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How to Care for African Violets (Saintpaulia)

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10 Reasons to Have African Violets: A Must-Watch Guide for Every Plant Lover!


African violets are a popular houseplant for a good reason. These tiny, low-growing plants flower several times a year and have many leaf patterns and colors. Despite their reputation for difficulty, they may thrive indoors if you follow a few basic principles. With practice, you can keep them in bloom year-round and grow them to dinner-plate size.

They are native to Tanzania and Kenya’s tropical jungles. Walter von Saint Paul-Illaire, a German colonial officer, named these plants in 1892, and Saintpaulia was reclassified as Streptocarpus. And while they’re not violets, they do have violet blossoms.

They were brought to Europe in the 1890s and became popular houseplants in the 1900s thanks to their many colors, including blue, purple, pink, red, white, and green. So having some in your house will liven up the place! Here are some tips on how to care for your African Violets.

Additionally, research has shown that having plants in your house will have amazing benefits for you! Visit our article Amazing Psychological Effects of Nature in Pet-Friendly Interiors to find out more!

How to Care for African Violets (Saintpaulia)

Optimara African Violet Variety Pack (4 Assorted Plants) (4″ Pots)

Selecting the Best soil for African Violets

African violets are beautiful, delicate flowers that thrive in well-drained soil. When potting African violets, it is important to consider the plant’s humidity, heat, and light needs. They need loose, porous soil that is rich in organic matter and slightly acidic.

A good potting mix for them includes coco coir, peat, vermiculite, perlite, sand, and potting soil. They prefer a potting mix without any soil or dirt – this helps to keep the soil moist and drains excess water. While regular potting soil will work for them, using a light, well-drained, and aerated potting mix is ideal. You can airify the potting mix by adding perlite or vermiculite.

How to Care for African Violets (Saintpaulia)

Optimara African Violet Variety Pack (4 Assorted Plants) (4″ Pots)

Selecting the right pot for African Violets

They are a beautiful and popular plant known for their delicate flowers and velvety leaves. Unlike many other houseplants, they require very specific care in order to thrive. One important aspect of their care is choosing the right pot.

They should be planted in small pots (4 to 5 inch) ceramic or plastic containers that water themselves. Plants grown in these containers will receive the correct amount of continual moisture.

Clay Pots: These are not the most aesthetically pleasing pots, but they are extremely porous, which can help your houseplant drain water.

Plastic Containers: The majority of these containers, especially those with saucer bottoms, are well-draining containers that your houseplant will enjoy. Just be sure not to leave the water at the plant’s base.

Ceramic Pots: This sort of pot has two sections, making watering simple. The bottom section holds water, while the upper section holds the houseplant’s potting mix. African violets growing in ceramic pots will need to be watered more often than those in other types of pots.

As you can see, there are a variety of options when it comes to choosing a pot for your African violet.

How to Care for African Violets (Saintpaulia)

Optimara African Violet Variety Pack (4 Assorted Plants) (4″ Pots)

The Best light for African Violets

African violets are beautiful, delicate flowers that require indirect light in order to blossom. Yet their leaves are quickly burnt by direct, harsh sunlight. They thrive in south, east, or west-facing windows during the winter. As the sun becomes more intense in the spring, you will need to relocate your plants to north- or east-facing window.

Every few days, give each plant a quarter turn clockwise to ensure balanced development. For optimal growth and flowering, you should cultivate them under grow lights. Depending on the bulbs’ strength and the plants’ size, place the bulbs 12 to 15 inches above the African violets’ crowns and et a daily timer for 14 hours of light and 10 hours of darkness.

How to Water African Violets

African Violets Watering is fairly easy; however, overwatering is the leading cause of failure or death, so it’s important to be careful not to overwater your plant. They should be watered from the bottom by placing the pot in a container with no more than an inch of water.

The potting mix should be slightly dry between waterings but never bone dry. Watering from the bottom helps flush out salts that can build up in potting soil. You can also water the plant’s top, but don’t dampen the leaves.

The best way to determine when to water them is to feel the soil’s surface. If it’s dry to the touch, it’s time to water. They should be allowed to dry out completely between waterings, as this helps to prevent rot.

How to Care for African Violets (Saintpaulia)

Optimara African Violet Variety Pack (4 Assorted Plants) (4″ Pots)

How to Fertilize African Violet Plants

They require an appropriate African violet fertilizer consisting of a specific proportion of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, in addition, to trace elements. 14-12-14 is the optimal ratio for African violets. There are commercial fertilizers designed expressly for African violets; however, the majority of them contain urea as their nitrogen source.

In some situations, urea can burn the roots of a plant. These plants must be fertilized every 4 to 6 weeks during their growing cycle. Before fertilizing, thoroughly wet the soil. Utilize a liquid or soluble powder formulation for instantaneous distribution. If you are using a concentrated liquid, dilute it according to the package directions and always apply it to damp soil.

They thrive with consistent moisture levels and attention to fertilizer needs. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your African violets will remain healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Best Temperature and Humidity for African Violets

When cultivated as houseplants, they require high humidity levels in order to thrive. African violets are exposed to between 70 and 80 percent humidity in their natural habitat. However, 50 to 60 percent humidity is optimal for those that are grown as houseplants, as higher levels of humidity can be uncomfortable for people.

African violets also prefer moderate temperatures. In their natural habitat, they experience daytime temperatures between 70°F and 80°F and nighttime temperatures between 65°F and 70°F. If you grow them in a regular plant pot made of terracotta, plastic, or another material, adding a saucer or tray underneath the pot will help maintain high humidity levels.

By placing small stones and a small amount of water in the tray, you can create a mini-greenhouse effect that will keep your houseplant happy and healthy.

How to Care for African Violets (Saintpaulia)

Jmbamboo – Terrarium/fairy Garden Kit Miniature African Violet 3-pk 2”

How to Propagate African Violets From Seed

If you want to plant African Violets, you’ll find it’s relatively easy. They are one of the many beautiful flowers that can be grown from seed. With the right conditions, these small seeds can easily sprout and grow into healthy plants; in order to give your seeds the best chance of sprouting, use a light soil combination of peat, vermiculite, and greensand.

You can also add a little Epsom salt to assist in the sprouting process. They prefer a warmer environment, so keep your room at a temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. After pWith proper care, they should begin to sprout within 8-14 days. Enjoy growing African violet plants from seed to flower!

How to Propagate African Violets From Leaf Cuttings

It is very easy to grow African Violets from leaf cuttings. And what could be more satisfying than taking a cutting from your African violet and then watching it grow into a new plant? The best time to take African violet leaf cuttings is in the spring. To take a cutting, remove a healthy leaf and its stalk from the plant’s base with a sterile knife or scissors.

Trim the stem to 1-1.5 inches (2.5-3.8 cm). Dip the stem tip in rooting hormone. Cut a 1-inch (2.5 cm) hole in potting soil. Firmly pack soil around it and moisten it with tepid water. Cover the pot with a plastic bag and secure it with a rubber band to create a greenhouse for your cutting. 

Be sure to give it fresh air occasionally. Keep the soil moist and sunny, and in no time at all, you’ll have a new and beautiful plant!

How to Care for African Violets (Saintpaulia)

Jmbamboo – Terrarium/fairy Garden Kit Miniature African Violet 3-pk 2”

How to Propagate African Violets by Division

They are such easy-care houseplants that anyone can enjoy growing them. One way to propagate them is by separating the plants, which is a very easy way to grow African Violets. This process entails removing the plant’s crown or suckers, making sure each has a bit of the parent plant’s root system.

When they outgrow their pots, this is a great way to get more plants. Each piece can be planted in its own pot with African violet potting soil to grow your collection. It’s fun to witness homegrown seedlings become blossoming plants. African violet lovers enjoy propagating them because they’re so easy to care for, and they make such lovely additions to any sunlit room or office.

African Violets Common Pests and Diseases

They are also known for their resistance to diseases and pests. However, a few pests can be difficult to control, such as cyclamen mites, mealybugs, and thrips. The best way to prevent these pests is to buy healthy plants and care for them appropriately.

If you find yourself with a pest problem, the best course of action is to simply discard the plant and start over. They are readily available and relatively inexpensive, so it is usually easier (and less frustrating) to start fresh than to try to control the pests.

Additionally, they are susceptible to root rot, which can be caused by Phytophtora sp. and Pythium sp. These fungi thrive in moist conditions, so it’s important to let the soil dry out completely before watering again. If you notice any signs of root rot or that their dark green leaves are turning brown or yellow, you should immediately toss the plant.

Botrytis Blight, or grey mold, is another type of fungal infection that can affect African violets. This fungus typically forms on blooms, immature leaves, and dead leaves. To prevent botrytis blight, it’s important to use clean pots and saucers and periodically groom and inspect your plant’s dark green foliage.

How to Care for African Violets (Saintpaulia)

Jmbamboo – Terrarium/fairy Garden Kit Miniature African Violet 3-pk 2”

Repotting African Violets

They are relatively easy to care for, but they do require some special attention when it comes to potting. Many African violet gardeners recommend repotting twice a year or more. When an African violet becomes rootbound, its roots grow out and around the rootball.

Potting up an African violet is straightforward and quick if you know what you’re doing. Mold potting is a popular potting procedure in which you take your new pot and put enough potting soil at the bottom to compensate for the difference in height.

For instance, if your current pot is 2-1/2 inches in height, and your new pot is 3 inches in height, then the difference in height is 1/2 inch. You will, therefore, need to put 1/2 inch of potting soil at the bottom of the new pot. They can be sensitive to changes in their environment, so it’s important to repot them carefully and not disturb their roots too much.

How to prune African Violets

They require some regular care in order to stay healthy and bloom properly. One of the most important things to do for them is to remove bottom leaves monthly, which helps to encourage new leaf growth and keep the plant looking balanced.

In addition, they should have spent flowers removed immediately as this will encourage new blooms. Simply pinch them off with your fingers or use clean scissors to remove leaves and flowers. They are forgiving plants that will quickly bounce back from a little pruning.

How to Care for African Violets (Saintpaulia)

Novelty African Violet – 4″ Clay Pot/Better Growth

Final Thoughts

African violets are the perfect pet-friendly houseplant to set a creative and vibrant ambiance. Not only do they offer stunning visual appeal, but they also come with several psychological benefits that contribute to human well-being and joy. Its unique foliage and attractive flowers can add hue, warmth, and texture to any room.

Further, these plants are easy to care for, making them ideal for beginners or those considering starting their indoor garden. African violets thrive in indirect sunlight and hold more moisture in the soil than other houseplants.

They require regular watering with filtered water and moderate temperatures; otherwise, over-watering or under-watering can harm their growth. At optimal conditions, African violets will begin blooming within weeks! With their vibrancy, remarkable beauty, and easy maintenance, African violets provide countless reasons why adding this deep purple bloom may be just what your home needs!

Care for African Violets– FAQ

Do African Violets need direct sunlight?

No, they do not need direct sunlight. In fact, too much direct sunlight can be harmful to them. If you live in a particularly sunny climate, you may need to provide some shading for them during the day’s hottest hours.

Is it easy to plant African Violets?

Yes, they are relatively easy to plant, and you can purchase them from most garden stores or online retailers. Be sure to choose a healthy plant that has not been over-or under-watered. Once you have your plant, pot it in well-draining soil and provide it with bright, indirect light.

Is there a special African Violet Food?

In the correct quantities, African violets benefit from a specific combination of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. For African violets, 14-12-14 is the optimal ratio for African violets.

Is it easy to care for an African Violet Plant?

Yes, African violet care is easy, and they require bright, indirect light, well-draining soil, and occasional fertilization.

How to Care for African Violets (Saintpaulia)

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M.Arch. Julio Arco
M.Arch. Julio Arco

Bachelor of Architecture - ITESM University
Master of Architecture - McGill University
Architecture in Urban Context Certificate - LDM University
Interior Designer - Havenly
Architecture Professor - ITESM University

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