Newbie Looking To Love African Violets...But I Need Advice!

uniquelydivine(6)September 14, 2012

Hi everyone,

I love african violets but I just wanted your advice on care, etc. I have questions and would really appreciate everyone's recommendations/insight so I can make sure I do the right thing in taking care of these beauties. So here goes:

Purchasing: I want to purchase the violet from a local plant shop. It's a very good shop and I've actually bought some of my plants from them. Is that fine or should I go to a store that specializes in violets? I'm not sure they exist but I live in NYC so maybe you all may have recommendations on where I can get them.

Light: I read that they like indirect sunlight. Is this true? I'm not sure what direction my window is facing (I just can't figure it out! lol), so I don't have that information. I also wanted to know if it will survive at work (I am in a cubicle and the only source of light would be artificial lighting). It is also quite cool inside. Will they do fine in that environment?

Water: I've read so many opinions on water so I don't know what the best approach to watering African Violets would be.

Is it best to water from the bottom every other day? Or should it be once a week?

Blooming: Do they bloom all year round?

Repotting: Should I repot the plant once I buy it from the store? Can it stay in the nursery pot forever? I'm guessing the nursery pots for AV's are usually 2 inches.

Plant food: Is it ok to use the plant food every time I water? I would be using 1/4 of liquid plant food per gallon of water. Is that fine? Can I use the plant food mixture if I have the violet at work (I'm asking because it won't be getting any natural light).

Sorry for asking so many questions but I just want to make sure I do the right thing.


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Purchasing: A common favorite More for your area purchasing with some of your other questions.

Blooming: No they wont bloom 365 days a year all plants need a rest time or a dormant stage but if lighting as asked in another question is ideal most AV's could bloom as long as 9-10 months of the year

Plant food: Anyone would need to know the liquid plant food by name you plan on using. The amounts per gallon you mentioned seems to high for an AV required growing to me as I use X amount of drops of food per gallon of water.

Re-potting: My own rule is if I didn't make the soil then the plant goes in a soil I made as soon as possible. Then about every third year more or less I again re-pot an AV into the same sized pot it grew it in.
It's not the age of an AV Some AV's will need four inch pot for there entire life others would need smaller and some may need a six inch pot. Common sizes for your local area stores would be 4 inch pots or two inch.

Watering: I cheat the drip catching dish and/or the wick by use of SWC ( self watering containers)Watering mine is sometimes changing I avg once a week,less often at times depending on the AV plant needs and forgiveness level.

Light: Your office cubical.... in comparison I have bright indirect to bright filtering light inside home settings ...... Anyone ?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 12:29AM
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I would think that a violet from a local plant shop would be fine, especially if you've had good results with other plants you have gotten from there.

The biggest risk from where you get your violets is insect pests which could, ultimately, either destroy your plant or mar it's bloom til it no longer is a source of beauty for you.

For that reason, I typically, order my violets from the growers themselves, as they have a vested interest in keeping their plants free from pests, ... but I would think that a plant shop would do as well. Just avoid WalMart, Home Depot, groceries, and the like. Their plants are almost always compromised.

Violets will do well with adequate sunlight (being next to a window that gets sunlight streaming in at some point in the day should be fine). You can also grow violets with fluorescent light. That's probably what you have in your office, but you might have to supplement with your our light fixture.

Violets like the temperature we like. If it's comfortable for you, it's probably comfortable for them.

Water African Violets when they need it. You can't really go on a schedule because too much water ... is the easiest way to kill a violet. Water the soil (from the top or the bottom) when the top of the soil dries out. Avoid having the soil become soggy. It's actually better to underwater than to overwater in the case of AV's.

Some few violets provide almost year-long blooms, when properly cared for, but you can ensure having consistent blooms by having more than one plant. The more, the merrier (to a point).

Your fertilization plan sounds viable, as long as you remember that violets need the right amount ... of the right kind of fertilizer.

Finally, on repotting, ... just make sure that you keep the pot diameter about 1/3 the size of the plant's leaf-spread. Too large of a pot will put stress on your violet and can kill it. Violets prefer their roots to be crowded.

For more good information on growing AV's, see the thread linked below ... (I've paraphrased the title ... )

Here is a link that might be useful: Is it really possible to grow great African Violets ... ???

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 9:16AM
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Thanks for answering.

So just to clarify:

1. I can purchase from a plant shop
2. I can keep the violet in the pot in comes in
3. I can feed it as soon as I buy it (I'm using Dyna Grow "Gro") and its 1/4 teaspoon per gallon
4. I should ONLY water when the soil gets a little dry
5. I can water from the bottom
4. I can keep it at work under artificial light (the light will be on 24/7)
5. Although where I work is cool (air conditioner and can get cold), the AV will be fine.

Should I use rocks to raise the humidity?

Any additional advice is appreciated.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 1:42PM
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2)Not my preference I plead to change soil ASAP
3)Sounds good
4)When one or more leaves look a little more droopy than others watering may be needed no fret we all find our best time to water habit
6)Yes but I'm uncertain about lighting 24/7 at 365.25 days
7) AC temps. True whats comfortable for you is comfortable for AV's Also meaning temps that are cold to you could also be to cold for an AV

Should I use rocks to raise the humidity?

Molecules are very small but yet they are still so much fun, or if you get bored reading this your AV will probably do okay in an office cubical setting.


Relative humidity expresses how much of the energy available for evaporation has been used to "free" liquid water molecules from their neighbors. A relative humidity of 50% means half the available energy has been used to evaporate water from the ground, streams, lakes or rocks you plan on using and 50% is still available to do more evaporation.

As long as there is "always" water in the rocks then added question Should I use rocks to raise the humidity? is: Rocks alone wont change humidity. YES you could but please add water to them.

Small problem is the warmer the rock and water area is causes evaporation of water faster than a colder rock area.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:05AM
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