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As a kid, I remember my dad caring for African Violets. Then we moved and he never had them again that I can remember. Over the years, I’d pick them up on occasion at the grocery store and they died often and swiftly. When my son asked about one I warned him that they were difficult and suggested he get something else. Somehow, this still ended up in our home!
Care for the African Violet hasn’t been as daunting as I’d feared and we have been doing really well with this wee beauty. Most of the blooms have finished now but it is producing a few more. It has also grown quite a bit of new foliage and is out growing it’s pot! My African violet was actually two plants put together in one pot. That’s common practice for growers who want to have a full pot to sell. Now that they’ve both gotten bigger, I’m interested in splitting them each into their own home.
General African Violet Care Tips
Light: African Violets need quite a lot of light and even tolerate a little direct sun as long as the heat isn’t too intense. I am in Canada (southern Alberta) and my violet is in my large south west facing window. It gets a little direct sun (about an hour or so) in the late afternoon and when it becomes very hot in the summer, I’ll close the sheer blinds so it still gets light, but less direct heat.
Water: Watering an African Violet is the tricky part. The leaves will rot if they get wet and because they’re fuzzy, wet leaves don’t dry out very well. The best way to water an African violet plant is to fill a bowl with water and then place the plant in the bowl, allowing it to soak up water from the bottom. This prevents the leaves from getting wet! Leave the plant to soak for 20 min or so or until you feel the top of the soil has moistened. Allow your violet to dry out between waterings. Mine gets watered about once a week.
Soil: You can buy soil mixes specifically made for African Violets. They like great drainage and a light airy mix. Avoid heavy soils that retain too much water as this will cause the roots to rot.
Humidity: My African Violet does not seem overly sensitive about humidity despite the fact that in the wild, they are living in pretty humid conditions. Our room is about 45% humidity and my plant seems quite happy.
Fertilizer: I am using a general 10-10-10 water soluble plant fertilizer for now. After I re-pot them I will switch to an African Violet specific fertilizer (14-12-14) to encourage them to bloom more.
Pruning: I pinch off dead blooms and leaves at the base of the stem as required.
African Violet Resources:
African Violet Society of Canada
I’d love to visit a show! See their website for details.
African Violet Society of America
You’ll want to check out the photo gallery. There are SO MANY varieties of African Violet out there!