Caring for African Violet

April 25, 2016

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African violets are not just for grandma’s indoor garden anymore. These favorite indoor flowering plants are gaining in popularity. And with a bit of TLC you can keep them looking their best. Avoid cold water on the leaves.  It can cause spotting and leaf damage.  Use lukewarm water or water plants from the bottom to avoid damage. 

Remove any crusty white salt that can build up on the rim of the pot and damage or kill the leaves that touch it. Then leach any remaining excess salts that come from fertilizer and the water through the soil. Water thoroughly, wait 20 minutes and repeat two more times. Grow in a warm sunny window or under artificial light to encourage flowering and reduce the risk of cold temperature damage and powdery mildew fungal disease. Fertilize with a dilute solution of flowering plant fertilizer when the plants are actively growing.

A bit more information:  Powdery mildew and mealybugs can be problems on African violets.  The mildew looks as if someone sprinkled baby powder on the leaves.  Improve air circulation and light reaching the plant to reduce problems with this fungal disease. Mealybugs look like a bit of cotton on the plant.  Touching each mealybug with a cotton swap dipped in alcohol will dissolve the covering and kill the insect below.  Repeat applications will be needed.

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