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African Violet (Saintpaulia)


African Violet

African Violet

Photo courtesy Michael Krefft/stock.xchng.

Every home has an African violet in it at some time. They seem to flourish for years and then give out without warning. They are favorites because they don't require a dormant period and can keep blooming year round. And you can find flowers in shades of purple, white and red.

Light: African violets prefer a spot with indirect sun all day, but will bloom with considerably less exposure. Morning light is better for them than hot, afternoon light.

Water: Keep the soil evenly moist, but not wet. Too wet and they'll rot. Too dry and they won't flower. Don't worry, you'll find a balance.

Fertilizer: Because they are such profuse bloomers, feed whenever you water. There are special African violet fertilizers, but any water soluble fertilizer for flowering houseplants would be fine.

Temperature: Typical house temperatures of 65 - 80̊F are perfect. They may slow down a bit in the heat of the summer, but then, so do you.

Additional Tips: Water from the bottom of the pot. African violets don't like to get their leaves wet. (How do they survive in nature?) There are special African violet pots that have a slow release reservoir that wicks water up from under the soil. These work well, but you can just as easily set your pot in a saucer of water until the water is absorbed.

Cold drafts will cause the flowers and buds to drop and intense direct sun will burn the leaves.

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