Many people take African Violets for granted. This hearty plant can provide you with most beautiful bloom all year round, with very minimal care. Some people get discouraged quickly after trying to care for African Violets because their plant does not bloom no matter how diligent they are in caring for their plant.
In order for your violet to produce beautiful flowers all year around three crucial things are needed: light, water and nutrition.
Keep Your African Violets In A Well Lit Place.
African violets need plentiful but not direct sunlight. You can place your violets in the window in rooms that face north, thus they will receive sufficient amount of light but will never be in the direct sunlight. If you would like to keep your violet in the rooms with window facing south keep them several feet away from the window itself. It would be the best if there is a window curtain in such rooms to soften the sunlight your violets receive.
Water Your Violets Regularly, But Do Not Over Water.
It is very important not to water your violets from the top, as some of the water may end up on the leaves, something African Violets do not handle well. The leaves will lose color around the spots where drops of water land and the plant may eventually die. If you have noticed these spots, you still can save your plant by starting to water it from the bottom. The watering from the bottom can be accomplished by placing a dish under the pot or using a planter that has a dish attached to the bottom. You can also purchase self-watering double planters (shown in the picture) with the porous inside piece. You can find these planters in your local Homedepot, Lowes or even your supermarket’s florist section.
It is sufficient to water the plants once a week if planted in a pot with a dish under it. If you decide to plant your violet in a double planter, once every two to three weeks will be enough.
One sign that your violet needs more water is when the leafs become limp and weak. Shortly after you water your violets, you will notice that leaves will perk up and will feel hard to the touch. The goal is to maintain this “perkiness” of the plant’s leafs to keep your violets healthy.
Keeping Your Violets Well Fed.
While African Violets are very hearty plants, if you do not replant them at least once a year, you will need to provide them with some extra nutrition as the plant exhausts nutrients from the soil it is planted in. There are variety of plant food you can find that is formulated specifically for African Violets. However one particular brand stands out: Schultz African Violet Plus Liquid Food Plant.
The reason this plant food works the best is that it comes in a liquid form. With 14 African Violets in our home, a 4 oz bottle of this solution will last us well over a year (if watering every 3 weeks). All you need to is to add 7 drops or 1/8 of a teaspoon of to one quart of water. It’s much easier to prepare the water ahead of time.
We always have on hand two gallons of water enriched with Schultz African Violet Plus Liquid Food Plant.
If you are making this feeding solution it is a good idea to mark the containers so no one confuses it with a drinking water. What is good for the plants can be dangerous to humans.
Update: It appears that Sultz African Violet liquid food plant is no longer produced hence an astronomical price at Amazon. Fortunately there are alternatives for your violets – African Violet Plant Food 8oz 11-40-20
What To Do If Your Violets Are Not Blooming.
Our friends are always surprised to see most of our African Violets blooming all year around. But it can happened that you have perfectly healthy plant, well watered and receiving plenty of light, yet it has been months since you seen your plant flowering.
When you think about any plant that produces flowers, it is to produce the seed- a sort of “species preservation” mechanism. While the only plants in our house that do not flower are the new plants that have not yet fully developed and reached the stage when they can flower. Many adult plants can go into a sort of a dormant state as far as flowering is concerned. If you want your violet to flower, you need to awaken that “species preservation” mechanism. It seems that plant will flower when it “feels” some threat. We have no problem to keep our plants flowering due to the fact that we propagate violets by cutting off the leaves. Therefore most of our plants are blooming very nicely and frequently.
If you have a healthy violet plant but it does not produces flowers you can do one of the following things. Try to cut off some older leaves on your plant. The older leafs are generally the largest ones. You can use these leafs to propagate a new plant. This cutting of the leaves seems to awaken the “species preservation” mechanism of the plants and you can see the flower buds appearing within a week or two.
If your plant is in a plastic container, you can squeeze it hard enough to loosen up the soil around the roots. This also seems to get the plants out of the dormant state and blooms will follow shortly.
One of the reasons we became so fascinated with violets was that we would pass them in our local supermarket and they did not look well and we always wanted to rescue them.
Our first two or three plants were purchased at $.99 per plant- just like the one we bought today, you see it in the photo on the left.
Next time you pass by the flower section of your supermarket, pay attention to African Violets. They are literally crying to be saved.