An African Violet is one of the easiest flowering houseplants to own. Therefore, this makes them a popular with black-thumbs and folks that may not have lots of time or energy to care for a plant. It’s easy to see if the plant is in need of water, due to the clear glass water reservoir. And with a good initial set-up and some minor care, African Violets will bloom ten months out of the year.
Procuring an African Violet is convenient and low cost. I always goes to the indoor plant section of the Big Box Depot store where the price for one is around $2.50.
How to care for your African Violet:
African Violets require a special acidic soil that must be kept moist. Because of this, a normal growing pot is not recommended. There are two types of pots: one type uses capillary action via a wick within the soil and a pot-within-a-pot soaking in water. I created the latter with a glass bowel, decorative rocks and a terracotta pot.
During the summer months African Violets can be moved outdoors in a partly-sunny location. When the temperatures get below 50F it’s time to bring them inside. Place them in a South or West window for the most available sunlight. Most flowering plants also require a dark period to bloom. Make sure there are no nightlights in the vicinity.
African Violets do not like drafts either, hence keep them away from doors, vents, space heaters and fans.
When it comes to watering, there’s certainly nothing easier than an African Violet. Both type pots have a reservoir that only needs refilling with quality, non-softened water. No guesswork involved.
To help maintain the flowering of the plant, be sure to give is a dose of liquid fertilizer according to the labels directions.
African Violets can bloom 10 months out of the year. Care is the key to keeping it in bloom.
Maintaining a good watering schedule is important. They can go a few days being empty, and it is ok to do that periodically, just not to “droop” status. If the whole plant is drooping, water from above and fully soak pot to revive, careful not to wet leaves.
Always use good water. African Violets like it a bit more acidic and my Midwestern water is alkaline. Consequently, bottled or filtered water works well, but room temperature, melted snow is slightly acidic and a better choice if available.
Rinse off the rocks and container, monthly to avoid fungus (green) which may grow in the water, or the pot will develop a white film on it, due to mineral build-up. An old toothbrush works without using any soap. It’s OK to let a bit of water to run through the pot, as it rinses the mineral salts thru the soil and out the sides of pot, just keep the leaves as dry as possible.
Prune off the dead flowers with a scissors, don’t pull. Just trim the individual dead flower, as the rest of the main stem might still be blooming. This steps-up additional flower production for the plant.
Remember, it is seriously stressful for the plant to flower (think pregnancy!) Therefore, after a good run of blooming, the plant may chill, and just be green for awhile. Be happy with that, and anticipate blooms after a short rest. Generally, stores sell these in bloom so people would buy them. That means the non-blooming rest period may come sooner than you expected.
Prune off any bad looking leaves at anytime with scissors, don’t pull at them. The leaves that rest on the pot may get damaged/bent with age, promptly remove them if this happens.
Talk to your African Violet, it likes to listen to your problems… (it certainly also wants your CO2)