African Violets are among the most popular plants to keep in your home. They come in many colors and leaf patterns.
These beautiful little plants are a stunning addition to any plant collection. They will flower almost year round. These plants originate from tropical Eastern Africa. They enjoy bright light and some humidity to keep happy.
In general African Violets are not hard to take care of. The African Violet plant does great when grown in proper lighting with a good watering schedule. There are a few pitfalls that a new plant owner can fall into. We will discuss that in the post and learn how to properly care for these gorgeous plants.
How to properly water African Violet Plants
Proper watering is very important for African Violets. These plants require a tricky balance of moist soil but not over saturated soil. One of the most common pitfalls people make is overwatering this plant which quickly results in root rot. Only water this plant when the top of the soil is dry, usually every one to two weeks.
Bottom watering is the best method for watering African Violets. These plants have beautiful fuzzy leaves that can get damaged from water spots. If you decide to water your plant from the top, use a funnel or narrow watering can to avoid getting water on the leaves.
A self watering pot with a wicking system is another popular way to water African Violet plants. This allows the plant to wick the moisture up into the roots without over saturating it.
Common Problems with African Violets
- Pests: Cyclamen Mites, Thrips, Mealybugs, and Spider Mites are all knows pests that can infect African violets.
- Diseases: Powdery Mildew, Bacterial Blight, Crown Rot, Root Rot, and Ring Spot are all common diseases for this plant.
- Leggy Growth: This most often is the result of poor lighting conditions. If you are growing your plant in lower light, it will stretch and reach the leaves towards the light source.
- Leaf Spots: When the leaves are splashed with cold water, they can develop spots called “Ring Spots”
- Not Flowering: African Violets can stop producing blooms if in poor lighting conditions, crowded top growth, the wrong soil, and low humidity.
- Pale and Bleached Leaves: This often occurs when the plant is left in bright sunlight. Too much light can bleach out the leaves.
- Leaf Curling: African Violets do not like to be cold. When they get exposed to temperatures that are too chilly, they will often have curling leaves.
- Browning Leaves: This usually occurs when your plant has too much fertilizer around the roots.
- Limp or Drooping Leaves: Watering issues can cause the leaves to droop. This happens when the plant is either too dry, or overwatered.
Fertilizing African Violet Plants
Fertilizing African Violet plants is extremely important. Proper fertilizer can help support the plant while it blooms beautiful flowers. The recommended feeding schedule is every 4-6 weeks.
African Violets need a fertilizer ratio of 14-12-14. A mix of Nitrogren, Phosphorus, and Potassium. A water soluble fertilizer is the best option for African Violets.
Epsom salts can help encourage blooming in African Violets. Simply add 2 tablespoons of pure epsom salts into a gallon of distilled water. Stir really well and use the mixture to water your plants.
You can purchase this plant from local nurseries or greenhouses. If you are looking for a specific variety or color plant, check out Etsy. Buying online is a great way to get ahold of plants that aren’t sold locally.
Buy African Violets from Etsy
We have put together a simple and printable care guide with all of the care needs for this plant.
African Violet Care Guide
African Violets are beautiful plants to add to your home! WIth a little bit of love and care, your can have happy and healthy African Violet plants.
- Plant Pot (ceramic, plastic, or terra cotta)
- Potting medium
- African Violets prefer well draining substrates. The roots will rot quickly if they sit in moist soil.
- Use a potting mix specific to African Violets
- Make a mix of 2 parts peat moss, 1 part perlite and 1 part vermiculite or sand. This mix will keep the roots areated.
- Make sure your pot has drainage at the bottom.
Pot Size and Type:
- African Violets can grow in many different kinds of pots. Self Watering pots with a wick system are a great option for these plants.
- Repot every year or when roots come out the drainage holes on the pot bottom To the next pot size up. Don't jump to a huge pot from a small one. Just go to the next size up pot.
- NOTE: African Violets like to be slightly root bound. They bloom best when they are in a smaller tight pot.
- This plant loves the light. It will tolerate bright indirect light.
- Do not leave this plant in direct sunlight for hours a day. The leaves may burn and become pale or bleached
- South or East facing windows are best for this plant.
- Low light can cause poor plant growth and leggy stems.
- You can supplement low lighting with artificial grow lights.
- Water the African Violet when the top soil is dry. About every 1-2 weeks
- Bottom watering is the best option for this plant.
- Do not allow water to hit the leaves. This can cause damage and spots to the leaves..
- A self watering pot can be helpful to maintain the proper water ratio.
- Watering is best done on a regular schedule so the plant is not over or under watered. Both can cause stress on the plant.
- Never let this plant get wet feet. Overwatering can cause root rot and attract fungus gnats to your plant.
- Underwatering causes the leaves to turn brown.
How to Fertilize:
1. Use a good quality fertilizer meant for African Violets
2. This plant is a heavy feeder due to it blooming frequently.
3. Fertilize every 4-6 weeks through the blooming season.
- The African Violet plants like to be kept warm.
- This plant will do best between 65 and 80 F.
- Indoors room temperature is fine for these plants. Just keep the plant away from cold drafty windows in the winter.
- African Violet leaves can accumulate dust and debris due to the fuzzy texture.
- Clean leaves can help keep pests away from your plant and help it photosynthesize properly.
- To clean the leaves, gently brush them with a small brush. You can use a tiny paint brush with very soft bristles.
- This plant is a hardy resilient plant. However all plants can get attacked by pests.
- Stress by longterm overwatering, poor light, extreme temperatures and soil conditions are contributors to plant stress..
- Spider mites, mealy bugs, scale, thrips and whitefly are the most common houseplant pests you will see.
- Read our post on How to get rid of aphids and other pests with our homemade pesticide soap recipe or neems oil.
- To minimize the possibility of pests be sure to check all nursery plants before bringing them home.
- Quarantine all new plants until you are sure no pests live in them.
How to Propagate:
- African Violets can be propagated by leaf cuttings.
- Cut a firm and healthy leaf off with a sharp sterile knife or scissors.
- Make sure you cut 1-1.5 inches aboove the petiole
- Plant the leaf cutting in a pot with 50/50 vermiculite and coarse sand.
- Place the plant in a gallon bag filled with air. (this creates a tiny humid greenhouse for the cuttings)
- Keep the soil mix moist while the leaf is growing new roots.
- Roots will form around 3-4 weeks.
This plant is non-toxic for cats, dogs, and horses. It is also a safe plant to have around children.
Pruning and Maintaining your African Violet
After your African Violet finishes blooming, it is important to dead head or prune back the old blooms. This will keep your plant healthy and encourage it to continue putting out new blooms.
As your plant grows it will start to produce “suckers” or “pups” These are tiny baby plants that start to grow off of the mother plant. These suckers can be detrimental to your plant if left to grow uninhibited. Not only do they take nutrients from the mother plant, they also grow large and start crowding the leaves together.
You can remove the suckers and propagate them into a new plant. This is done by carefully dividing them away from the mother plant. Cut them off with sharp sterile pruning shears and place them in a 50/50 mix of vermiculite and sand. Put the small new pot of suckers in a gallon bag filled with air. Keep the soil moist while the new suckers grow roots and become new healthy plants.
African Violet Care Supplies
Thank you for stopping by The Contented Plant! If you have any questions about this plant, or it’s care, you can leave a comment down below. We will do our best to help you out!
For further reading on African Violet care you can check out this helpful resource we found.
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