It is the year of the African Violets! According to the National Garden Bureau, these bright beauties are taking this year by storm. We are here to tell you all of the information you need to keep these indoor flowers happy and healthy.
As you may have guessed by the name, African Violets (Saintpaulia ionantha) are native to tropical rainforests in East Africa. However, they are not actually a member of the violet family. They receive their name from the violet colors of their flowers.
Although a widely popular houseplant due to its ease of care, this indoor plant is facing major trouble outdoors. African Violets are highly endangered in Africa and face possible extinction.
Care For African Violets
African Violets should never be placed in direct sunlight. They are native to rainforests and therefore enjoy bright indirect light. A north or east-facing window will keep your plant happy and thriving. Also avoid areas where it may receive a cold draft, such as window sills, vents, etc.
To know whether they are receiving adequate light, as a rule of thumb, check the leaves. Foliage that appears to be very light or bleached looking, is receiving too much sunlight. On the opposite side of that, if the leaves are dark and leggy, then are not receiving enough sunlight.
Watering an African Violet requires a little more care than other plants. They do not like their leaves to get wet, in fact, it can even cause them to rot if they hold moisture.
The best practice for watering an African Violet is to water from the bottom with room temperature water. Make sure the pot you choose has drainage holes, then place your potted plant in a saucer or container that has room-temperature water in it, but do not let it sit for too long. It is recommended to not let your plant sit in water for any more than 30 minutes to prevent root rot.
You can choose to top water but carefully do so so that the leaves do not get wet. Another great option to avoid over-watering is to use a self-watering pot.
To encourage your African Violet to bloom, it is crucial to use fertilizer. Although most soil mixes contain great nutrients for your plant, fertilizer provides an extra boost for multiple blooms per year.
There are many African Violet fertilizers available, so it is important to read the instructions on the one that you choose for proper use.
Temperature & Humidity
Mimicking rainforest conditions will give your plants the best chance to thrive. They need temperatures between 65 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Although they do enjoy humidity, they do not like for their leaves to be misted. Damp leaves can create leaf spots and cause your plant to rot.
Keeping your plant at a temperature and humidity level that it enjoys will also encourage blooming. If you are having trouble with getting your plant to rebloom, consider checking these factors.
Keep up with your African Violet by removing any spent flowers or leaves. This encourages new growth and helps your plant stay healthy.
African Violets enjoy being slightly root-bound and do not like to be repotted often. They reach a standard 8 to 16 inches at maturity. You will know when it is time to repot your African Violet when you see the roots begin to become visible outside of the soil and the leaves begin to drop.
When repotting, choose a well-draining potting mix and do not pot much deeper than its previous pot. African Violets are not happy with too much excess soil because it holds more moisture than they need. There are special African Violet potting mixes, but any well-draining potting soil should work well.
Another thing to avoid when repotting is placing more than one African Violet in a pot at a time. African Violets prefer to be by themselves in a pot.
African Violets As Gifts
One fun fact about these plants is they are easy to propagate. All it takes is a leaf cutting to begin growing African Violets.
These plants also make excellent gifts. African Violets are easy to grow, rebloom several times a year, are pet-safe, and can live up to 50 years with the proper care. Brighten up a loved one’s home with these striking indoor flowers. In-store today!