January 2nd, 2013
African violets add beauty and color inside the home especially during the dark winter months when the garden is sleeping under the snows. As house plants go, African violets tend to be easy-care, but some people struggle to keep their African violets alive and blooming. If you have an African violet, and you want it to thrive, here are three tips that should keep your plant healthy and happy for many years to come.
Tip #1: Light Requirements for African Violets
Many people make the mistake of placing their African violets in direct sunlight, thinking that the more light, the better. Like all plants, African violets need the type of light they would receive in nature. Plants, including house plants, evolved over centuries in specific light, soil and moisture conditions. If you can recreate such conditions, your plants will thrive. For African violets, this means bright yet indirect sunlight. A bright eastern or western window is ideal, but you can also keep your African violets in a room with southern exposure as long as you don’t keep them on the windowsill itself. African violets can also thrive with indoor plant lights, so don’t hesitate to keep your violet collection under artificial lights if you wish.
Tip #2: Provide Adequate Moisture and Humidity, But Don’t Drown Your Plants
African violets need high humidity, but indoor conditions, especially in winter, are often very dry. To remedy this situation, use a dish of pebbles or rocks underneath the pot. Add water to the dish of pebbles. The evaporation process will provide humidity around the African violet itself.
African violets like moisture, but they don’t like to be soaking wet. To tell if your plant needs water, just stick your finger into the soil in the pot. If the soil feels wet and soggy, it probably is! If it feels dry, water the plant. Never let the plant get too wet or too dry.
Tip #3: Use the Right Fertilizer
Lastly, to encourage your African violet plants to bloom, use the right kind of fertilizer. Choose a fertilizer that is 100% water soluble, meaning it will dissolve completely in water. Other types of fertilizer may burn sensitive violets. Follow the package directions carefully.
African violets are great house plants and usually, very forgiving of new gardeners’ mistakes. For more information on African violets, visit the African Violet Society.