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Care Instructions for African Violets

These care instructions are written specifically for our African violets.  Other growers may have different care requirements for their plants based on how they have grown their violets.  But if you have a Brennan’s Orchids violet, these rules will help you keep it happy and robust.

Rule No. 1:  Keep the potting mix lightly moist.  While violets like to stay slightly moist, they cannot tolerate being drowned.  African violets will survive a short drought better than they will survive staying too wet.  You may water your violet from the top, the bottom, or by using wicks.  Use lukewarm or tepid water when watering because cold water can cause unsightly marks to appear on the leaves.  Nobody enjoys a cold shower.  Do not let water sit on the leaves.  That would invite crown rot.

Rule No. 2:  Give the plant the proper light.  Morning or soft late afternoon light is best.  That means an East, West, or shaded South-facing window. Avoid direct sun during the harsh “skin cancer” hours of the day.

Rule No. 3:  Regular meals all year long, please.  We fertilize every other watering and use a fertilizer with a balanced formula (10-10-10 or 20-20-20) mixed at ¼ to ½ the usual strength.  Bloom booster formulas are not necessary.  Violet roots burn easily from too much fertilizer, so it is prudent to underfeed rather than overfeed.

Rule No. 4:  Your plant is potted in a peat potting mix but any soil-less mix that is light and fluffy will be fine.  You can repot your violet every nine months or so.  Increase the pot size only if you must and then by the smallest increment possible.  Avoid deep pots; they will hold too much moisture.  Avoid terra cotta pots; the roots will glue themselves to the porous pot and suffer too much damage when you repot.  Moisten the mix prior to removing the plant from the old pot.  It will just be that much easier to remove the plant without ripping the roots.  Moisten the new mix before planting.  Pot the violet so that the mix is firmly in the pot but still airy.  Remember to pot the plant so that the crown of leaves sits just above the potting mix surface.

Rule No. 5:   Remove spent flowers.  In particular, do not let spent blossoms drop onto the leaves and lay there.  This will invite rot and disease.  Remove old, yellowed, or unhealthy leaves.  A clean plant is better able to remain pest and disease free. If you use anything to cut leaves or stems, please sterilize the instrument first.

Rule No. 6:  Keep the plant in its comfort zone.  It is happy in the temperature range between 60 and 85 degrees.  It is well suited to normal house temperatures.