Thursday, March 31, 2011

African Violets

I love African Violets. So many sizes and colors. The leaves are a story in themselves with curly edges and varigated colors. Lots of varieties that look so good in any color scheme. The blues are my favorite.

If your African violet is exhibiting brown spots on its leaves, it is a sign of a problem. In many cases, brown spots can simply signal a change is needed in the plant's care.

Over watering is a common cause of brown spots on your African violet plant. Also, if water accumulates on the leaves and direct sunlight hits it, it can burn in brown spots on the leaves. Water from the bottom.

If your tap water is heavily chlorinated or has a lot of fluoride in it, it can induce brown spots on your plant's leaves. Let water sit out over night for the chlorine to diminish before you water your African violet.

Using too much fertilizer can also bring out brown spots on your African Violets. It can cause your leaves to rot if you use too much, so if you notice spots, cease use until they clear up.

I use liquid African Violet food. I fill an old quart Ball jar with water and throw in 10 drops or whatever is called for. Top with pretty zinc lid and keep in the kitchen or sunroom out of sunlight, room temperature. If you keep plant food in the sun you will grow algae, thus having to pitch the batch. This prevents overwatering and overfertizing. Watering the plant from the jar is fun and this gives the right amount of food and water each time.

Always water from the bottom. I am a firm believer that watering from the bottom saves most plants. Its more of a pain, keeping a saucer handy, but, this gives the plant a chance to soak up whatever it needs. Thus, preventing overwatering and water on leaves. It prevents mold and other diseases too that can grow from "wet feet or leaves".

You can also buy specific African Violet pots which have the saucer on the bottom. I have one but never liked it since I had to water more than once.

My beautiful begonia is placed on a tray with pretty stones. Here I use an old pie plate and it fits great on my radiator. Fill with water every day or every other day. Since its on the radiator, not an ideal place, due to heat, this helps my plants get some humidity in the winter. This begonia has been blooming steadily since October. Never had that happen till I started watering from bottom. No yellow leaves, no brown leaves or wilting. I pick off the dead flowers often as close to the crown as possible - same as African Violets. Begonia's are just like African Violets in care. They are part of the same family.

I'm sure this light is perfect too, for these plants. This is a morning sun window. In the winter I keep the outside dormer shade up to let in more light and I will lower the dormer in the summer. Too hot for plants.
So the right combination of light, water and fertilizer is a must.

Basically, African Violets like morning sun or light. Water from bottom. I think they like to be a little pot bound to bloom. Sometimes I add fresh AV soil to top of pot. You can even cut a leaf off, dip in root tone, and fill a little dixie cup with AV soil, keep moist and start a new plant. In no time little baby leaves will grow and you'll have a fine collection or trade plant with friend.

Right now I am looking for a tiny miniature AV with a wick. They come in a plastic pot with bottom. Take off the bottom fill with water and plant will soak up thru the wick all it needs. Sometimes these come with a little suction cup to stick to kitchen window. So cute and dainty.

Remember one thing which I forgot to mention, DON'T LET YOUR PLANT SIT IN WATER. Check to make sure the plant absorbed the water. Once you get in a routine, it will all be so simple and you will be amazed.

Let me know how it goes. Have a great day and will talk about another plant soon. Spring is such a great time to start indoor flowers with your colonial decorating. I love living plants indoors.


  1. Thank you so much Dorothy.
    I am now following your advice for my watering & care. I will also invest in the special violet pots
    The Violets are BEAUTIFUL!.. I must not give up

  2. My mother has "the gift" LOL her african violets are HUGE I mean HUGE and are flowered almost all year long. She has even managed to grow a pink leaf african violet huge, and it is flowering and making babies like crazy. Me? I have the curse. I have read books. I have done research. I have followed my researched directions to a tea- and --they---DIE lol the last time, I really gave it a go. To no avail. So I have given up. Seeing yours annoys me greatly (joke) LOL I now resort to ultra- realistic fake plants. I am enjoying these! :) Yours are so beautiful!!!

    I love african violets.I enjoy multiplying them.I just wanted you know that there is a Zambian woman obsessed with african violets.Thank you for the information.

  4. Beautiful plants and wonderful tips. My wish is to have many different colors blooming at the same time and thenI will start adding beautiful leaves to the mix. So many options it boggles the mind.