African Violets have fine delicate root systems and their potting media should never be tightly packed. An ideal medium should contain at least half peat moss and half top soil, rich humus and perlite. Schultz’s Potting Soil Plus for African Violets is a perfect mixture for both new and well established plants.
African Violets can be propagated by division or by taking cuttings. Division can be performed once a plant has formed several crowns and gets too large for its container. Simply remove the new crown and plant it in a separate pot. Another method is to remove a large mature leaf from the plant, cover the top of a glassful of water with a piece of aluminium foil (like a drum) and puncture the foil with a sharp pencil. Then stick the leaf stem through this hole so the stem rests in the water and the leaf itself is on top of the foil. Roots will form in 2 to 4 weeks.
African Violets (Saintpaulias) are the most popular house plant in the world. Because of cross-breeding and hybridization, there are infinite variations in type, color and form of both flowers and foliage. An enthusiast could be the proud owner of hundreds of African Violets and not have two plants that are exactly alike.
While African Violets require good light, direct sunlight is not necessary. Direct sunlight (West or South window), when diffused, is an ideal exposure. Windows facing North or East provide favorable light conditions are preferable to those exposed to intense midday and afternoon sunshine during the summer.It is easy to tell when plants are receiving too much sun. Foliage turns yellow and leaf edges burn. Too little light produces lovely dark green foliage but few, if any, flowers.
To enhance the symmetry of your African Violet, a complete 360° rotation of the pot every month is recommended. An easy way to do this is to give plants a quarter turn each week, always turning in the same direction.
Watering and Fertilizing
Never use cold water on your African Violets. The water must be approximately room temperature. By drawing the water one day prior to use and allowing it to stand overnight in the same room as the plants, a water temperature conducive to growth will be achieved.
Watering can be done from either the top or the bottom depending on your own taste. One word of caution for both methods however is when watering from the top, care must be taken to avoid getting water on the foliage and into the plant’s crown. When watering from the bottom, occasional leaching of the soil (watering until the water drains clear from the soil) is encouraged in order to rid the soil of any excess salts that may damage the root system.
Feeding your African Violets with POW-R Caps 9-44-14 will aid in flowering as well as improving the overall health of the plant.
A dry atmosphere can be detrimental to the health of African Violets. Ways to provide humidity include: the daily use of a cold-mist humidifier or the placement of plants on a water-filled pebble tray. A pebble tray consists of a saucer filled with non-absorbent material such as pebbles or marble chips that is then filled with water to within half an inch of the top. The evaporation of the water from this tray will provide the plant with the necessary humidity.
A day time temperature of 23°C is fine; night temperatures should be around 18°C. Excessive heat will harm African Violets, so on hot summer days see that your plants occupy the coolest place possible. Likewise, extreme cold will damage plants, so in winter keep them away from cool windowpanes.