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Beginner's Tips for African Violet Care

Updated on April 5, 2016
African violet
African violet | Source

Tips for Growing African Violets

Most beginners can successfully grow African violets and care for African violets using these simple tips. African violets are beautiful, long-lived flowering house plants that thrive in a variety of conditions. They're relatively inexpensive, and easy to propagate from cuttings. One African violet plant can yield many daughter plants over the years with proper care. These beginner's tips for growing African violets may help newcomers to the world of growing Saintpaulia ionatha (the Latin name for the African violet) successfully.

African violet propagation
African violet propagation | Source

10 Tips for Growing African Violets

African violet care begins with selecting the right location to grow your African violets indoors. Next, you need to learn about the proper way to water African violets. Many beginners kill their African violet plants with kindness when it comes to watering, over-watering their plants or using improper watering techniques that can ruin the beauty of the plant. Selecting the right soil, pot size and fertilizer will keep African violet plants looking beautiful for years to come. Lastly, after you've fallen in love with growing African violets, you'll want to learn how to create new plants. This is called plant propagation and African violets are fairly easy to propagate.

10 Tips for Growing African Violets

  1. Plant selection: Start with a healthy plant. Choose a plant from the greenhouse or nursery that has dark green leaves and healthy buds.
  2. Plant requirements: African violets are house plants. They need to be kept indoors. Some people take them outside during the warm summer months, but this can lead to insect problems. It's best to keep them inside year-round.
  3. Light requirements: African violets like bright, indirect sunlight. Place your African violet plants on a windowsill facing east or west. A north-facing windowsill can work if other windows in the room provide additional sunlight.
  4. Water: African violets can be tricky to water, and gardeners recommend different watering techniques. The soil should be kept evenly moist without being soaking wet. Some people prefer to place their African violet pots inside a dish of water and allow the plant to soak up the water from below. This offers an added benefit of increasing the humidity near the plants. Try not to get water onto the leaves; this causes spots.
  5. Humidity: Most homes have low humidity, but house plants such as African violets require high humidity. You can achieve this by using a dish of water placed underneath the plant as noted above, or keeping your pots of African violets on a tray of pebbles. Keep the pebbles moist. This can increase the humidity near the African violet plants.
  6. Temperature: African violets thrive inside the home because they like temperatures around the same range that people like. Common indoor temperatures from around 65 degrees to 75 degrees are fine for violets.
  7. Potting soil: Commercial growers use a mixture of sterile potting soil and perlite to create a well-drained mixture that African violets like. If you need to replant your African violet, choose a sterile, bagged potting soil. Drainage is important.
  8. Containers and pots: African violet containers and pots should include drainage holes, both to allow excess water to run out and to allow watering from below to seep up to the plant's roots. You can slip an ugly plastic pot into a decorative ceramic container or another pretty pot to add to the décor of your room. That's a better idea than planting the African violet directly inside a ceramic pot which lacks drainage holes.
  9. Fertilizer: African violets don't need a lot of fertilizer. If you notice the plant hasn't bloomed for several months or it isn't growing, a commercial fertilizer especially created for African violets can be used. Always use fertilizers according to the label directions, and do not over fertilize.
  10. Propagation: African violets like to be snug in their pots, but if they grow too big, they will create daughter plants. When you look down at the pot, you may notice one or more crowns - the central portion of the plant from which the leaves emerge and grow outward in a circular form. The plant can be removed from the pot and the two crowns very gently separated. Each new plant should be planted in new potting soil in a separate container of the appropriate size. New African violet plants can also be started from leaf cuttings. You can cut a leaf near the base and place it into a glass of water, being careful that the water doesn't cover the leaf. Roots will form near the base. Another method is to cut a leaf off the parent plant, leaving plenty of stem, and dipping the end into rooting hormone. Place the stem dipped in rooting hormone into a small pot of sterile potting soil. Keep moist, and eventually a new plant may grow.

Starting an African Violet Collection

Beginners often start their African violet collection with a single plant, perhaps a gift from a friend or a plant that caught their eye at the garden center. But African violets are funny things. Once you acquire one, you'll suddenly want more! You'll find yourself propagating violets, trading cuttings, and scoping out the garden center for new varieties.

There are many beautiful African violets to choose from if you're starting an African violet collection. The traditional purple-hued African violets offers a great starting point. Double flowering violets, violets with variegated foliage, miniature violets and trailing violets are also available.

These beginner's tips for growing African violets are only the start. Explore the world of African violet care, propagation and collecting using the links in the resource box. Most of all, enjoy your beautiful African violet plants.

African violet
African violet | Source

© 2012 Jeanne Grunert

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    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 4 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      I love African violets. They are so beautiful and also easy to propagate as you pointed out. Enjoyed your hub. Voted up and useful.

      Thelma

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      What great information about African violets! They are such dainty and beautiful little flowers and your photos are beautiful and compliment them so well. I don't always have luck with these flowers as I'm not good with indoor plants but it seems with your directions perhaps I might try again!

      Voted up, useful and beautiful for those photos.

    • faythef profile image

      Faythe F. 4 years ago from USA

      I love African violets..Unfortunately haven't had good luck with them..I think I will try again , using your tips..I can see I had the watering all wrong as well as the light..

      thank you for your helpful tips.

    • profile image

      Rogene Robbins 4 years ago

      I think I found this too late. My poor little African Violet has seen better days. I think I put it in too big a pot and I don't get much light in my apartment.

    • Jeanne Grunert profile image
      Author

      Jeanne Grunert 4 years ago from Virginia

      Hi Rogene, try placing it in a slightly smaller container. How much light is it getting? They do fine in moderate to low light....

    • profile image

      sharmapk752 3 years ago

      Nice tips! I love African violets.

      Thanks for sharing it.

    • lhale profile image

      lhale 3 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for the tips! I have one African violet, and it lives just fine. But has never had a bloom! My grandmother always had tons of them, so would really like to be able to make one bloom. Hopefully your suggestions will help!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Jeanne....Such beautiful photos of this sweet, romantic plant. This took me back to my mother's indoor Sun Porch (as we called it) and her table covered with African Violets. She loved and babied them and they were so healthy & beautiful. She followed in her mother's footsteps with her love of these plants.

      These care tips are so helpful and complete. Thanks for sharing and for the "memories."....Up+++

    • Jeanne Grunert profile image
      Author

      Jeanne Grunert 2 years ago from Virginia

      Thank you for your kind comment, fpherj48

    • profile image

      Anne 2 years ago

      Grear tips, never had good luck probably over watered and did it incorrectly. Plus needs direct sun light. Thanks

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 14 months ago from Georgia

      I love African violets and luckily I have the right places for them to grow in my home. However, I do have a problem with them becoming "leggy" and I lose them when this happens. What do I do when they seem to grow out of the flower pot? I have tried replanting but have not had the best success with that. Thanks

    • profile image

      Lise-Marie Dejean 5 months ago

      I always have been fond of African violets; and last spring I purchased one which did not come through; Knowing my love for these blooms my sister just gave me one with your tips I realized I was watering it wrong Many thanks, I am sure I will succeed in growing it.

    • profile image

      Ann 4 months ago

      Thanks so much for the tips. I hope to repot my 2 AV plants 1 with flowers & 1 none abt 2 yrs old. Bought 4 mini fr a well known store on line fr New York & all didn't survive. Got 10 pots fr a discount store for $10 & in a poor state. Hoping to follow all these steps & be successful in growing them.

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      Amanda Atkinson 3 months ago

      Hi my name is Amanda and i have an African violet that hasn't bloomed or grown in 2 yrs its still alive but not doing much. any advise thanks

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      Marion Grieco 3 months ago

      I was given an African Violet plant as a gift. I got an african violet pot from a friend in ceramics that is sp=upposed to let the plant bring up water from the bottom. the dirt on top seems very dry and the plant is not flowering. I have placed the pot on the window sill, *the only window sill in the house on a North East window. I dont know where else to put the plant. Can you help me?

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