WELCOME HOME - One of the first mistakes many people make after bringing new plants home, be it shipped from a greenhouse far away or the local supermarket, is to immediately repot them. THIS IS NOT A GOOD PRACTICE! Plants need a chance to adjust to new surroundings, light, temperatures, humidity, any change in condition before attempting to repot. A good rule of thumb is to wait 4 weeks before repotting. When you are ready, refer to the section on "Potting" for a very important message!
LIGHTING - In our greenhouses, plants are bred, propagated, and grown in both natural light and fluorescent light. We find that plants grown under fluorescent lighting tend to have a more vivid color and larger blooms. Variegated foliage is more intensified, too.
WATERING - Improper watering is one of the most common reasons for failure of African violets. Always use room temperature water, watering only when the top of the soil feels slightly dry to the touch. Use water that is fit for drinking. Never use water that has been through a softener. Watering may be from the top or bottom, by wicking, or you may wish to choose one of the many self- watering pots available today. Never allow plants to stand in water after the soil has taken up what it can hold. After 15 to 20 minutes pour off any water that is left in the saucer. Violets do not like wet feet!
TEMPERATURE & HUMIDITY - The ideal temperature is 65 to 70 degrees at night with a 5 to 10 degree rise during the day. Temperatures below 60 degrees for any extended period will slow the growth. If it is too high, plants will grow sappy and spindly, with too few blooms which drop before gaining good size. Better a bit cool than to hot.
FEEDING - Many times people ask "Why aren't my violets blooming?" And our first response is "Are you feeding your plants?" Either lack of fertilizer or too infrequent fertilizing is one of the reasons for lack of blossoms, blooms small in size and foliage that is pale or light green. When using soiless mixes, as most growers do today, it is necessary to use a diluted fertilizer solution each time the plant is watered. We recommend using a well-balanced fertilizer such as 15-30-15 at the rate of 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of water each and every time you water. Do not think because a little fertilizer makes them bloom nicely, more will make them even better! Excess fertilizer will burn the roots and may cause hard, brittle, foliage.
POTTING - The majority of growers today use "soiless" potting mixes. These mixes are light and porous, providing good drainage and allowing easy root penetration. Violets and most houseplants do well in these mixes. It should be sterilized to eliminate harmful bacteria that could cause problems later on. If you do not make your own mix, buy one made for African violets. Avoid heavy mixes as these have poor drainage and can become compressed and hard, staying wet and eventually rotting the root system of your plant.
GROOMING - Keep your plants clean! Remove dead leaves and faded blossoms. Just like the knick knacks around your home, plants gather dust. Use a soft brush or soft damp sponge to gently remove dust and lint. Every 4 to 6 weeks a gentle washing of the leaves using a weak stream of tepid water will make for a happy plant. Remove excess water by patting dry with tissues. Do not expose to direct sunlight or drafts while foliage is wet. Remove "suckers" (those little plantlets that form where the leaf stem is attached to the trunk) before they get big and misshape the plant; except on trailing violets.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT AFRICAN VIOLETS AND THEIR CULTURE JOIN THE AFRICAN VIOLET SOCIETY OF AMERICA!