Caring for African Violets wallacegardencenter

Caring for African Violets

If you want lush, thriving florals that brighten up your home, African violets are beautiful, vibrant, and easy to care for!

African violets make a sweet, adorable addition to your plant collection. Beloved by grandmothers and generations past, African violets are making a comeback because of their beauty and their low-maintenance needs. Caring for your African violet is not terribly difficult. Like any other houseplant, you just need to make sure you're giving it the right amount of sunlight and water. If you want lush, thriving florals that brighten up your home, here are a few special tips to make your African violets even more vibrant!

What is an African violet?

Two things that make African violets so memorable are their color and texture. Beautiful blooms dazzle with jewel-tone hues of purples, pinks, blues, and whites. The leaves are dark green with a fuzzy lamb's-ear, velvety texture. They are short and compact, like Winnie-the-Pooh. While they can survive outside, they are more susceptible to insects and damage, so best to keep them as indoor plants whenever possible. African violets are non-toxic to dogs and cats, so they are safe to have anywhere in your home. If you're looking for a great pop of color to brighten up your study or office space, you should definitely consider an African violet. One thing to keep in mind when caring for African violets is that they thrive in the conditions of an average house. Basically, if you're comfortable with the temperature and humidity of your environment, your African violet probably is too. If you aim to keep the temperature of your house around 70 degrees, your violet will be content. They make great roommates! Keep your eye out for wilting African violets. That's a sign it's too warm and going into shock. Even worse, if it gets too cold, then you may deal with crown rot.

purplbe blooming African violet by window

Do African Violets Need Direct Sunlight?

African violets don't need direct sunlight; bright, indirect light is perfect for them. Just make sure you rotate the pot regularly to ensure all sides get access to light and grow evenly. If you start to notice brown spots on the leaves, bleached or very light green leaves, that's a sign of too much light. Your violet needs to be rotated or pulled back from the light source. If your African violet's leaves become thin and the stems become 'leggy,' then it's not getting enough light, and you should relocate it. Just as sunlight is important (10-14 hours per day), so is darkness. African violets need 8 hours of darkness each day in order to fully bloom. The best location in your home to achieve a balance of light and dark would be a window that faces east or west.

purple and white edged close up of African violet bloom

Watering African Violets

When watering your African violet, keep the soil moist but not soaked. The best way to water your violet is from the bottom. Place your plant in the sink or in a container of room temperature water so it can soak up the water from the roots. Avoid getting water on the leaves as this can lead to spots forming. Make sure that after watering your African violet it doesn't continue to sit in residual water, or you may be faced with root rot! Bottom-watering helps regulate the amount of soil moisture and helps keep the plant humid. Another great method for adding humidity is keeping your African violet on a pebble tray.

potting up an African violet pink blooms

Caring for African Violets

Porous soil is ideal for African violets. You can also make your own with equal parts peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. Grab some special violet plant food to help your new friend out, commonly found at most greenhouses. Fertilize regularly during peak growing season (summer) and be sure to stop feeding once winter rolls around. Repot once or twice a year when you notice your violet is losing its bottom leaves (forming a bare "neck.") It's important to deadhead your African violet after the blooms have died. Just pinch them back gently and pluck them off! In no time, you'll see a new bloom take its place. Always be gentle with African violets, and use a small soft brush if you notice some dirt on its leaves. There's just something about African violets that makes you go "aww." If they had cheeks, you'd pinch them.

Caring for African violets doesn't have to be hard, and they make such a fun addition to your collection. They are super easy to propagate and make for a thoughtful and easy gift! Visit our Bettendorf garden center to talk to us about taking great care of your African violets.

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