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Indoor Plants For The Holidays - African Violets

Updated on February 27, 2015
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Indoor Plants for the Holidays ~ The African Violet

AFRICAN VIOLET Saintpaulia ionantha

Of all the many house plants available at market today, the African Violet is ranked number one among consumers. It is a compact and colorful blooming plant that is very easy to grow, and it's appearance is recognized the world over.

An immensely popular indoor blooming plant, that also just happens to make a wonderful holiday gift! They are a charming, happy plant, and a cheerful addition to any interior plantscape.

Beautiful African Violets on display.
Beautiful African Violets on display. | Source

African Violets are beautiful, but they are not rare, nor are they difficult to find. They are available for sale year-round, and you can find them offered at your corner florist shop, area garden center and even at your favorite local grocery store. Some outlets sell them already adorned with festive holiday details making them ready for those on your holiday gift-giving list.

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African Violets sport a wide variety of flower colors and leaf patterns to choose from. These plants produce leaves up to two inches long which may be scalloped or ruffled in shape, and display solid green or variegated colors in their appearance.

Central Jersey African Violet Society 2010 Show

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The African Violet’s flowers emerge throughout the course of the year in attractive blossoms of pinks, reds, blues, purples, white, and bicolors. They have lovely flower forms ranging from flat-petaled types, ruffle-petaled varieties, to petite and delicate rosette blooms.

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Maintaining African Violets requires a bit of knowledge of their particular preferences. They have a short list of likes, and dislikes. Knowing these tips will help ensure a happy and long-living house plant that keeps on giving and giving!

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African Violets grow best with bright light, constant conditions and high humidity. Provide more humid growing conditions for them by fashioning a tray with about an inch layer of pebbles filled with water to just below the pot. This is a fantastic method to use for creating the perfect sub-climate for your African Violet.

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They adapt very well to a home-growing environment. Most homes are warm, and African Violets love the warmth. They will thrive in an atmosphere of 70° to 75° temperatures during the day and not below 60° at night. If the temperature gets down much below 60° the plant should be moved away from the windows for the night.

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Remember ~ winter windowsills are chilly, especially once the sun goes down. Move them away for the evening and return them to the windowsill in the morning. Southern exposure is the best!

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They do not like to be watered with cold water, so give them drinks that are at room temperature, or warmer. Fill a watering container for them the day before so it may reach room temperature. This also allows the chemicals in the water, such as chlorine, to be expelled as it rests.

Caring for African Violets : Feeding & Watering Tips for African Violets

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African Violets benefit from a drink that contains liquid fertilizer. Continue to feed them fertilizer throughout their lifespan. Less feed during the winter months, and increase during the warmer months when they bloom more regularly. You can feed your plants with each watering ~ provided that you have weakened the mixture. Wintertime is when the plants slow down, so you need to slow down on the plant food too. You don’t want to ’burn’ the plant by overfeeding it.

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There are fertilizers available specifically for feeding African Violets. Invest in a good liquid fertilizer formulated for African Violets, just remember to dilute the strength when feeding in winter months.

African Violets prefer to be watered from the bottom ~ up. They do not like water on their leaves. Standing water on their leaves can start a leaf rot to begin. Place their drink in a saucer and settle the pot in it so that the pot’s drainage holes are submerged in the room temperature water provided. The moisture will wick up the soil and feed the roots of the plant in just about 20 minutes time. Be sure to remove the excess water once the soil has moistened sufficiently. Take care to keep them slightly moist, not soggy and not to the point that they dry out completely! Try to maintain a happy medium.

Close-up of African Violet leaf.  Notice the fiberous hairs.  These hairs can trap water, which may cause plant rot to develop.  Keep water off those leaves!
Close-up of African Violet leaf. Notice the fiberous hairs. These hairs can trap water, which may cause plant rot to develop. Keep water off those leaves! | Source
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African Violets are small plants with small root systems, and they prefer to live life in small pots. There are planting soils specifically formulated for African Violets too. These contain usually 1/3 potting soil, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite or perlite. You can purchase pre-mixed African Violet soil or you can opt to blend your own mixture. These components allow the soil to remain loose and resist compacting. A must for healthy plant performance and endurance!

Caring for African Violets : Mixing Soil for African Violets

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You will also have success by employing a pot-in-pot method for your African Violets. Most African Violets are sold in a plain and unattractive nursery pot. Select a more decorative container that is slightly larger than your Violet’s pot and simply slip it in inside. Now you have a pot-in-pot container! The decorative outer container now becomes the saucer. This dresses up your plain nursery pot and is more suitable for gift-giving!

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Remember ~ they are light-lovers, so give the plants a turn toward the light periodically. If they are not rotated from time-to-time, they will be stretched toward the light and grow in an unattractive lop-sided shape.

Lyndon Lyon Greenhouse in Dolgeville, NY African Violets

African Violets are coveted by their owners, and some consider one is not enough ~ like potato chips! There are numerous local and national clubs, societies, online forums and discussion groups devoted to the African Violet. These are great places to gather information about the cultivation of these uniquely beautiful indoor blooming plants.

You can discover helpful information about African Violets geared to the growing beginner, or tailored for the experienced plantscaper.

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    • NotTooTall profile imageAUTHOR

      NotTooTall 

      6 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living

      Hi ethel smith,

      I'm glad that you stopped by and left your comments ~ I appreciate it very much!

      They are such cheery plants. :)

      N T T

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Small but perfectly formed plants. Lovely thanks

    • NotTooTall profile imageAUTHOR

      NotTooTall 

      6 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living

      Hi Movie Maker,

      Thank you for coming by and leaving your comments. I appreciate it very much!

      My sister has a beautiful African Violet that has pink flowers with blue flecks spattered on them ~ really pretty. Very different!

      N T T

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi NTT, African violets are so beautiful, they have a lot going for them, they flower a long time and the colours are just stunning, I like the 2 tone shades.

      I didn't know they didn't like cold water, many thanks for sharing a great hub, I've learnt a lot thank you voted up.

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