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How to Care for Your African Violets

How to Care for Your African Violets

One of the most beautiful and wonderful indoor plants you can grow. However, they may require a little TLC, but nothing overwhelming. Learn how to care for your African Violets at home with our simple guide.

The colorful blooms of the charming African Violets are extra special because it can instantly cheer up the environment and make you smile. Some plant parents say that it's similar to the Fiddle Leaf Fig because this houseplant has a reputation for being finicky and fussy. However, t truth be told, African Violets are actually not difficult to grow if you know how to follow the basic rules for their care and give them a little extra attention.

Fun Fact: African Violets symbolizes modesty and sweetness.

African Violets or Saintpaulia ionantha are tropical houseplants known for their violet-like flowers in shades of blue, lavender, pink, purple, or red. However, among all of these shades, blues and purples are the most popular. A lot of people would mistake them for Violets because they resemble Violets' color and shape, but they are not actually related to any Violet species.

Tip: If you're planning to purchase African Violets, we recommend you to choose the plant that has a single crown (one single center of growth) because they bloom and grow best with only one crown per pot. Moreover, carefully check that the leaves are deep green, growing symmetrically around the center, and spot-free. These are the signs that your African Violet is healthy.

African Violets can bloom all year round with proper care, which makes them fantastic indoor plants. No wonder plant enthusiasts are crazy about them. Since it's a tropical houseplant that originated from Tanzania, in East Africa, they require bright, indirect sunlight, such as from the south or east-facing window. They can also thrive under fluorescent lights placed 12 to 15 inches above the leaves, but it's still best to put it in a warm spot if you want to see your African Violets bloom.

Botanical Name Saintpaulia ionantha
Common Name African Violet
Plant Size A standard African Violet can grow from 8 to 16 inches in diameter, but most African Violets grow from 10 to 12 inches.
Types of African Violets Aroma of Summer, Diamond Tiffany, First Kiss Blush, Gold of Scythians, High School Sweetheart, Julia, LE Vega, Lonestar Twilight, PT Shah-Shahriyar, RD's Gleam, RM Visavi, RS Vicomte, Shamahanskaya Queen, Silver Romance, Strawberry Wave, Summer Twilight, Valeska Viol, VaT Pavlin (Peacock), World to Your Home, and Zephyr
Sunlight African Violets require bright, indirect sunlight. Rotate the pot once a week, so all leaves receive light.
Water Water your African Violet when the soil is dry.
Humidity It's important to place your African Violet in a humid environment of about 70-80%. However, in your home, we advise a level of humidity of at least 50-60%.
Temperature African Violets prefer a warm temperature between 65–80°F.
Toxicity African Violets are non-toxic humans and pets, which makes them a good choice for pet-owners.
Food Feed your African Violets every two weeks during spring and summer with a specially formulated African Violet fertilizer, which is available at most garden stores.
Pests and Problems African Violets are prone to cyclamin mites, mealybugs, and thrips. To eliminate these pests, dab them with swabs dipped in alcohol. You should also rinse them off with mild, soapy water and spray your African Violets with a mixture of neem oil and liquid Castille soap.
Your African Violet is also prone to powderly mildew caused by lower humidity and to rot and blight caused by overwatering.
Omysa Plant Care Tip African Violets only bloom when they are root-bound. In case you need to repot your plant, we recommend you to use an organic potting soil made specifically for African Violets. Additionally, it's best to choose a small pot that’s about a third of the width of their leaf spread.

African Violets Plant Care Tips

As I have mentioned that some people are intimidated with African Violets because it has a reputation for being finicky and fussy, but that's not entirely true. It's actually pretty simple to keep this plant happy and healthy once you provide them with the right conditions and follow our simple guide.

Here's a detailed explanation of how to care for your African Violets, from sunlight requirement to common problems and its solutions.

Sunlight

First, on our list on how to care for your African Violet is to put it in a location where it can get the right amount of sunlight to bloom and grow. Provide your African Violets with bright, indirect sunlight by placing it in a south or east-facing window. Rotate the pot once a week, so all leaves receive light. Avoid placing your plant under the intense, direct sun because its leaves will burn.

Common Problem: If the leaves of your African Violets are turning dark green and thin with long, weak stems, it means that the plant is receiving too little light. You will also notice that they will have few or no flowers at all.

However, if your African Violet is receiving too much sunlight, it will produce brown spots on the leaves and flowers. Additionally, its leaves will start to curl down and may turn variegated leaves completely green.

Solution: While it's true that your African Violets can thrive under artificial light, if you want to see it bloom and grow, placing it in a warm well-lit spot, where it can get bright, indirect sunlight is still the best answer. If this is not possible, put your African Violets under fluorescent lights placed 12 to 15 inches above its leaves.

Water

Next on our list on how to care for your African Violets is to water it when the soil is completely dry because this plant is very sensitive to overwatering as it can lead to root rot. Avoid splashing water to its leaves to prevent leaf-spot and poor blooms, but you can lightly mist it if the humidity is a bit low. We recommend that you water it at the base with lukewarm or tepid water to keep your plant happy and healthy.

Common Problem: Your African Violet is prone to rot and blight caused by overwatering.

Solution: In my opinion, it's better to underwater your plant than to overwater it. When a plant is underwatered, you can still fix it to bring it back to life. However, an overwatered plant is difficult to revive, particularly for African Violets since they are prone to root rot.

The best thing that you can do is to check if the soil is completely dry. If it is, then it's time to water your plant again. Additionally, never allow your African Violets to sit in water.

Humidity & Temperature

Adding to our list on how to care for your African Violets is to place it in an environment with a level of humidity of at least 70-80%. However, in your home, we advise a level of humidity of at least 50-60%. African Violets prefer warm room temperature between 65–80°F.

Common Problem: If the leaves on your African Violet looks dry, old, and wrinkled, this could mean that your environment isn't very humid.

Solution: Think jungle. If you live in a dry country, we suggest to mist your African Violets regularly, place it near a humidifier, or use a pebble tray. Avoid placing your plant near air conditioning vents, doors, and drafty areas.

Toxicity

Good news! African Violets are non-toxic humans and pets, which makes them a good choice for pet-owners.

Food

Another on our list on how to care for your African Violets is to feed it every two weeks during spring and summer with a specially formulated African Violet fertilizer, which is available at most garden stores. Remember to follow the prescribed amount of fertilizer and schedule to avoid *fertilizer burn or *plant burn.

*Plant burn, also known as fertilizer burn, is the result of applying too much fertilizer to a plant. Fertilizer contains salts, which draw moisture out of plants.

Pests & Other Problems

African Violets are prone to cyclamin mites, mealybugs, and thrips. There are different ways to eliminate these pests:

  • Cyclamin Mites: The best solution to eliminate this pest is to avoid it. Yes, once your African Violet has been infected, the only solution left is to throw out the plant.
  • Mealybugs: This pest is easy to eliminate. Simply dab them with swabs dipped in alcohol. You can also spray your African Violets with a mixture of neem oil and liquid Castille soap.
  • Thrips: Eliminate thrips by rinsing them off with mild, soapy water and 

Your African Violet is also prone to powderly mildew caused by lower humidity. To fix this, increase air circulation and remove infected leaves.

That's a wrap on how to care for your African Violets. It's not as easy as other houseplants, but it's also not that intimidating or overwhelming. Keep in mind that it all depends on you to keep this plant happy and healthy. Try adding color to your home by caring for African Violets.

Grow your plant knowledge. Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.

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