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AFRICAN VIOLETS: Proper care, supplies, auctions, stores, clubs, links and more!

Updated on August 19, 2014

African Violets

African Violets make great houseplants.

With a good environment and regular care they will reward you with blooms all year.

On this site you will learn about the proper care of African Violets.

I also provide links directing you to more in-depth information, supplies, instruction, groups, and more!

Where to buy African Violets:

You can purchase African Violets at the grocery store, at a nursery, through online stores, and even on eBay! You can also pinch a leaf off of a friend's plant and start a new plant of your own. Obtain great starter leaves from other African Violet fans on eBay, plus you'll find online groups that exchange leaves and clippings with each other. When your plants grow larger, sometimes they'll multiply or divide and you'll end up with several plants in the same pot. Now you can split them, re-pot them, and share them with friends! You could also join your local chapter of the African Violet Society of America (AVSA link below) and obtain or trade starter leaves from other members, or just attend one of their sales.

African Violet Leaves, Clippings and Plants - Start or expand your African Violet collection!

Keep your eye on eBay. People often list leaves and/or plants for sale.
Also, you'll find various leaf exchange groups on the internet, including the one listed here.

How to Propagate an African Violet - Start a new plant from just one leaf

Propagate a new African Violet plant from just one leaf!

Obtain an African Violet leaf from a friend, or purchase one on eBay,

and start your African Violet garden!

There are slightly different ways to propagate.

You'll find instructions in the links below.

Propagation:

The most common method of propagation is by leaf cutting in the Spring. Any healthy, firm leaf will do. Remove the entire leaf with stem by snapping or cutting it off at the base of the stem, and then trim the it to about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length. Then make a hole in the growing medium (such as a half sand, half vermiculite mix) with a pencil, insert the leaf stem into the hole, and water thoroughly. Roots normally form 3 to 4 weeks under good conditions and leaves of the new plants appear at the surface 3 to 4 weeks after the root formation. In two to six months, young plants start from the bases of the stalks, which you'll be able to repot once they've formed two to three leaves.

African Violets may also be propagated by division. When you find yourself with multiple plants in the same pot, simply cut each crown away from the plant carefully so that each plant has its portion of the root system, and plant each division in whatever African Violet potting mix you're using.

Proper Lighting

Proper lighting is essential for a healthy plant and good bloom. Thin, dark, blue-green leaves with long stems indicate insufficient light levels. While moderate light is needed, direct light for long periods can be damaging. Too much light usually produces leaves that are small, crinkled, leathery, and yellow. Generally, areas in your house that have North or East facing exposures are best for African Violets. However, if this is not possible, African Violets will be happy under artificial lighting as well. Fluorescent lights suspended approximately 8 inches above the plants for 12 to 16 hours per day will produce sufficient light to initiate blooms.

More Indoor Garden Grow Lights

Temperature

African Violets require temperatures between 65 and 80F. Temperatures below 50F usually cause the leaves to darken, become water-soaked, and wither. Temperatures above 85F will slow the growth and flowering of African Violets and may injure the leaves as well. Water temperature becomes important during the winter months, as cold water directly on the leaves will damage them quickly.

Watering

Watering African Violets is often the most difficult part of their care. They require a moist, well-drained soil. If the soil is too wet, the plants may rot. If the plants are too dry, they will not grow or flower well. Many people "sub-irrigate" African Violets. This means placing the plant in a saucer of water and allowing the plant to soak up water from the bottom of the pot. This prevents injury from cold water on the leaves and insures the entire soil area is moist. However, care must be taken not to allow the plants to sit for long periods in water as they may rot quickly. Allow the top inch of the soil to dry before sub-irrigating again. African Violets can also be watered from the top if room temperature water is used and the foliage remains dry. Actually, it is recommended that you water them from the top occasionally to prevent salt accumulation. "Wick" watering is another method that is increasing in popularity. This is a continuous watering system with a water reservoir at the base of the plant and an absorbent wick that connects the soil and the water reservoir. This method is effective in maintaining an even moisture level of the soil. However, periodic watering from the top might be necessary to prevent the accumulation of salts.

Fertilization

Regular fertilization is needed to encourage plants to bloom throughout the year. A complete fertilizer at a low rate is recommended. Excessive fertilization leads to vigorous leaf growth, poor flowering, and the accumulation of salts in the soil. The accumulation of salts can ultimately damage or destroy foliage. Flush soils occasionally with clear water to eliminate salt buildup in the soil.

Soil, Pots and Containers

A loose, porous, fertile soil or "soil-less" mix that is slightly acidic is needed for growing African Violets. Peat-based soils that have been pasteurized are best. Regular garden or field soil is not satisfactory alone since it is often poorly drained and compacts easily. There are many commercial soil-less mixes available at your local nursery or home and garden store.

Plastic pots are suitable and seem to be the most popular for growing African violets. With clay pots, fertilizer salts may accumulate around the rim and any leaf stems resting on them will develop spots and eventually rot.

I tend to leave my African Violet in it's original plastic container for a while and set it inside a decorative pot or basket. Thrift stores are great places to find unique pots, planters or baskets.

An African violet can live for years in the same pot. The plant's spread should be at least three times the width of the pot before it is repotted. Wait until spring to do so, and then place the plant in a pot that is just slightly larger than the original one. Many people who have trouble getting their African violets to flower are simply growing them in pots that are too large. Because the stems are quite fragile, it is best to let the plant dry out somewhat before removing it from it's pot.

Gardening Magazines

Do you have any tips or comments to share?

Or just say "Hi!" to other African Violet fans!

African Violet Comments - Stop on in and say Hi...

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I'm adding this lens to my featured lenses list on my new lens, Violets for Mother. This is a great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Love African Violets! Unfortunately I usually end up killing them. Thanks for some good info!

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      I love African violets. They are so beautiful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      African Violets really are easy care and last for years when you do things right and you certainly have hit all the bases here with such excellent and detailed information on every topic.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      love flowers and greenery, glad I browsed upon your lens! If you like to browse lens as I do, mine has a great educational topic with poll questions for my readers to enjoy.

    • profile image

      dellgirl 5 years ago

      What a beautiful and informative lens, makes me want to grow African Violets again.

      Hope you have a terrific weekend.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Love African Violets, they remind me of my Grandma who always had several growing on her kitchen windowsill.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      I love African Violets. I have ones in nearly every color of the rainbow.

      Nice Lens

      Lizzy

    • profile image

      ClaudetteKeith 9 years ago

      Thanks for this Great lense!

      I have a african violet for 20 years.

      Great Information!

      Claudette Keith

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Beautiful and Wonderful! My favorite is the one you have in the 'temperature' module! Welcome to the Flowers, Flowers, and more Flowers Group!

    • Music-Resource profile image

      Music-Resource 9 years ago

      Hi Flowerchild, Great African Violets lens :) I like the pics. ~Music Resource~