A healthy balance of artificial or filtered natural lighting and the correct amounts of light exposure result in full-bodied, profusely flowering African violets. African violets grown in less than optimal lighting conditions are smaller, produce fewer flowers and have sickly-looking foliage. The health of the violet, the appearance of its foliage and the amounts of flowers produced are all directly related to proper lighting. Growing robust, vibrant African violets is possible when the right lighting is provided.
African violets situated to receive indirect sunlight for at least eight to 12 hours daily produce more blooms than those in areas that get insufficient amounts of light; up to 16 hours of light is even better. Direct sunlight is not necessary. Place the violet within three feet of a window, moving it out of the sun during the most intense heat of the day. If it is not possible to move the violet, hang thin curtains over the window to help diffuse the strength of the sun and avoid damaging the plant. Allow the violet to receive eight hours of darkness, which is also necessary for the plant to produce flowers.
Manufactured plant-growth light bulbs are widely available in hardware, gardening and department stores. While regular, or standard, incandescent lighting alone does not provide the full spectrum of light necessary and can produce too much heat, there are specially designed incandescent lights intended for use with houseplants that work well with African violets. For optimal results, position the lights within 12 to 14 inches of the violets. Maximize blooming potential by setting a timer to make sure that the violets receive at least 12 to 16 hours of light daily, as well as the necessary hours of darkness.
Fluorescent bulbs manufactured in wattage strengths especially suited for plant growth are readily available. The rays emitted by these bulbs stimulate African violets to produce abundant, vibrantly colored blooms. Suspend the lights above the African violets at a distance of approximately 12 to 15 inches from the plants. To ensure that the violets receive 12 to 16 hours of light each day and the required hours of darkness, purchase a timer to regulate the lighting appliance.