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As one of the perennial plants group of flowers, African violets grow and develop naturally in some areas of East Africa and some countries such as Kenya and Tanzania. It is quite easy to grow these violets at your home as long as you provide them with the right environment, nutrients, and medium to be able to develop well. In addition, if they receive all necessary factors, African violets also become beautiful purple flowers around the year even in cold days.
Below is the instruction to help you plant those African violets right at your home!
How to choose African Violets?
The first step is to choose an African violet. There are many types for you to make a decision, but remember that a few common types may be rare at some local shops. So, to be able to get more options of violet types, you should come to specialists.
If you want to grow African violets, then do not worry because these violets are very popular and there are even membership shows and clubs in many regions. To make it easier, you can come to the African Violet Society of America to find events, breeders, as well as local clubs.
When you buy an African violet, you should make choice of the one with a lot of flower buds, firm green leaves, and symmetrical shape. Make sure that African violets with pests or brown spots, and those with droopy and soft leaves are not what you want to buy.
One thing you should remember is that those with closed buds and some open flowers will stay in bloom for a longer time after buying.
Where to Grow African Violets
One of the main reasons to make African violets strictly indoor flowers in North America is that their leaves have to be dry. To be able to create the best blooms and color, you should grow your plants in bright and indirect light.
The place which is supposedly ideal to grow those violets is 3 feet away from a south- or west – facing window. If you put your plants right beside east- or north – facing windows, they will still develop but it is more difficult for them to bloom and their leaves will be spindly and thin.
If you can’t find a good position near the window, then you can make use of the 40 – watt fluorescent lights to shine and grow your flowers about 12 – 15 inches under the light.
As usual, they need to be provided with bright light in the summers and full sun in the winters. During the period from October to April, I place them near the east window to receive the sunshine. Meanwhile, from May to September, the plants are situated under fluorescents or in a north exposure. Otherwise, their leaves will certainly become totally dry under the harsh summer sun.
The ideal air temperature for your African violets is approximately 70 degrees F, so make sure that the temperature around your plants is not allowed to exceed 80 degrees or drop under 60 degrees.
Your African violets may suffer from the excessive heat, but they may be dead under cold weather. Therefore, if your violets are under cold climate, then you should put them in another place with enough warmth immediately.
Water African Violets
It is not easy to water African violets because they are quite picky. So you have to be especially careful as watering them. Making use of tepid or lukewarm water will help stand during 48 hours. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to use water to splash the foliage and water only at the base because just a small drop also can cause damages or spots to the foliage.
To be able to grow African violets and make them develop well, proper watering plays an important role. When the soil becomes lack of moisture, you need to add water. Make sure that your growing African violets do not dry out completely or stand in water. Sometimes you can do wick watering, but for those who are not familiar with growing African violets, it is not suggested as the best practice.
If you are a new learner or too busy, then the self – watering mini pot made by Window Garden is the best choice to help you water your plants. In addition, it is also accompanied by fiber soil enough for your pot and seedlings for your testing. Although it is not recommended for an adult African violet plant, it is excellent to use on a mini violet.
How to fertilize African Violets
The plant food that is soluble, high in phosphorous, and low in nitrogen is considered ideal for African violets. After I spread fertilizer with the Jack’s Classic 10-30-20 formula on African violets, I also provide it with water.
You can mix fertilizer at a quarter strength and make use of it every time you water. If you see the sign of paler leaf color and reduced flowering, it means that your growing African violets are provided with enough fertilizer.
Potting, Spacing and Troubleshooting
It is necessary for African violets to be grown in the potting mix which does not hold too much water and needs to drain quickly. To gain the best results, choose perlite- and peat – based, and loose mix. In general, many soil mixes for African violet intend to be too heavy and dense for appropriate root growth.
To be able to help flower bloom best, the diameter of your plant should be double or triple pots. For instance, you can put a 7 - 9" plant into a 3" pot or a 9-12" plant into a 4" pot. It is wise to pick up shallow pots so that they can make best root aeration and drainage. You are recommended to change your plant pot with a clean one with fresh soil once a year.
In addition to potting, spacing is also an important factor. It is essential to provide enough room for your plants which are not so close to others. Not only can spacing help more even growth but it also stops some diseases and pests from spreading quickly and easily. Therefore, if you want to prevent this and make your violets symmetrical, then eliminate any new plantlet or sucker around the stem.
Importantly, you have to check new plants carefully before making a decision because African violets are very likely to catch some common diseases and insects.
As the growing African violets are spent, you should pinch blooms from them, which will boost the development and more flowers will appear as a result. Above are some tips you can follow to grow African violets, so let’s give a try to grow them indoors. There are now various cultivars available at online as well as local garden centers.