Saintpaulia hybrids have been amongst the most popular indoor plants for decades!
Since I was a child I always had several of those cheerful little
plants on my window-sills. They are very easy to grow and come in so many different forms, colors and varieties.
Flower colors range from blue, red, pink,
purple to white. You can also get multi-colored flowers or plants with frilled or double flowers!
Miniature African Violets are also very pretty.
They are very compact with smaller foliage and flowers. You can also get
trailing African Violets that are just gorgeous in small hanging
Where To Grow African Violet Plants
Saintpaulias like bright, filtered sun light from spring until autumn.
During the winter they can tolerate direct sunlight. A bright east or
window is ideal. Temperatures should not drop below 59 degrees F.
Care And Maintenance
Saintpaulias benefit from a dormant phase during the winter. Keep the plants a bit cooler and drier for a few weeks.
These plants also light high humidity levels but avoid spraying the
foliage with water. Instead place the plants on a saucer that is filled
and water. This is important if you keep the plants on window-sill with
You should also remove wilted flower stems and leaves at the base. This
is not only for the looks, it will also keep molds at bay because they
dead material to feed on.
My preferred way for watering African violet plants is to stand them
into saucer that is filled with water. Lime free, soft water is best!
Allow the plant to soak up the water but don't keep the pot in water all the time. That will cause root rot and they will die!
If you water from the top make sure that you don't wet the leaves as this can cause brown spots on the foliage.
The soil should feel dry on top before you re-water your plants. The biggest mistake is to keep the soil too wet.
Feed Saintpaulias every two weeks with a weak liquid fertilizer. You can
use special African violet food if you want. If the plants grow too
foliage switch to a cactus fertilizer with less nitrogen instead.
Using a quarter strength of fertilizer every time you water also works very well.
African Violet Propagation
African violet propagation is fun because it is so easy. Propagating
Saintpaulias is also something that can easily done with kids.
Simply insert some leaf cuttings (with the stem) into some moist compost that is mixed
with sand. You can also use vermiculite for this purpose.
Place the pot in a transparent plastic bag and seal it. You can also cover the pot with a glass.
Keep the cuttings in a bright spot but away from direct sunlight. Temperature should be around 68-77 degrees F.
Within 4-6 weeks you will see little leaves emerging at the base of the
stem. Once the cuttings have rooted remove the plastic bag and add a
bit of fertilizer when you are watering.
After about six months you should have a flowering plant!
Repotting African Violets
Repotting might be needed every two years or when you feel that the
plant has outgrown its container. Best time for this procedure is the
Use a pot that is at least about 2 inches larger than the current
container. An all purpose potting mix is perfect for repotting
Put some compost in the bottom of the pot. After carefully removing the
rootball from the old pot insert it into the new container and refill
potting mix. Make sure the plant is centered and sits neither too high
or too low in the new pot.
Firm the compost carefully around the roots.
Water the plant until the water runs out at the bottom of the pot. Let
the compost dry out a bit before you water the plant again. That's it!
If you are interested in more detailed house plant care advice check out these books
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