ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Home»
  • Gardening»
  • House Plants

Care for African Violets

Updated on September 17, 2013
seh1101 profile image

Sean has been in the industry of gardening and landscaping since 2006. He is also a certified arborist that tends to focus on plant health.

Purple African Violets

Purple African Violets
Purple African Violets | Source

African Violet Care Overview

African violets are a very common and attractive houseplant. African violets are relatively easy to grow and they appeal to beginner and veteran growers alike. There are many cultivars of African violets which can lead to a living collection of different colors.

African violets adapt well to small areas which makes them perfect as houseplants. Indoor climates also benefit African violets. The violets require humidity to flourish and bloom, which may be a bit tricky to accomplish indoors during dry winter months. Watering and soil type are arguably the most important factors in growing African Violets. Lighting also needs to be optimal for the growth of blooms. A little fertilization should be applied every so often to keep the plant healthy and vigorous.

Small Watering Can

Proper watering of African violets is essential.
Proper watering of African violets is essential. | Source

Bottom Watering

Some containers have holes for bottom watering.
Some containers have holes for bottom watering. | Source

Watering African Violets

How & When to Water
Knowing how to water African violets is vital. Keeping the soil constantly moist and watering the soil with room temperature water is key. Do not water the foliage, especially with cold water. Water thoroughly so every bit of soil is moist. Let excess drain from the bottom of the container. Watering from the bottom and letting the soil draw up water can be done if the violets reside in a container that sits in a drip tray, but top watering needs to occur once a month to flush out excess salts and minerals.

The best way to estimate when to water is by feeling the weight of the container before and after a thorough watering. Poking a finger into the soil to test for moisture will only test the upper few inches of the container. A wooden Popsicle stick or similar instrument can be stuck into the soil and removed to test moisture content as well. Moist soil should remain on the stick. If the stick is clean and dry, then watering is needed.

Maintain Humidity
African violets like humidity and may experience problems in low humidity environments. Low humidity can be fixed by placing a tray under the pot containing the violets. The water slowly evaporates up into the foliage and keeps humidity regular. Sometimes clear plastic may need to be placed around the pot to create a miniature greenhouse to keep humidity high.

Sunlight

Proper lighting is key for healthy African violets.
Proper lighting is key for healthy African violets. | Source

Grow Lamp

Grow lamps can be used when growing African violets.
Grow lamps can be used when growing African violets. | Source

Light and Temperature for African Violets

Lighting
Proper lighting is essential for healthy African violets. Too much light can cause burning of foliage and blooms, but too little lighting can cause unsightly growth and stunting to occur. Avoid direct sunlight to prevent burning and yellowing of foliage. A north of east facing window is the best for African violets. Remember to turn the plants occasionally to promote growth on all sides. Indoor lighting can be used and is preferred by some African violet growers. The blooming stage requires more light than most growers initially think. Florescent lighting can be used but close placement is essential due to the low intensity of florescent tubes. Grow lamps can also be used to grow African violets and perform much better compared to household florescent and incandescent bulbs.

Temperature
Temperatures around 70°F are within the optimum range. High humidity is optimal as well. Growth and flowering will be slowed if temperatures exceed 80°F.

Soil for African Violets

African violets prefer soils that remain somewhat loose with good drainage. Most garden and potting soils will not suffice and may injure or kill African violets over time. Soils rich in organic matter that lie on the slightly acidic side with a pH around 6.0 to 6.5 are ideal. Sphagnum peat moss works great as an organic source. A mixture of equal parts sphagnum, perlite, and some common garden soil is a well-balanced mix of organic matter, nutrients, and drainage. The spagnum is perfect for moisture retention while adding a little acidity to the mix. Be sure not to compact the mixture too much because drainage is key.

Water Soluble Fertilizer

Heavily dilute water soluble fertilizer before applying to African violets
Heavily dilute water soluble fertilizer before applying to African violets | Source

Fertilizing African Violets

African violets are sensitive to fertilizer and over-fertilization tends to be more of a problem than not fertilizing enough. Nutrient deficiencies can appear as reduced growth rate, lightening of foliage color, and overall unhealthy appearance. Fertilizer should only be applied during the growing seasons and omitted during winter. Water soluble fertilizer that is specifically for African violets is preferred, but all-purpose fertilizer can be diluted by 1/4 the amount listed on the package. It is always better to apply too little than too much.

Excess salts due to fertilizer application pull moisture away from the plant by a process called reverse osmosis. This can "burn" and damage the plant. Excessive fertilizing can easily kill plants.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • smw1962 profile image

      smw1962 5 years ago

      Thanks for the advice on African violets. I've never had much luck with these but maybe I'll try them again!

    • seh1101 profile image
      Author

      Sean Hemmer 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      FullOfLoveSites - Thank you for the vote! Just remember to use the right soil, keep moisture high, and provide enough light for blooming. Garden centers will be selling African violets very soon and nearly all of them will be in bloom.

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 5 years ago from United States

      These are lovely flower. I would have wanted to grow flowering plants but I think I don't have much of a green thumb, or it's just I don't have proper knowledge. Thanks for saying that these plants are easy to grow for beginners, so i think I should start there. Voted up and useful. :)

    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)