How to Keep African Violets Blooming
Who doesn’t love the sight of an African violet, blooming on a windowsill in January? If you live in the north, it’s a treasured spot of color in the cold season – or any other. It’s easy to keep African violets blooming year round, if you keep a few simple rules in mind.
things you’ll need:
- A shallow, wide flowerpot
- A wide saucer
- A handful of pebbles or small stones
- Potting soil
- Watering can with narrow spout
- Put the pebbles or stones in the bottom of the pot before adding soil, to ensure good drainage. The stems and leaves of African violets rot easily if they’re constantly exposed to water.
- Add soil – Miracle Gro potting soil if you can afford it – you’ll be amazed at the results. It really does pay to buy good dirt (once you get used to the idea of buying dirt, period, since most of us spend money to get rid of the stuff!)
- Tuck your African violet into the dirt, without packing the soil too tightly. Make sure the pot you use gives the plant plenty of room to grow.
- Place the pot in a wide saucer. This will allow any excess water to drain out where it can evaporate and create humidity that the violet will love.
- Place the pot in a warm spot that gets plenty of indirect light. A windowsill with a southern exposure is ideal, especially if you have sheer window treatments, or a curtain you can pull back during the day. If there is too little light, an African violet won’t bloom. Too much, and it won’t be happy, either.
- Don’t overwater – allow soil to dry out between waterings. Use a watering can with a narrow spout, and focus the stream of water on the base of the plant, and not directly on the leaves and flowers. If an occasional leaf begins to yellow, pinch it off to stimulate new growth.
- African violets can bloom for months at a time. When blooms fade, pinch them off, and new ones will follow. The violet I’ve pictured here has been blooming nonstop since January, 2007!
- If your African violets go dormant occasionally, don’t worry. A pinch of fertilizer will jumpstart them in short order.