure that the material it’s made of can stand up to the heat of the sun. One of the most durable plant stand materials is metal. Metal plant stands are heavy enough to withstand strong winds, but therefore a little difficult to move around. To prevent rust you can treat the stand with a metal sealant or a spray paint that is designed for use on metals.

Wood is another suitable option that can handle a variety of weather conditions, especially if you select the type of wood native to your region. To increase its longevity, remember to always protect your wooden outdoor plant stand with a god coat of water-proofer.

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