GROWING TIPS FOR AFRICAN VIOLETS
LIGHT: Good filtered sunlight provides energy to produce abundant bloom. Growing African violets under fluorescent lights will produce fabulous results. The ultimate results are obtained when plants are grown approximately 8-12 inches from the light source using two 40-watt bulbs.
TEMPERATURE: African violets are people plants. If we are comfortable, so are they. African violets like the temperature 10 degrees cooler at night. They can tolerate high temperatures, but do not perform as well with the temperature above 85 degrees.
HUMIDITY: African violets prefer the humidity to be about 40 to 50%. Humidity can be raised in the vicinity by growing on pebble trays filled with water, or by misting with warm, distilled water. Mist only when plants are not exposed to sunlight, and not in the evening.
FEEDING AND WATERING: These two items of horticulture are combined as one. Constant feeding is recommended; that is, feed “weakly, weekly”. As a guideline use 1/4 teaspoon of fertilizer to a gallon of water. Watering should be done on a demand basis. Water only when the top of the soil is dry. If you have chlorinated water, let it stand overnight to let the chlorine evaporate before using. If you have softened water DO NOT use it to water your plants with. Use water from your hose outside and let it stand at room temperature for a few hours.
AIR: Good fresh air is essential for good growth. However, drafts will cause foliage to shift with the draft, resulting in irregular growth.
SOIL: African violets like loose porous soil. A soilless mix, as recommended by Cornell University, is very satisfactory. It consists of 3 parts peat moss, 2 parts coarse vermiculite and 1 part perlite. The pH should be kept within the range of 6-7 pH. Commercial products are readily available and can be lightened by adding perlite.
INSECTS AND DISEASES: When using pesticides and fungicides be sure to read and follow all directions carefully. Your garden center or nursery will have the chemicals that will control the problem you might have. Insects common to African violets are: Mites, Blossom Thrips, Leaf and Soil Mealy Bugs.
To learn more about growing African violets, join our society and enjoy our monthly meetings, newsletter (containing wonderful growing tips) and enjoy friendship within the association.