African Violets Tips and Care

African violets are more dependent on regular care than most other house plants. They "sulk" quite obviously when they are dry or cold. The plants flower best in bright light, but not in extreme heat and humidity. They bloom well in east or west windows or under fluorescent lights. The preferred daytime temperature is 72 degrees F. Night temperatures should not fall below 62 degrees F.

Water when the soil feels dry to the touch, but before it becomes hard. Never apply cold water. It can cause irregular-shaped, white-colored spots to form on the foliage. Use lukewarm water or fill your watering can after each watering and let it sit, so you will have room-temperature water on hand.

You may water African violets from either the top or the bottom. When watering from the top, keep water off the leaves and make sure the plant is watered deeply. A small amount of excess water should flow out of the drainage hole. Pour off the excess water. When watering from the bottom, remove pots from the water dish as soon as the soil surface shows moisture. Leaving the pot standing in water will cause the soil to become saturated, eliminating the air spaces that are essential for healthy root growth.

African violets need a regular supply of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, iron, manganese, and zinc. A liquid, African violet fertilizer (1-2-1 ratio) is easy to use and specially packaged. It's best to apply this fertilizer every two to four weeks according to the manufacturer's direction.


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