Lots of folks shy away from African Violets. Maybe because they are such a commonly found plant or maybe they just can’t keep them alive. Either way these are such beautiful and readily available plants there is no reason why you shouldn’t add a few to your collection.
African violets (or Saintpaulia) are native to parts of Kenya and Tanzania, well at least that’s where they were first spotted. Now you’re probably thinking tropical right? Actually they were growing in the mountains! Sadly, many of the native African violets are threatened due to loss of their natural habitat. What most of us grow now are hybrids of these native beauties.
- Light- bright indirect light is best for these plants, especially if you want to see those beautiful blooms year around.
- Water- room temp watering when the top 1-2 inches of the soil has dried out. I use the bottom watering method since the leaves DO NOT like to get wet. These plants do not like to sit in water so take care when watering from the bottom/water wicking that you don’t leave the plant in water for too long. I like to use small amounts of water so that I don’t allow my plant to sit in water.
- Humidity- these beauties love humidity and moderate temperatures so try to keep them away from drafts during the cooler months.
- Soil- I’ve found that they prefer a more coarse soil mixture. I make a mixture cactus soil and add plenty of perlite and a bit of orchid bark chips. Some people like to add vermiculite to the mix as well.
- Tips: keep the pot small and short they won’t need a deep/large pot. Even mature plants rarely need anything larger than a 6 inch pot. For the miniature variety nothing larger that 3 inch should be needed. Pinching blooms will encourage more blooms to grow. Remove sucker plants (baby plants) from the mother plant, these plants prefer having one crown.