African Violet (Saintpaula) is one of the most popular flowering houseplants, as it is small and compact, easy to grow, and blooms frequently! It’s the prefect plant for beginners! African violets come in purple, blue, lavender, red, white, pink and bi-colours. And best of all, you can grow more plants with a single leaf! They are available all year round at local garden centers and florists.
The key to growing African violets is to pay attention to light, water, temperature and humidity. Here are some tips on growing African violets:
- African violets need plenty of bright light to bloom, but keep away from direct heat from the sun. An east window would be best. For even distribution of light, turn the plants occasionally.
- In the winter time, plants can be placed under fluorescent or other artificial lights.
African violets need loose, well-drained potting mix. Plants do best in equal parts peat moss,vermiculite and perlite.
- Plants do best in warm climates, ideally about 70ºF-80ºF (21ºC-27ºC) during the day and 60ºF-65ºF (15ºC-18ºC) at night. Remove plants from the window at night. Chilled plants will turn dark within 24 hours.
- As African violets are native to tropical Africa, high humidity is a must. To increase the humidity, place a humidifier or a bowl of water near the plants. Signs of low humidity include: brown tips on leaves, bud dropping and dull foliage.
- And like other houseplants, keep away from drafts and vents.
- Soil should be kept moist, but leaves should be kept dried. Use room-temperature water, as African violets don’t seem to like cold water. Do not over water; water only when top of soil is dry to the touch. Avoid getting the leaves wet; water spots can cause permanent leaf spotting.
- Fertilize regularly, as they will flower more often. Use a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen (first number) and high in phosphorus (the middle number). But be careful not to over fertilize; too much fertilizer can burn the plant, causing brown tips and leaf edges
- To encourage new blooms, pinch off dead blossoms and dead leaves.
- Re-pot with fresh soil once a year.
- Fun Flower Facts: African Violets (funflowerfacts.com)