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African Violet Care | Grow Healthy African Violets

African Violet Care | Grow Healthy African Violets
13 votes, 3.69 avg. rating (74% score)

Should you withhold fertilizer when the African violet is in bloom? In my opinion this is poor practice. African violets need food when producing blossoms, and since the plant ideally should bloom continuously. It would severely deprive the plant if fertilizer were withheld.What soil mix should I use? I use a mixture of two parts sterilized soil, one part coarse perlite, and one part coarse vermiculite. Any purchased sterilized soil can be used. Perlite and vermiculite help keep the soil loose and porous.

The lower leaves turn soggy — should I take them off? It is a good practice to remove all leaves that have started to decay. It is a natural process for older leaves to die off. They will be replaced by new growth in the center of the plant. Any bottom leaves turning yellow or spotted should be removed.

What is wrong when the soil is wet but the plant seems limp? This may be an indication that the plant has been overwatered, and possibly crown rot has set in. There is not too much that can be done. You may be able to take off a healthy leaf or two to start a new plant, but the old plant may not live if the center crown has started to rot.

How often should I repot my African violet? It is beneficial to repot violets in fresh soil every year or two at most. Do not necessarily use a larger pot each time you repot.

What should be done with a plant that has developed a thick stem below the bottom leaves? This is usually called a neck. It can be taken care of by setting the plant deeper into the soil when you repot. Use the proper size pot, not one that is too large or too deep. If the “neck” is too high, carefully remove some of the old soil from around the violet’s roots, so it can be lowered further down into the pot. If the soil and roots are hard and compacted, and cannot be loosened, then a portion of the bottom of the root mass can be sliced off with a knife. Repot so that the lower layer of healthy green leaves rests on the soil line at the top of the pot.

Editor’s Note: This is a Yankee Classic article from January 1982. While, we are no longer able to respond to questions about African violets that are not covered within this article, you may find the answer you are seeking in the comment section below.

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15 Responses to African Violet Care | Grow Healthy African Violets

  1. Dennis April 28, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

    After blooming and petals dry out. What it’s the best way to handle these? Let them be or trim?

  2. dianna gay May 5, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

    Are selfwatering pots good to use

    • Brenda Darroch May 6, 2014 at 9:37 am #

      African violets can thrive in self-watering pots, but you will need to watch them to make sure they don’t get to wet and rot.

  3. Helen Mays May 25, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

    I have four violets that I transplanted into clay pots and used African violet soil. I keep them under florescent lights and lost my flowers. The soil is dry to the touch and I only water when it is, but I have tiny mushrooms growing now. The plants look great but I am worried about the mushrooms. I also have little flies on them. Never had them before. Please help!

  4. Theresa May 26, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    My violets have developed a mildew on the blooms.
    what do I do to control that?

    • Brenda Darroch May 28, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

      Hi Theresa,
      It sounds like your African violoets may have been given too much water. Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering.

  5. Kristin May 31, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    My African violets blooms are drooping and becoming weak..should I let them fall off or trim off. And do I trim just the blossom or down to the stem

    • Brenda Darroch June 2, 2014 at 9:14 am #

      Hi Kristin,
      Once the blooms start to die, it is best to pinch the stem off. Be careful not to disturb and new buds that are making their way up.

  6. Dimitris Savva June 9, 2014 at 3:36 am #

    My violets are growing so beautifully on my windows sill. I think it helps to talk to them a bit :)

  7. Shirlei July 11, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

    My VIOLETS DO very well in a room with a skylight until it gets hot where I live 100% or more I use air condoning but the leaves really droop I don’t have another place to put them house is mostly shaded help if u can?

  8. Brenda September 1, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    I have had my plant for a year. It is not blooming but I have lots of new leaf growth. Why is it not blooming? It is in the kitchen window, south facing, some protection from porch awning, I water from the bottom when dry. How do I get it to bloom again?

  9. LB September 7, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    I just watched a movie on TV that showed a persons planting an African Violet in the ground on a grave. I assumed that this type violet is strictly a potted plant….am I correct?

  10. DJ September 23, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    I’ve had various A.V. for years and not long ago I found one I thought was unique. The leaf edges were white and the flowers were white smallish with pale green edges. When I needed to grow another of these I took a leaf, rooted it and later had three plants from this leaf. One plant developed like the original, but the other two were different. One was a pale lavender larger petals and the second was smaller petals pale lavender with a hint of green around the flower petal edges. Does anyone know why?

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