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Autumn Oak Lane: African Violets 101

Updated: Oct 19, 2020

Oh, to my newfound love of African Violets...

There are many steps to taking care of an African Violet once you get the watering schedule down pat -- it's half the battle. Taking care of these fine little beauties is quite fun and simple when you give them the right lighting and humidity.

From the standard 3” pots that can sit in a terracotta pot to the trailing semi-miniatures, there are many varieties to collect and propagate.

1. Lighting

African Violets like indirect bright light. If you leave them by the window in direct light they will scorch in the sun. They need 14-18+ hours of light a day to thrive. You will know if the leaves are in the sun too much when they turn from medium green to light green, and if they are getting too little light they will revert from medium green to deep green and then to almost blackish-green. This happens because the cells are trying to compensate for light.

2. Humidity

They like humidity and if they are too dry the leaves will wilt and sag over the pot. If you have a bathroom with bright light, they will love that environment.

3. Temperature

African Violets like a temperature range of 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep them away from cold windows as the draft can damage the leaves.

4. Watering

This is perhaps the No. 1 reason why people are having success with owning African Violets. Overwatering will kill the plant if not taken care of and repotted ASAP. The excess water will lead to root rot caused by a fungal infection in the soil that thrives off of anaerobic states when oxygen can’t penetrate the soil. Also, use room temperature water or warm water when watering because the leaves will shock and wilt in cold water. You should water from the bottom of the pot up either through a wick or using a saucer that came with the pot. You can water from the top down, but you have to be careful about not causing leaf burn. The sun will magnify the heat if there are water droplets on the leaves and sunlight hits them. The sunspot is irreversible and will stay for the lifetime of the leaf petiole.

5. Soil

AVs like specific soil. They thrive in 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 perlite and vermiculite. They like organic soil matter and good drainage. The soil needs to allow for good airflow.

6. Maintenance

Set up a weekly schedule to fertilize twice a month and water weekly.

7. Fertilizer

They like a specific type of fertilizer made of nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron.


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