African Violet Care | 9 Tips Every Gardener Should Know [Beginner Gardening]
- African violet
- Plant pot with saucer
- Small container
African violets are a popular houseplant and among those approved by NASA for improving indoor air quality. The lovely, purple flowers are also beneficial for one’s health as gazing at the colour triggers an adrenaline rush, which increases the flow of oxygen to the brain. The result is instant relaxation. African violets make ideal indoor plants as they are small and prefer indirect sunlight and even thrive in artificial light. Moreover, if you have dogs or cats at home, the leaves and flowers of African violet plants are non-toxic to pets, making them a safe option for a blooming indoor plant.
They are relatively easy to look after as long as you don’t overwater them. Here, I will share African violet care tips that you can use to grow them easily in your home and to propagate more plants from the one you have.
African violets come in 2 main categories – rosette and trailing. Rosette African violets have a central stem from which the leaves grow outward in a circular pattern. The flowers appear in the centre of the rosette. The trailing variety has several stems growing from the roots and appear to grow sideways. The flowers grow around each crown. Besides purple, some varieties of African violets also have red, white, blue and pink blooms.
Step 1: African violet care tips
African violets do well in well-drained and slightly acidic soil. The soil should be slightly moist, so you should water it only when the top layer looks dry. Also, when watering African violets, pour water directly on the soil without moistening the leaves.
When you see a second stem beginning to grow sideways from the plant, you should cut the new growth from the original pot to keep the plant healthy.
Step 2: How to transplant an African violet
When the bottom part of the plant’s stem thickens and leaves fall or dry up, leaving a visible neck or gap, it’s time to repot the plant. Press the sides of the plant pot to loosen the soil. Then, gently remove the plant from the pot. If the roots and soil are compacted and do not loosen when you press around them, you can slice or cut off a portion of the root mass at the bottom before you plant it.
Step 3: Make a hole in the middle of the pot
Take a bigger pot and fill it with soil. To ensure that the soil drains well, you can mix vermiculite or perlite into the soil mix. (I used 2 parts soil with 1 part of vermiculite and 1 part of perlite). Make a hole in the centre for placing the African violet plant.
Step 4: Plant the African violet
If you are repotting a plant with a visible neck, you should push the stem down into the soil until the leaves are almost touching the soil line. The leaves should fall over the sides of the pot so that they do not get wet when you water the soil.
Step 5: How to prune and take cuttings from African violet plants
Examine the plant to see the size and position of the leaves. The outermost leaves, which usually are the largest, will also be the oldest. You should choose medium-sized leaves closer to the central stem rather than bigger, older ones for cuttings. Use your nails to pinch the base of the leaves that attaches it to the stem to take a cutting. Place the cuttings in a small container with water and wait until roots grow before transplanting them into pots.
Step 6: Plant the African violet cuttings
Once the propagated leaves develop new roots, you can plant them in a pot. Use a soil mixture with good drainage and a pot with a drainage hole as waterlogging will cause the roots to rot. Choose a pot that is around 1/3rd the diameter of the plant’s leaf spread so that the leaves can spread comfortably without coming into contact with the soil.
Step 7: How to look after African violets
You should remove dead leaves from the African violet plant as soon as you notice them. That way, the velvety leaves will look lush, and the plant will direct all its energy on producing new leaves. You should also repot an African violet plant once a year or at least once in two years to keep it healthy. Feed the plant with fertiliser at least twice a year to encourage flowering.
Step 8: Tips for watering African violets
African violets prefer soil that is dry or slightly moist. It is enough to water the plant once or twice a week. Always water directly on the surface of the soil, close to the bottom of the stem. You can lift the bottom layer of the leaves and use a can with a spout to water the soil. If the leaves of the African violet plant get wet, they will rot.
Self-watering pots are an ideal solution for African violets if you are not sure how often to water. You can refill the water once the water chamber is empty, and the top layer of soil is dry.
If overwatering causes the plant to rot, you can try to cut a few healthy leaves from the plant and propagate them to make new plants.
Step 9: African violet sunlight requirements
African violets cannot stand direct sunlight. If you place them in an area where the sun falls on them, the plant will dry up entirely and die. You can place them in a bright area indoors or in a shaded part of the garden where they get indirect light.