Keep African Violets Blooming: A Care Guide

African violets (Saintpaulia) are beautiful plants that can add a touch of color to any room. They are also very easy to care for, and most people find that they can keep them alive and healthy with very little effort. In this blog post, we will discuss the basics of African violet care so that you can grow these lovely plants successfully!

  • How much light do African Violets (Saintpaulia) need
  • How to get African Violets to Bloom
  • Proper soil
  • African violets watering, the best way
  • Fertilizer to keep your plant healthy
  • Humidity??

How Much Light Do African Violets Need

The first step in caring for your African violet is to make sure it has enough sunlight. African violets need at least six hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day. If possible, place your African violet near a south- or west-facing window. Adequate light is important for good growth. 

African Violets in window

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How to get African Violets to Bloom

For abundant blooming African Violets like 12 to 13 hours of light daily. If you want your African violets to bloom better in winter add supplement light by growing under artificial lights. Place a two-tube fluorescent fixture about 12-18″ above plants for 12-13 hours daily. Add more light if the foliage appears to be healthy and developing, but no blooms appear. If blossoms are numerous but leaves are pale or rigid, the light may be too strong.

African Violet Soil

The next step is to make sure your African violet has the right soil. A good potting mix that is light and very well-draining, yet still holds moisture well. Many recommend using a peat-based mix but I shy away from those, I explain why in my DIY Potting soil post.

make your own

DIY Potting Soil

Potting soil is easy to make and much less expensive than bagged. Plus you can use more earth-friendly ingredients than you find in commercial products!

So instead I use my DIY potting soil but add more perlite. About 1/4 more perlite ratio works well for me. If using a bagged potting soil just add more perlite to the mix, about 1/4 more. That means mixing 1/4 cup perlite to 1 cup potting soil. Brand-name “violet potting soils” are NOT necessarily good for African violets! 

African Violet watering

Watering is another important aspect of African violet care. These plants need to be watered regularly, but you don’t want to over-water them either. Use room-temperature water. 

A common misnomer is you need to water from the bottom. You can water from the top. Water on the leaves will not necessarily harm them, only if the water temperature is much different from the leaf temperature. Hard water can stain the leaves and though it looks bad it doesn’t necessarily harm them.

varigated african violet
Varigated African Violet

If you use “violet pots” or another self-watering method, this includes bottom watering, make sure you have plenty of perlite in your African violet soil!

The best way to determine when to water is to use a moisture meter. I also sometimes just lift the African Violet pot to feel the weight of it, after a while you can determine just by that if you need to water or not.

The moisture meter has really helped me with all of my house plants watering and I am so glad I got it!

Fertilizer

African violets like regular fertilization in order to stay healthy. A well-balanced feed can be used. A balanced formula means the 3 numbers listed for NPK are equal or close to it.

Use each watering, following the directions for that fertilizer. You want to avoid “bloom boosters”.

This is my favorite plant feed both inside and out.

Other African Violet Care tips

African violets like the same conditions you do–moderate temperatures and humidity. Ideal temperatures are between 65 and 75f degrees, but violets will tolerate temps much outside of this range.

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Propagating African Violets

You can easily get more African Violets by propagation. Find out how simple it can be!

Make sure to place your plant in a well-ventilated area, and if possible, rotate it every few days so that all of the leaves get an equal amount of sunlight.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your African violet will stay healthy and happy!

Keep them healthy

Repotting African Violets – when, why, and how!

Repotting African Violets is easy to do and keeps them looking their best. How often should your repot African Violets? What is the best soil? Find out here!

FAQs about African Violets

I have found they do great under regular fluorescent lights. One cool bulb, one warm. See section on how to get African Violets to bloom.

Not usually. If you follow all the recommendations in this blog post you should be able to succeed in growing African Violets with success.

Yes, you can. I have many African Violets in terra cotta clay pots and they do just fine. They may need more watering but that is easy to do. See this post: Why I love Terra Cotta Pots

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