This elegant beauty is sure to brighten your indoor garden with minimal care.

A long time favorite of indoor gardeners, the African violet continues to grow in popularity. Just provide needed water, sufficient light and protect them from chills and you will be rewarded with healthy, flowering plants.

Grow African violets in a brightly lit, warm location free of hot and cold drafts. If you’re warm enough, your plants will be, too. Move the plants back from cold windows in the winter and never trap them between the curtain or blind and window where temperatures are much colder. Watch for wilting and slow growth if you suspect your plants are too cold.

Plants growing near an unobstructed brightly lit window usually receive sufficient light. Turn plants often so each side receives needed sunlight to encourage even growth.

Supplement natural sunlight with artificial lights if your plants fail to bloom or are paler than normal and leggy. Use grow lights that emit both the red and blue spectrums of light to encourage flowering and healthy growth. Place the lights about 12 inches above the plants and leave them on for no more than 16 hours at a time.

Water plants thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist. Don’t overwater African violets as they do not tolerate soggy soil.  Use room temperature water and avoid getting cold water on the leaves. This can cause spotting. Or, water the plants from below. Set the potted plant in a container of water. After the plant has absorbed enough water to moisten the soil, usually within 30 minutes, return it to its spot in your indoor garden.

Fertilize actively growing plants with an African violet or other flowering houseplant food.  Read and follow label directions for the rate and timing of applications. 

Leach the potting mix several times a year to wash excess water and fertilizer salts out of the soil and away from the plant’s roots. Simply water from above with room temperature water until the excess drains out the bottom. Wait 20 minutes and repeat two more times. And as always avoid getting water on the leaves.

Make this the winter you lighten your mood and brighten your indoor décor with a few flowering African violets.

 

African Violet at a Glance

Name: African violet (Saintpaulia)

Size: 2 to 3” (miniatures) to 8 to 12” (standard) in diameter

Light: Bright light – near a sunny window or under artificial lights

Water: Thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist but not soggy wet. Water from below or use tepid water and avoid getting leaves wet

Fertilizer: When actively growing with an African violet fertilizer

Soil: African violet potting mix

 

Written by, gardening expert, Melinda Myers.  Each month Melinda will feature a low maintenance plant perfect for beginning and experienced gardeners looking for attractive easy care plants.  Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience.  She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s Low Maintenance Plant of the Month with you!