How To Grow African Violets

African Violets are flowering plants with small sizes and beautiful blooms from the Genus Saintpaulia under the family Gesneriaceae and are usually used as ornamental plants. Contrary to its name, its colours vary, ranging from lavender, violet to blue, pink, white. Though, blue and purple appear to be the dominant colour in species.

Unlike other ornamental plants, the African violet needs a little “extra” in its rearing/care. African violets are best kept in groups indoors for better show-off of blooms.   

Propagating African Violets

Below are some tips to make your planting, rearing and propagating your African Violets an easier and less intimidating process.

Water

Just like humans, African violet needs to be hydrated. But the worse thing you could do for your African violet is to overwater it. These plants are delicate and do not thrive in a waterlogged environment.

Make sure that the soil is not very moist when you want to water the plant. Preferably, use your finger to test/check the soil texture. Try not to water the plant until the top of the soil is dry to touch.  While watering, try not to water the leaves to avoid leaf rot/leaf spot.

African Violets are partial to lukewarm /warm water. Watering from the bottom is acceptable but never let your violets sit in water for too long. Remember, your flowerpot has to have a drainage hole at the bottom.

Light

Very often the question gets asked, do African Violets need direct sunlight? It is worth noting that African Violets thrive best with indirect sunlight, as direct sunlight/too much sunlight causes sunspots on leaves.

 

Propagating African Violets

 

Window sills are good locations for African Violets though they should be protected from draft especially during winter. Leggy stems and thin, dark green leaves give warnings that the plant is receiving little light.

African Violets at windowsills should be occasionally turned to ensure that light reaches all parts of the plant. Florescent lights or “grow light” could be used as a supplement source of light.

Soil

The African violet thrives in a potting mix/soil that allows for air to reach the roots. It survives in well-aerated soil. Soil that allows for proper water retention and still supports aeration. Normal soil will be too dense/heavy due to the decomposed peat moss materials it contains that give rise to too much water retention and also restrict airflow.

The added use of vermiculite and perlite in the potting mix can help tremendously to both aerate the soil and retain the needed amount of water.

Fertiliser

African Violets are no different from most plants that require macro and micronutrients. They require a certain percentage of Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) with a higher phosphorus number as in 15-30-15, plus some trace minerals. It’s best to follow the instructions that come with the fertiliser as different application applies to different fertilizer.

Wilting blooms should be pinched off as this encourages the development of new flowers. 

With the new information you’ve acquired, it is hoped that you’ll give indoors gardening a try with renewed confidence.