How to care for African Violets??

We want to get both my Mother & Mother in Law an African Violet for Mother’s Day. Are they hard to care for? What kind of light do they need? Thanks in advance.

Hi Tom,

I think African Violets make great gifts for Mother’s Day. There are a few things you need to do to ensure they grow well and bloom often.

African Violets  do best and flower more in bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light., close to an east-facing window is ideal. When the light is too low, the leaves turn dark green, lose their plump appearance, and produce very few flowers. The leaves turn a pale yellow-green and the flowers fade quickly when there is too much light.

Allow the top 1″- 2″ of soil to dry out before watering. Avoid using water that has passed through a softener (too salty) or water containing chlorine or fluoride. Always water African Violet plants from the bottom to prevent water getting on the leaves. Remove any excess water that is still in the saucer after 15 minutes.

Special fertilizer for African Violet houseplants is available wherever plants are sold. In a pinch, you can use any balanced, soluble, houseplant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Fertilize African Violet Plants monthly when the plant is actively growing. Over-fertilizing causes leaf tip burn, poor flower production, leaf cracks, and may even kill an African Violet Plant

Temperature: African Violets do well in temperatures 75-80 degrees during the day and about 10 degrees cooler at night. Keep African Violet Plants away from cold drafts and heating vents.

Quickly removing dead blooms and stems from African Violet Plants encourages flower growth. Keeping the soil of African Violet houseplants on the dry side helps the plant bloom more often.

African Violet Plants like a rich, airy, potting medium. Special African Violet soil is available at most garden centers. African Violets should be re-potted every 6-12 months using fresh soil to prevent unwanted salt build-up.