Thursday, May 12, 2016

How to Care for African Violets

The burst of color from African violet flowers can really brighten up your home and perk up your spirits.  Is your thumb more brown than green?  Not to worry, African violet care is very easy.

Read on to learn the best tips to care for African violets.

How to Grow Beautiful African Violets

(This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  I will be compensated when you make a purchase using these links.)

African violet
My African Violet
It's easy to Grow and care for African violets with these seven tips.
Pin This Post For Later:  Seven Tips for African Violet Care

Here's a nine-minute video that will show you how I care for my African violets.

Watch My African Violet Care Video

Seven Tips for African Violet Care

African violets like diffused, bright light.  I have them in rooms with either a southern or a western exposure.  That's not to say that you can't grow them in other sunlight exposures, but these work beautifully for me.  It's best not to put your plants on a window sill.  Try tables placed near windows, but not directly on the sill.

African violets prefer stable temperatures from 65 to 75 degrees F and the nighttime temperature on a windowsill may be too cool for them.

Water from below.  Plant African violets in pots that encourage watering from below.  The pots I prefer most come in two parts having an outside ceramic pot with an unglazed pottery insert.  This allows for water placed in the base of the glazed outside bowl to be slowly absorbed through the unglazed pot holding the plant and the soil.

My pots work beautifully.  You can see how big and healthy my African violet is. Watering becomes a no-brainer activity with pots like these.  Every couple of weeks I check to see if all the water has been absorbed and if it has, I'll add more to the glazed pot.

An African violet pot
The Perfect African Violet Pot
Use African violet soil.  The soil used for my African violets is special African violet soil available in bags commercially. You can find suggestions for mixtures of soil to use with African violets on the Internet, but you will grow beautiful African violets with the soil you can buy at the local garden center or Home Depot.

Fertilize occasionally.  There is special African violet fertilizer available as well, but I don't bother with it.  Three or four times a year, I give all of my houseplants a good watering with Miracle Grow 10-10-10 water-soluble fertilizer.  The African violets get a dose at that time.  That's it.

Groom as needed.  African violets require occasional grooming.  When the blooms fade and dry out, as you see in the picture below, just pull them off.

Groom your African violet
Faded Blooms Needing Removal

Some of the leaves around the base of the plant will wilt and droop.  Those should be pulled out and discarded.

Remove dead African violet leaves
Droopy Leaves Need to Be Removed

A crowded African violet plant
African Violet Needs Re-potting

Re-pot when needed.  Once a year, assess whether your plants need re-potting.  The African violet in the pot above definitely needs re-potting.  It looks like it has had little baby African violets.  I'll need to pull it out of the pot get the full picture.  All I need is a bag of African violet soil and a new pot to get started.  I am ready to go.

Use African violet soil
Re-Potting Requires New Soil and a Pot
I spread newspaper on my kitchen island and pulled the African violet plant out of its pot.  The roots told me it was definitely time to re-pot this plant.

Repot root bound African violets
Root Bound African Violet

Next, I looked at the base of the plant and saw the main plant and two additional plants, one just a tiny baby plant.

A bonus African violet
Baby African Violets
I prepared a pot for each of the plants.  The little baby plant is in a small starter pot.  It will need a bit of attention to be sure it thrives. 

I filled each pot with new African violet soil and pressed the soil firmly around the plant.   Don't try to use any of the old soil because it is really worn out and needs to be discarded.

The result...three African violet plants from one.

Repotted African violets

One for me, one to gift and one to grow!  You can't beat that with a stick!

African violets for your home...a simple, yet beautiful thing.

Follow these simple steps for growing and caring for African violets and you will be rewarded with colorful indoor blooms.

Essentials for African Violet Care 

Green African Violet Pots Like Mine
Blue African Violet Pots Like Mine
4 Quart Organic African Violet Soil
African Violet Fertilizer

Read More:  Winter Care for Orchids and African Violets

Before you go...Never miss a Just One Donna post by signing up to receive posts in your email or your favorite RSS feed.  Links are in the sidebar.


  1. How do I get them to bloom? Where can I go to order more plants?

    1. Follow the steps as I described above and your African violets will bloom. Just like any flowering plant, there is usually a little rest period after a bloom. I can't answer the question about where to go to order more plants because I don't know where you are from. My best suggestion is to try a local flower shop or garden center.

  2. Great tips Donna! I've always wanted to give African Violets a try, especially during the drab winter months. I'll be pinning this for later. Thank you so much for joining the party at Dishing It & Digging It! Hope to see you back again this week :)

  3. this was very helpful.. Thank you! Have a lovely day...


  4. Hi Tamara. I hope you find that this information helps your African violets thrive. Mine continue to grow, reproduce and thrive with the tips I have shared.

  5. I have a african violet in my south bay window of my kitchen. It has started gettinv brown leaves, what do i do about this. My flower is always in full bloom and seems to like it in the window.

    1. It's hard to say what is causing this without seeing the plant. It is normal for some leaves to turn brown and wilt. Just remove them. More new leaves will replace the ones you take off. If you've had the plant for a while it might need repotting. Did you watch my video? If not be sure to take a look at it.

  6. My great aunt had the greenest thumb in the family. She said she used to use coffee grounds on them. Have you heard of this?

  7. That's a new one for me, BES! I do know many people use coffee grounds in their outside gardens.

  8. Hi! How do you deal with an extremely crooked neck? Thanks for the post - I love my violets!

    1. Hi Beth. I’ve had some success just repotting the plant by positioning the neck so that the plant is upright in the soil. That means the neck may be more horizontal than vertical in the soil but it seems to be ok.

  9. Hi Donna, I am going to purchase the plant food on the Amazon site. How often should I feed them? Thanks.

  10. Hi, Be sure you follow the directions on the package for mixing the fertilizer. I’m not a big fertilizer user for my African violets. That means I only fertilize occasionally, not more than once a month. I do always fertilize after I transplant/repot. I live by the phrase, “Less is more” with my plants. Too much water or fertilizer is never a good thing. Good luck!!!

  11. Hi... thanks. Is there a difference between plant food and fertilizer?

    1. Kelsey, I think that is you buy a product specifically made for African violets you will be in good shape whether it is called plant food or fertilizer.

  12. Hi Donna, I've lost 2 African Violet plants over the past year, and been very upset as they flowered abundantly and then died after that, all the leaves died off, and plant disappeared in the pot...this could be due to over watering or due to overexposed in direct sun light sitting on the windowsill, as you've rightly pointed out. I bought a pink St.Paulia today, and must take care of this. Your video presentation is indeed inspiring and motivating. Thank you :)


Talk to me. I welcome your comments. (These comments are strictly moderated. Spammers take note.)