One of the most popular houseplants in the world, it’s easy to see why people love African violets. These small, low growing plants bloom throughout the year, and can be found in a variety of colors and leaf forms.
African violets are notable for their rosette of fuzzy, thick leaves and flowers that bloom just above their evergreen foliage. They also have a reputation for being difficult to care for, but don’t let this put you off.
With a few simple rules, your African violets should thrive! In fact, you can keep these gradually growing plants in bloom throughout the year. In our article, we’ll tell you how to do just that!
Types Of African Violets
S. ionantha was the original name for African violets, and they were first introduced in Germany in 1893. This was soon followed by the S. confusa that was introduced when a grower at the nursery spotted slight differences in some of the plants.
Thousands of varieties have been produced since! Nowadays, African violets come in single and double flowers, and a variety of shapes. They are also available in single crown and multi-crown varieties, and trailing plants. Let’s take a look at some of these varieties.
- Hawaiian Pearl: This is a standard size plant with dark green foliage. It has a semi-double flower in the shape of a star. This is an ivory flower with a dark rose or dark lavender band.
- Little Maya: This flower has dark green foliage and deep crimson flowers.
- Lonestar Snowstorm: This African violet has white frilled flowers and variegated leaves.
- Lyon’s Lavender Magic: This is a standard size plant with medium green foliage. The flowers are star-shaped, and are light purple and white.
- Persian Prince: This is a miniature plant with scalloped medium green leaves and semi-double dark purple flowers.
- Summer Twilight: This flower has frilly, lilac flowers with a white edged border and variegated leaves.
Sometimes confused with the African violet is the Gloxinia. If you’re a fan of African violets, then you may also enjoy the Streptocarpus species or the Goldfish plant, which are related to the African violet.
How To Care For African Violets?
African violets do well in bright and warm conditions. You should avoid water from coming into contact with their leaves or this will result in brown spots.
As soon as you see dead leaves and flowers you need to remove them to promote healthier growth. You should also check the soil regularly for excess moisture as this will promote rot.
Finding the right balance is key to growing houseplants, and you must ensure that the different factors of their cultivation are evenly distributed.
These plants need to be kept in most conditions to avoid them drying out, but they still need exposure to fresh breezes so their conditions are not too humid, and they need exposure to sunlight without the tips of their leaves being damaged.
However, if your African violets do sustain some damage that’s okay, it’s all part of the process.
While African violets like bright environments, they don’t do well in direct sunlight. They are often grown under fluorescent lights that are positioned 12 to 15 inches above their leaves.
If the leaves turn green then you need to reduce the amount of light they are receiving. But if the leaves are dark green or thin then they need some more light.
A well-drained potting mix is crucial for African violets. Lackluster drainage can cause the roots to rot. The plant will become waterlogged and start shedding leaves. Therefore, it’s important that an African violet isn’t exposed to standing water for too long.
Use warm water to keep soil moist and conditions humid. Make sure water doesn’t come into contact with the leaves, as this can cause damage. A light misting will do. You should water from below the plant, or insert the water spout into the soil.
Temperature And Humidity
African violets do well in humid and warm conditions, particularly 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature should never fall under 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also try to keep an African violet away from any drafts.
You should feed your African violet with fertilizer every two weeks during the summer and spring. To find out the correct amount, consult the product label instructions.
How To Encourage African Violets To Bloom?
African violets are known for showing off their stunning blooms, and with the right care they can bloom throughout the year.
With the correct fertilizer, humidity, light, soil, and water, and protection from diseases and pests, then you will have a healthy, thriving plant. While African violets need to be cozy in their pots, they shouldn’t be root bound.
This is when they begin blooming and flowering for an extended period of time. When the flowers are done blooming, you must deadhead them to promote more flowering. You should see new blooms in around 6 weeks!
Common Issues With African Violets
Plants Not Blooming
If your African violet is struggling to bloom, this is probably because it’s getting insufficient light, or the humidity and temperature are off.
Put the plant in indirect, bright lighting or under fluorescent lighting and make sure the temperature in the room is 70 degrees Fahrenheit at a minimum.
Spots Appearing On Leaves
African violets do not do well when their leaves are wet, and this can lead to spots developing. This is why you should water your plant from the bottom.
We hope our article has helped caring for this beloved houseplant a little easier! Although they can be a little challenging, caring for these beautiful plants is so worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do African Violets Live?
With the right care, an African violet can live for about 20 years, and even as long as 50 years!
How Do You Clean An African Violet?
African violets have fuzzy leaves that do not like to be wet. However, like other plants, their leaves get dirty and dusty from time to time. To clean them, just gently brush them with a soft-bristled brush.
Can You Touch The Leaves Of An African Violet?
While you can carefully brush them with a soft-bristled brush, you should avoid handling or touching their leaves.