ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

All about African violets

Updated on January 6, 2018

The African violet (Saintpaulia ionantha) is an excellent indoor flowering plant. A low, compact plant with attractive dark green, thick, hairy leaves, African violets are available in many different colors, including purple, white, pink, blue, violet, and bicolored. Under the proper growing conditions, they produce flowers almost continuously.

Thousands of varieties of African violets exist, and new hybrids are being developed constantly throughout the world. Newer violets not only include cultivars with single flowers, but also those with semi-double or double rows of petals.

Watering African violets

African violets don't like too much water; however, don't let their soil dry out. Instead of watering them on a fixed schedule, you'll need to periodically feel the soil around the plants, making sure to water only if the top is dry.

It's best to use lukewarm or room-temperature water, because African violets don't like water that's too hot or too cold.

Always water smaller pots from the bottom. To do so, put the container in a saucer of water for half an hour and let the plant soak it up, then pour off the excess. Large pots should be watered from the top. Just try to keep water off the leaves, or else they'll spot.

Tips to maintain African violets

It's a good idea to groom the plant anytime you can. Remove dead leaves and flowers, including stems that no longer have any flowers.

African violets adjust well to the warm temperatures and dry air of homes.You can also provide extra humidity by placing plants on trays of wet pebbles -- low humidity can result in small flowers, dropping buds, curling leaves, and brown edges on the leaves.

Proper lighting for African violets

To keep the plant blooming continuously, make sure it receives the right kind of light. Although African violets don't need direct sunlight, about 12 hours per day of bright, filtered light is the best way to keep them flowering constantly.

Artificial lights also do the trick; fluorescent lamps produce the best results. Plants grown entirely under fluorescent lights should be placed 6 to 12 inches below two 40-watt tubes for 15 to 18 hours per day.

If the plant doesn't receive enough light, the leaves usually become deeper in color and thinner than leaves on plants that receive the proper amount of light. The plants may grow well; however, they'll flower poorly or not at all. On the other hand, if the African violets are getting too much light, the leaves become pale or yellowish green.

During the fall and winter (September to March), try to place the plant near a window facing east. In the spring through the summer, set the plant in a window facing north. Direct exposure to the sun in winter can help the plants maintain continuous blooms, but the summer sun can burn them and cause blemishes on the leaves. Also, in the winter, beware of cold windowpanes, because the cold can damage any leaves that lean against the glass.

Proper fertilization for African violets

As with most houseplants, African violets need to be fertilized regularly, at least every two weeks.

Many completely water-soluble fertilizers containing nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other required nutrients are sold for use on houseplants and African violets. The safest way to apply dissolved fertilizer is to give the soil a normal watering from the top, apply fertilizer from the top and then discard excess water and fertilizer solution that drains from the bottom.

Plant growth and color often indicate need for fertilizer. A gradual loss in leaf color combined with a reduced growth rate usually indicates that fertilizer is needed. If in doubt as to whether plants need additional nutrients, fertilize one or two and wait about 10 days to see how they react. If plant growth is evident and they become darker in color, the rest of the plants may be fertilized

Propagation of African violets

Leaf cutting remains the best way to propagate your African violet. It's best to do it in the spring, and any leaf will do.

How to propagate your african violet

  • Start by removing the entire leaf, including stem, by snapping or cutting it off and trimming to about 1 to 1-1/2 inches in length.
  • Make a hole in the soil, insert the leaf stem into the hole, and water thoroughly. Roots should appear in three to four weeks, and leaves should appear in about three to four weeks after the roots form.
  • Plants will start to appear in two to six months, and you'll be able to repot them when they've formed two to three leaves.
  • Another alternative is to propagate by division. Cut each crown away from the plant carefully so each plant has its portion of the root system, and plant each division in whatever potting mix you're using.

Potting African violets

The basic rule of thumb is that the potting mix must be light and porous. It should always be sterilized to minimize fungal and bacterial rot problems.

If you've just bought an African violet, you may want to repot it as soon as possible. The African Violet Society of America warns that the potting mix most commercially sold violets are grown in consists primarily of peat moss. These prepared mixes are usually sprayed with a chemical that causes the peat moss to absorb water, then release it slowly to the plant. The problem is that the chemical only lasts three to six months, and once it loses its effectiveness, the peat moss will tend to either hold too much water or none at all. So, if you don't want to lose your African violet after six months, repot it to save it from drowning.

Basic potting recipe

  • Use regular potting soil, fine peat moss, coarse vermiculite, and perlite.
  • Begin by filling a 2-1/2-inch pot with regular mix and press gently.
  • Remove approximately 1 heaping teaspoon from the center and fill with coarse vermiculite.
  • Press the plant into the dampened vermiculite securely.
  • Keep it very moist until you notice that it looks "perky."
  • Transplant it into a bigger pot and fill the sides and top.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)