Growing African Violets

Silver Post Medal for All Time! 398 Posts
August 30, 2010

watering bulbMy little friend, took a half a plastic baton with the plastic top on and filled it with water and stuck it in my African violet that was doing rather poorly. The water line went down a little and then emptied. I refilled it and stuck it back in, and repeated after a couple of days.


To my great surprise, the plant is actually doing VERY well. This plant has not bloomed in two years, and now it is blooming. It is hard to believe.

By Robyn Fed from Hampton, TN

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July 16, 2008

Want to keep your African violet healthy? Follow these tips. Keep the temperature in your home between 65 to 85 degrees. The east window is the best lighting for African Violets, they need lots of light but not direct sunlight.

African Violets


August 14, 2008

I repotted my African Violets. Those furry leaves are prone to damage if they rest on the pot rim. I noticed my mom runs tin foil around the rim, but it is unsightly.


What I came up with was to use clear drinking straws!


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 858 Posts
March 2, 2006

The African violet, one of America's most common houseplants, comes in an immense range of varieties. Although it is not difficult to grow, it does demand constant care and attention. Above all else, that is the secret to successfully growing and maintaining this diverse and beautiful plant.

African Violet


21 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

February 5, 2011

I need some gardening advice. I'm on my third African violet in less than a year and they keep dying on me. I have the special AV soil and give it plenty of sunlight as well as water, but it doesn't seem to matter, my violets all kick the bucket.

My grandmother 40 years ago had one African violet that she rooted over a 1000 more plants from (I'm not exaggerating, her house was a plethora of AVs before she passed). Advice? Please? It's the only plant I want in my house (minus herbs) and the only one I can't keep alive. (Maybe the only one I truly care about that I can't keep alive, there have been other nature murders under my roof).


Hardiness Zone: 7a

By Jane from DC


February 6, 20110 found this helpful

Could be too much water. I believe the soil has to dry out a bit between waterings (you might want to look that up to confirm it).

February 10, 20110 found this helpful

Hi Tricia. My grandmother grew the African Violets beautifully, too. The only two things I remember her telling me as a child was that they needed to be in a south window and they should only be watered when the soil was very very dry.

How dry? I know not. We were never allowed to water them unless she checked them and said they were indeed dry enough! Maybe "Joanne" is on to something with suggesting your problem could be too much water. Good luck and hope your thumb keeps getting greener! :-)

February 11, 20110 found this helpful

I've had really good luck with African Violets, just had to move them to work because my cats like them too. I've rooted some with no roots and even just leaves before. I've always read that they need to be in a north window and you don't want to have them too wet or too dry. Don't get the leaves wet or that leaf will turn brown and possibly eventually die and they prefer to be watered from the bottom, though I have read and do myself water them from the top on occasion to wash away any minerals that may linger for whatever reason.


I only have 3 right now because of room issue but they are all 3 huge and flower regularly. Good luck. I've been told they're hard to grow, but I've never had a problem doing that.

February 11, 20110 found this helpful

My 91 year old grandmother has grown african violets for years in her north facing kitchen window. She says the trick is to use a pot with holes in the bottom and place it in a saucer then water from the saucer. The plant will wick up what water is needed. Don't however let it sit in water for days. Whatever water is left after 24 hours should be discarded. When the soil feels dry water from below again. Her plants are always beautiful. She also fertilizes with a fertilizer made for violets. Good Luck.

February 11, 20110 found this helpful

Tricia, When I first started growing African violets I also had several die. Then I solved the problem by stopping the over-watering. I am sure you are giving them too much water.


Let the soil be completely dry before you water, water only from the bottom, and don't let any water touch the leaves. You will be successful in no time.

February 12, 20110 found this helpful

I had one AV that was almost 30 years old before it finally died. Nearly broke my heart! Anyway, the two I have now are probably close to to 10 years old. I have them in special violet planters that are in two parts. Water is kept in the outer pot and the plant is in a smaller pot that is porous. It is continuously drinking what it wants and I don't have to worry about over watering. I just have to be careful not to forget. Which I have done! Poor things were bone dry when I noticed the pots were empty. I got the pots at the Home Depot, a real saver for me and my plants!

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February 11, 2017

Should I repot my violet in a little bit bigger pot or wait?

Repotting an African Violet -small potted violet


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
February 11, 20170 found this helpful

It looks healthy. If you are not sure if it is becoming rootbound, tip it out of its present pot and see if the roots are intertwined. Then you will know if it needs to be repotted into a larger pot.

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February 2, 2007

Two plants.I finally succeeded in getting one of my 2 African Violet plants to bloom several weeks ago. Before going out of town for several days, I rigged up a thermostatically controlled heater to prevent the sun-room from dropping below 60 deg or so, since I knew these plants are not cold tolerant. My thermostat malfunctioned, and I returned home to 2 pathetic looking African Violets, although the blooms on the one looks good as new.

I need to know if I should trim off the cold damaged leaves. It looks like new leaves are coming in at the center of the plants, and after almost 2 weeks after the damage occurred, the blooms on the one still look great! Any helpful advice would be appreciated.

Hardiness Zone: 6b

Victor from WV


February 3, 20070 found this helpful

My mother used to grow beautiful African Violets. I remember that she was always pinching everything dead off the plants. btw, if it helps, she never put them in direct sunlight. Always a little ways back from South windows.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 174 Feedbacks
February 8, 20070 found this helpful

Hey sister-in-law always told me as long as there's green growth in the middle they should mom used to grow the most beautiful violets when she was alive but I haven't got her green thumb.......good luck with yours :0)

By Lynda (Guest Post)
March 3, 20070 found this helpful

I'd spray the leaves with a weak diluted solution of Sea Kelp as I do mine, keeping it in a "Af. violet"
pot which automatically waters it's roots only with some of the solution (about 1 tsp.per gallon of water) which can be bought from H. Depot, garden dept. My friend who works at the greenhouses brings me some of her residual mix after watering her plants there. You can use this wonderful product on most every indoor plant except cactus and sedum, and see wonders almost overnight. Just don't overdo the leaf spraying nor add to often to water in pot (nly every third filling. If too strong, make it only every third month).

I turn it 1/4 th circle each day or so and the leaves seem to be even and healthy, blooming only every month or so. I do NOT feed regular violet food. Mine is about three years old, always in the same location. I have it one foot from a fairly shaded window, inside on the west side of my house. Don't let them dry out, nor keep them boggy. Try to learn the balance. Good luck and God bless you. : )

Editor's Note: I've had very bad luck with spraying African Violet leaves, it seems like it always killed them. I always watered from the bottom.

By SUSIE (Guest Post)
November 22, 20080 found this helpful

I will be leaving fro Florida for January and turn thermostat down to about 54 degrees. What can I do to keep my African Violets healthy. I recently transplanted them into a Af Violet pot that is self watering. Also what do you use for feeding? Thanks

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January 11, 2011

The leaves to my African violets are becoming spotted and brown. What can I do?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By Mary A. from Asheville, NC


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 205 Posts
January 11, 20110 found this helpful

One question I'd have for you right off the bat. How do you water the plant? Do you water from the top or the bottom.
Any plant that has fuzzy leaves like the African violet or the Purple Passion have to be watered from the bottom. I take mine into the kitchen sink and set the pot into a bowl of plant food water (see my 3rd paragraph), being very careful not to get the leaves wet. I leave it there till it has absorbed all it's going to into the dirt. Then I drain the water and put it back where it was. You have to be very careful with plants with fuzzy leaves to keep from dripping any water onto the leaves. Also, let it get pretty dry between waterings.

Another thing would be where is it kept? Make sure it's getting plenty of light, but not direct sunlight. If you have it in front of a south facing window it may be getting too much sun. Bring it away from the window and maybe put it on a coffee table or near a north facing window that has sheers hung on it. The sheers filter the sun just enough. You can experiment around with where to put it. Leave it in one place for a couple of weeks and see how it does. If it doesn't perk up or gets worse, try someplace else.

And finally, what kind of fertilizer are you using? They need the special African Violet food that's sold just about anywhere. For only 1-5 plants, one bottle will last you several years. What I do is I take an empty 16 oz water bottle, drip 10 drops plant food into it. then fill it up with water and shake well. Then all during the growing season, use this water for watering the African violet.

Also, be sure and stop feeding it the plant food in mid October, and don't resume till late March. Keep it watered, but hold back on the food. They need this time to "rest" before coming back bigger and with more beautiful flowers in the spring.

Hope this helps! I have had African violets that grew as big as a dinner plate and were absolutely gorgeous when the flowers started to bloom.

Good luck!

January 14, 20110 found this helpful

I think that cricketnc has a better "cure", but if that doesn't work, try spraying Hydrogen Peroxide on it, not really on the leaves, but at the root of the plant, that way if it's a disease the peroxide will kill it, but I would try doing what cricketnc said first.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 205 Posts
January 15, 20110 found this helpful

Hallie, Thank you so much for your endorsement! Your idea of hydrogen peroxide sounds like it might just work too. I'm going to check it out. It's worth a try!

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September 5, 2015

Can I use a watering bulb for an African violet? My pot does not have a drainage hole.


September 6, 20150 found this helpful

The main thing with African Violets is to not let the leaves get wet. Also, they should be allowed to dry out completely between waterings.

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October 22, 2014

I had put a leaf in water, and it grew roots. I planted in perlite, but there are no plantlets coming up. Should I replant it in African violet soil? It has been several months.

By Yolanda D

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May 27, 2014

How often do African violets bloom?

By Ginger


June 2, 20140 found this helpful

I water my African Violet real good with city water that has been sitting for several days. Then I make a cup a Camille tea, let it cool, then pour it into plant (from the top). My Violet has been blooming since March.

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October 7, 2011

How often should you water African violets and cactus?

By Sharon


October 16, 20110 found this helpful

I water mine once each week in this manner: I put them in pans, I use 9x13 baking pans, that are filled with water and violet food mixture. I use Miracle grow liquid violet food and put about 8-10 drops in 4 cups of water. I let the violets set in the pans of water for 20 minutes and then take out. I have had wonderful success with this, all my plants are healthy and heavy blooming. I hope this helps!

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August 27, 2011

I have several African violets that are healthy and bloom a great deal. Their heads (made up of leaves and flowers) are very large. They are also outgrowing their pots. Two of the larger plants look like they are growing over the sides of their pots on large stems. These "stems" are brown, scaly, about the size of a woman's little finger, and have what looks like short, brown, dried roots extending from them. I have been very careful so as not to break them, but I have never seen anything like them in all the years I have grown violets.

If I transplant them, what to I do with these stems (except pray not to break the head of the plant off the stems.) Do I plant these stems into the soil so they are covered? Or should I find a really large pot and plant the main roots and the stem in the middle of the pot and let them continue their growth track over towards the side of the pot.

None of my readings on violets mention this type of problem.



September 6, 20110 found this helpful

Your african violets are just outgrowing their pot. This is called the neck.
Just re-pot in a larger container, burying the neck up to the base of the bottom leaves and care for as usual.

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November 10, 2013

How do I get rid of salt accumulation on the top of the soil for my African violets?

By Maggie

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June 2, 2012

My African violet leaves are getting so yellow. It still blooms. This is the white violet. The others are just fine. Why is this?

By Evie H

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Check out these photos.

May 24, 2010

While trimming the leaves on the violets, I laid some of them down in a pan of moist dirt. I then covered the pan with clear plastic wrap. About 8 weeks later, I had nine little babies to transplant.

African Violets


May 5, 2020

African violets are relatively easy to propagate from a leaf cutting. Follow the steps defined below and start new plants now.

An African violet leaf with new sprouts coming up.

February 14, 2017

Generally speaking African violets are a fairly easy to care for houseplant. This is a page about the care and feeding of African violets.

Care and Feeding of African Violets

May 31, 2016

This is a page about transplanting African violets. African violets are a popular, low maintenance houseplant. They do at times need to be transplanted.

Two pots of African Voilets, Watering Can, gardening gloves, and extra pots against a white background

May 31, 2016

This is a page about using rusty nails for African violets. For years gardeners have used rusty nails to add iron to the soil around certain plants.

Close up of three African Violet blooms against green foilage

May 31, 2016

This is a page about buying African violets. African violets are a popular houseplant that is widely available for sale.

Pot of purple African Violets against a white background

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