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How to Care for African Violet?

How to Care for African Violet?

African violet is one of the most beautiful flowering plants that not only has beautiful flowers but also its foliage has a special charm. This houseplant is a symbol of loyalty and sacrifice. The African violet is very popular due to its various and happy colors, especially in autumn and winter. In some varieties, the edges of the leaves can be white or black, and in different varieties of African violet, the flowers can be blue, purple, white and pink, crimson and red. Continue reading this article in TooPlant in order to learn more about how to grow and care for African violet.

Introduction of African Violet (Saintpaulia)

Before addressing how to care for African violet, please allow us to give you a brief introduction about this houseplant.

Name African violet
Botanical Name  Streptocarpus sect. Saintpaulia
Common Name(s)  African violet, Kenya Violet, Usambra violet
Plant Type Perennial
Family Gesneriaceae
Mature Size Height: 0.75 to 1 feet; Spread: 0.8 to 1 feet
Sun Exposure Full sun, Half sun
Soil Conditions Rich, Well-drained
Bloom Time Spring, Summer, Fall
Toxicity  Non-toxic to pets and humans
Native Tropical East Africa (Tanzania and adjacent southeastern Kenya in eastern tropical Africa)
Hardiness Zones 9 to 11 (USDA)

Since maintaining African violets at home is not so difficult, cultivation of African violets in apartments is increasing day by day. In this article, we try to teach the correct way to care for the African violet, so that we can be a guide for those who do not have complete information about how to grow African violets and their maintenance conditions.

African violet was first identified by a German military named St. Paul in Tanzania, which is why it was named Saintpaulia. This houseplant is native to Tanzania and around southeastern Kenya as well as the tropical part of East Africa.

One of the most beautiful houseplants to maintain is the African violet. This plant blooms all year round and the color of its petals is blue, red, pink, white and purple and it is one of the plants that can easily be kept in a pot as an ornamental plant.

This plant attracts everyone’s attention due to its beautiful flowers and dark green velvety leaves. The reason for the ever-flowering of this plant is its indifference to the length of the day. With proper maintenance, you can see its beautiful flowers throughout the year.

In this article, we want to provide you with information about how to grow African violets and care for them, so stay tuned with Tooplant.

Types of African Violet

There are hundreds of types of African violets, each with a different color, size and shape. In general, this plant is divided according to the size and how much it grows.

How many varieties of African violet are there?

African violets are divided into three categories based on size:

  1. Miniature African Violet: It is approximately 20 cm wide.
  2. Standard African Violet: It is approximately 20 to 27 cm wide.
  3. Large African Violet: It is more than 27 cm wide.

Care for African Violet

In short, about the maintenance and care of the African violet, we must say that this houseplant needs indirect light and some moisture. The growth of the African violet slows down at a temperature of less than 15 degrees Celsius. Even at very high temperatures, these plants wilt and weaken, producing few buds that drop before blooming.

If the air in your house or apartment is dry, it is better to use a humidifier and adjust the humidity. If you do not have a humidifier, there is no need to worry. Solve this problem by making an island for the plant. Place a few wet pebbles under the pot so that the plant itself absorbs moisture. African violet loves moisture; So, it lives well in the bathroom with a window or in the kitchen. To have an African violet that is always beautiful and fresh, it is necessary to observe and consider the vital items such as light, watering and other items that we have mentioned in detail below.

In this part, we will focus on the most important aspects which you need to take into consideration while treating this houseplant. The best methods of how to care for African violet include as follows:

African Violet Light Requirements: What light is best for African violet?

Light is among the first important issues to care for African violet. One of the main needs of African violets is moderate to high but indirect light. You should put the plant in a place where direct sunlight does not damage it during the day, especially at noon, and be sure to use filtered light behind the curtain for this plant. Many have tested this plant in a low light environment and have had no problems, but for blooming throughout the year, light is one of the main conditions.

If you live in an apartment that does not have enough light, you can use grow lights and fluorescent light for maintaining African violet (white light). One of the major problems that can occur for your plant if there is not enough light is wilting and dropping of the leaves. So, if you see such a problem, move the plant to a well-lit place.

Above, we tried to discuss all the details related to the African violet light requirements since it plays a significant role in order to care for African violets.

African Violet Watering: How often should you water an African violet?

In the rest, concerning the tips of caring for an African violet, it is better to know that this houseplant is very sensitive to watering and you should not let water droplets fall on its leaves as it will destroy the leaves. The best way you can choose to water this plant is watering tray.

To do so, you need to fill the tray with water and place the pot in it for about 30 minutes to allow the plant to absorb the required water from the holes under the pot. It should be noted that African violets are sensitive to cold water. Cold water causes white rings on the leaves of this beautiful plant. Therefore, try to use water without salts and chlorine and at room temperature.

By doing this, you make the African violet roots absorb water and prevent damaging the leaves of the plant. Next time, water when the soil of the pot is dry to a depth of 2 to 3 cm.

Important Note: Overwatering causes the African violet flowers and leaves to rot. Watering twice a week throughout the year is sufficient. Also, you should not spray this plant, because the flowers will become transparent and faded.

In this way, to care for African violet, watering is considered to be of great significance.

African Violet Soil: What is the best soil for a Saintpaulia (African violet)?

Intending to care for African violet, the other crucial matter is soil. African violets need relatively acidic soil for blooming. One of the good combinations can be 60% peat moss + 40% perlite or coco peat + perlite. African violet soil should also be well drained. Otherwise, the roots of the plant will rot.

Thus, it can be said that, soil is another basic and important issue so as to care for African violet.

African Violet Temperature Tolerance

Now, we come to temperature which is assumed to be principal to care for African violet in addition to light, watering and soil that are mentioned above.

The suitable temperature for the growth and blooming of African violets is between 18 and 26 degrees Celsius. However, the ideal temperature is 22 degrees. In addition, this plant can withstand temperatures of 12 to 13 degrees Celsius in winter and up to 32 degrees Celsius in summer.

Important Note: If the weather is cold, the leaves of the African violet will wilt and drop, in this case, move the plant to a warmer place immediately.

African Violet Humidity: Does African violet like humidity?

Moisture is another thing which we need to inevitably pay attention to when talking about how to care for African violet. African violets need very little moisture and dry air can dry out their buds. To provide humidity, you can also put your pots next to each other or place a tray full of water near the plant. As we said, do not spray African violet with water in any way, because it will cause the plant to die.

Therefore, please do not forget to take humidity into consideration in order to care for African violet in the best way.

African Violet Fertilizer: What is the best fertilizer for an African violet?

When you want to care for African violet, one of the important questions that may come to your mind is “what is the best fertilizer?” In what follows, we will address how to fertilize this plant:

For better blooming and growth, you can use fertilizers that contain higher phosphorus and nitrogen. You should fertilize your plant in a form of watering every two weeks, but if your plant is weak in terms of blooming, be sure to increase the phosphorus. Note that after a few months of fertilizing, you need to remove the remaining and excess salts from the pot by watering and washing the soil so that your plant does not get into trouble and damage.

When your plant blooms, you should reduce fertilizing but do not stop it.

As a result, we could say that fertilizer is regarded as one of the fundamental issues when someone wants to care for African violet.

African Violet Toxicity: Are African violets poisonous to humans and pets?

In order to care for African violets, toxicity is considered to be a major issue because it directly relates to your health especially children and pets.

African violets are not technically edible, but they are non-toxic to pets and humans. Typically, this plant is so small that you should probably keep it on a shelf out of the reach of dogs and children. However, it is still good to know that this plant is a completely safe choice for your home.

African Violet Repotting: How to repot African violet?

The roots of this beautiful houseplant are very sensitive and delicate. So, when repotting, you need to be very careful in order not to damage the roots. Check the drainage of the pot every year. If the roots of the plant had come out, replace the pot with a larger size.

If you want to know how to repot African violets, it is necessary to notice that choosing a very large pot will use the plant energy for root growth and the plant will take less root. Try to use a plastic pot for African violet so that temperature fluctuations do not cause the plant to die. Plastic pots are more suitable than clay pots. Because clay pots absorb the cold in the cold seasons of the year and will cause cold stress in the African violet and as a result the plant will die. The best season to repot the African violet is spring.

Important Note: If the African violet leaves increase and become small, it is a sign that it is time to repot, so carefully move the plant to a new pot.

African Violet Pruning: How to prune African violet?

Another thing to keep in mind when caring for an African violet is pruning it. African violets are so small, so, you won’t need to do much pruning. The growth of this plant is low and can spread, so you can prune excess leaves to keep it compact. Otherwise, just remove dead or damaged leaves to make the plant look its best and encourage it to put its energy into new growth. Pruning may encourage the plant to grow more flowers. Always use clean scissors or tools to prune your plant.

Propagating African Violet: How to propagate African violet?

When you want to care for African violet, another important question that may come to your mind is “how to propagate it.”

African violets can be propagated from leaf cuttings or from offsets. However, the best way to propagate this houseplant is by leaf cuttings. In order to propagate by leaf cuttings, you should follow the below steps:

•• First, remove the newly grown healthy leaf from the plant with a sharp knife.

•• In the next step, cut the end of the leaf’s stem at a 45-degree angle.

•• Water the soil and plant the cut leaf in the soil up to the middle of the stem.

•• If you put nylon on the cuttings, more humidity in the environment will increase the speed of rooting.

•• After about 12 weeks, small leaves sprout from the planted leaf.

•• Then you have to separate these buds from the main leaf and plant them in a new pot.

If you have a lot of patience, you can propagate the African violet by offsets. For this, you should allow the plant to grow until you can see some offsets on the side of the plant, then carefully separate these fresh offsets and plant them in another pot. The suitable temperature of 20-25 degrees Celsius and the right light are needed for the growth of the offsets. Do not forget to spray water on the surface of the soil.

Important Note: Use ready-made leaf mold to propagate African violets. In warm seasons, feed the plant once every fifteen days with complementary food.

In this part, we tried to teach you how to propagate African violet in detail. In this way, you can easily propagate your plant.

Common Pests and Diseases

African Violet, like any other plant, can be exposed to disease or pests.

Common Pests

Cyclamen Mite: It is almost impossible to eradicate this mite from the plant.

Treatment: It is better to separate the plants adjacent to the African violet affected by this pest.

Common Diseases

Powdery Mildew: This plant disease is a type of fungus.

Pythium ultimum

This plant disease is a type of fungus and it is the most important disease of African violets, which causes rotting of the upper parts of the plant. Soil acidity, lack of proper drainage, and leaves getting wet are among the causes of this disease. Placing the plant in an environment without ventilation and high humidity, as well as excessive cold and heat and long-term darkness causes the appearance of white fungus on the leaves.

Root Rot Disease

 This type of disease is caused by a type of fungus. Disease symptoms include growth stop, wilting, and blackish brown rot in the collar area.

Caring for African Violet: Common Problems With African Violet

After a description of taking care of an African violet, we will explain the problems and their solutions:

Why are African violet leaves turning brown?

Spraying the African violet in the sun or watering the plant from above cause the leaves to turn brown. The plant does not need spraying and watering should be done according to the methods which we mentioned in this article.

Since “leaves turning brown” is another common problem that you may face when you want to care for African violet, we tried to describe the reasons and the ways to solve it in details.

Why are African violet leaves dried or burnt?

Too much fertilizer, soil salinity, accumulation of salt and dandruff on the soil, and pH problems cause the tip or edge of the leaves to dry and burn.

Why is my African violet not blooming?

One of the causes of African violet not blooming is the lack or absence of fertilizer in its soil. As it has been said, if you do not fertilize your African violet properly, the plant does not bloom and will have pale leaves.

To strengthen the blooming, you should add a quarter of a teaspoon of suitable plant fertilizer such as 15-30-15 fertilizer to the soil for 4 liters of water for each spoonful every time you water the plant. Some experts believe that fertilization should be done once every two weeks in spring and summer.

Remember that the favorable effect of fertilizer should not mislead you; That is, you should not think that by increasing the amount of fertilizer, you can have more and fresher flowers in your pot. Too much fertilizer not only does not improve the condition of the plant, it also burns its roots and makes its leaves brittle and hard. Keep in mind that the ideal fertilizer for this plant contains large amounts of phosphate.

Another reason why the plant does not bloom is that the pots are too big. In this case, do not change the pots for the next two years.

In general, several factors such as the African violet light requirements, suitable pot and timely feeding would need to be considered if you want your African violet to bloom. Try to provide all these conditions for the African violet to have a beautiful flowering plant.

6 Key Tips on How to Grow African Violets

African violet is one of the houseplants that blooms continuously throughout the year. In fact, African violets grow easily at home even when you have little equipment and facilities. The light and heat that African violets need is the same light and heat that exists in most houses. If you are looking to grow African violets, follow these 6 key tips:

1. Temperature Requirements of African Violets

•• Temperature during the day (18 to 24 degrees Celsius)

•• Temperature during the night (15 to 18 degrees Celsius)

•• African violets do not perform well in colder or hotter temperatures. Avoid temperature fluctuations.

2. Give the African Violet Indirect or Filtered Light

Always avoid hot or direct sunlight because it causes blisters and leaf spots and burns the plant. The natural habitat of the African violet is under the forest canopy. Therefore, it is better not to expose the plant to direct sunlight. Remember that African violets do well in artificial light, these plants are very flexible.

3. Cool the African Violet with Water

The fastest way to kill African violets is to overwater them. African violets need to stay moist all the time, so it is better to use a container under the pot and fill it with water when you feel the soil is dry. Do not allow dust to sit on the plant, and water drops should not be remained on the leaves, it may cause permanent spots on the leaves.

4. Use a Special Pot for African Violets

African violet pot is a special pot that consists of two parts and you have to plant your plant in the upper part of the pot. When the plant dries, just pour water in the lower part of the pot and place the pot in the lower part for about 1 hour until it is well moistened.

5. Fertilize African Violets

If you regularly fertilize the African violet, it will give more flowers. You can use a special fertilizer for African violets and use it according to the recommended dosage. Also, after mixing the fertilizer with water, allow the chlorine in the water to evaporate overnight and the water temperature to reach room temperature, and then use it, because African violets do not like cold water and chlorine.

6. Change the African Violets Pot every Six Months to a Year

The soil you use in African violets pot should have very good drainage. This is very important. You can buy prepackaged soil mix for African violets or mix your own soil with 1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 perlite. In the second step, you should choose a pot with the right size, because all African violets should have a limited pot, so you should choose a pot whose diameter is 1/3 of the diameter of the plant.

In other words, the plant should be 3 times the diameter of the pot. The root of the African violet is 1/3 the diameter of the plant. A 10 cm-pot is enough, but measure again to be sure. By choosing the right pot, you will prevent root rot because if you use a large pot, too much moisture will reach the roots and as a result, the roots will die.

Note: If the African violet is wilting and its leaves are drooping, repot it as soon as possible and make sure the stem is covered with soil when you replant it. This will create a new root.

African violets are non-toxic to animals, so you can have African violets all over your home.

Infographic Of How To Care For African Violet

In this article, we tried to explain to you in an infographic the essential tips in the care of African violet, so that you can briefly and usefully learn the methods of caring for this plant.

In The End

In this article, we tried to provide you with the necessary information about the methods of caring for a African Violet.

However, if you have any questions regarding this indoor plant or you need to get advice from our houseplant experts, please share your questions with us through the comments section below.

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