The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Success with African Violets


African violets are one of those plants that give, give and give. They come in a myriad of colors and styles, are virtually in continuous bloom and spawn plantlets like nobody’s business. You’ll have plants for everybody.

With only a few simple requirements, they will brighten up your home with dazzling color and help you through the winter blues.

Here are a few factoids I’ve discovered for successfully growing African Violets.

African violets are most comfortable at room temperature. When you feel comfortable, they feel comfortable. That’s about 70-85F.

African violets love lots of bright indirect light. The more light they get, the better blooms they will put out – a multitude of long lasting flowers. They cannot stand direct sunlight, which will scorch the leaves. Near a westward facing window is ideal. Move back and screen from direct sunlight with a curtain or shade.

Feeling Snug
African Violets bloom when they are feeling slightly pot bound. They prefer to be pot-bound. Always opt for the smaller pot when transplanting. They like that cramped feeling. If you transplant to a roomy pot, they will cease blooming until they reach a size where they start feeling cramped.

No wet feet or wet leaves
This is the biggest killer of African Violets. Blot off any water trapped in the leaves or crown to prevent rot.

African Violets are succulents and prefer to be on the dry side. The roots are very fine and need to breathe. Do not let the plant sit in water – drain off any excess water.

Watering and Feeding
Watering/feeding African Violets from the bottom is the way I find easiest. It keeps water off the crown & leaves. Water/Feed together about every 10 days or when the soil is dry to the touch. Here is my technique which has worked for me really well.

Milk Jug
Fill a container with clean water and set it aside for a couple days allowing it to dechlorinate and come to room temperature. You can re-purpose a milk jug. This water will be exclusively for your African Violet.

To the water, add about 10 drops of choice African Violet food.

Time for a bath
Prepare a bath for your African Violet by filling a pot about 1/3 full with the Food/Water solution and letting your plant soak for 1/2 hour. It will take up what it needs.

After plant has soaked in the food/water solution for 1/2 hour, discard any excess water from the pot and let water drain completely from the plant.

Air Circulation
Be sure water/food had completely drained from the plant and return plant to it’s home location. The plant will be good for at least 10 days. I let my plant sit up on this yellow laundry detergent cap inside a decorative pot. This allows plant to drain and air to circulate completely around the plant.

A little water down at the bottom of the white pot creates a little humidity which the plant also likes.

New Plants
Your African Violet will readily clone itself. You can easily separate the baby plantlettes you see growing in the crown. Remember to transplant to the smallest pot possible so they feel snug and cramped. This will promote flowering.

You can also propagate new plants from leaf cuttings. Simply cut off a leaf from the parent plant, and insert it into moist potting mix. Dip the leaf into rooting hormone, but not really necessary. You will have a new flowering plant in about 6 months.

Fulfilling just a few simple requirements, your African Violet will reward you with cheerful colorful blooms all year long.

Bright Indirect Light
Snug as a bug in the rug
Room Temperature
Feed/water every 10 days or when soil is dry
Keep crown/leaves dry
No wet feet or leaves
Good air circulation
Propagate by baby off shoots or leaf cuttings.

More blog posts by bathgate

Previous post: My Kitchen Took a Hitch

Next post: Art in Bloom: The Macy's Flower Show



Thank you so much for this advice Bathgate. I'm going to save it into my favorites. I usually lose any African Violets I've had in the past, but you've made me think I should try again, because I do love them. Thanks again :)

8 Feb, 2015


Thanks for all this information - good to have - I like to grow streptocarpus and have just had my first cutting grow a new leaf - !! I shall save all this info like Waddy - Jane

8 Feb, 2015


Very clear and concise instructions Paul,and very similar to the care of Orchids,as regards watering .I place pebbles in the bottom of pots,so I guess this would suffice for African Violets too..thanks for the info :o)

8 Feb, 2015


You are all welcome. Thanks for your comment. Waddy - I think it's certainly worth it to try again especially now that there are so many colors and styles available. Jane - I believe the streptocarpus is closely related and requires similar care - You are welcome.
Thanks Sandra - yes very similar to orchids - the pebbles would work fine - anything that prevents the plant from sitting in water and to drain. I use the yellow laundry detergent cap because it's just the right height for my plant and nobody will ever notice it down in there. Thank you. I'm just passing on information that an expert has given to me at a plant nursery:)

8 Feb, 2015


Thank B'gate .
I'll give them another try now , forearmed with that info !

8 Feb, 2015


Good Luck Driad :) You're welcome

8 Feb, 2015


Brilliant advice and well illustrated...! ;o)

8 Feb, 2015


Thanks Tracey :)

8 Feb, 2015


Thanks for the inf ... I haven't had much success with these. I seem to be able to keep them for a while but then they die off.
Now maybe I'll give them another go :o)

8 Feb, 2015


Oh you are welcome. I'm no expert either, I'm just passing along infor from a professional florist and from research. This is my first African Violet plant I've had for about one month. It's in constant bloom and looks great on my new kitchen counter top.

8 Feb, 2015


Good luck then ! :o)

8 Feb, 2015


So. Paul, you have convinced me to have Violets again. I do love them. But right now I have all these Amaryllis leaves going, and am running out of space unless I turn the art studio into a plant room. Your pics, as usual, are so beautiful! I go to your site just to look at the pics.

12 Feb, 2015


Hi Wells. I think you will find this plant very rewarding - it seems to smile back at you. Thank you so much for your kind words. :)

13 Feb, 2015

Add a comment

Recent posts by bathgate

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    28 Jan, 2014

  • Gardening with friends since
    9 Mar, 2012

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Oct, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    1 Feb, 2011

  • Gardening with friends since
    2 Jan, 2012

  • Gardening with friends since
    2 Nov, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 Aug, 2008