African violets are low-maintenance plants that may be cultivated for either their foliage or their blooms.
If your African violet has stopped flowering for no obvious reason, this tutorial will show you how to coax it back into bloom.
If your plant is otherwise healthy, the lack of flowers is not reason for concern; nonetheless, you are free to keep it as a foliage plant if that is your desire.
It is still possible for your plant to recover. The lovely blossoms produced by these plants are well worth the extra work required to care for them.
We tell you that it is not difficult and that you will soon have a lovely African violet blooming.
Given the correct conditions, African violets can bloom continuously throughout the year. If yours isn’t blossoming, you may need to change your approach to plant care.
How to Get an African Violet to Bloom
If you want your African violet to bloom, you should first assess its health and the area in which it is now located. Usually, the smallest details have the most influence.
This plant’s blossoming requires a lot of light.
You’ll want to find a location that receives at least a couple hours of direct sunshine every day (assuming it’s not too hot) (avoid harsh direct light as it can damage the leaves).
The sun is best in the early morning or late afternoon. Place your plant near a window where it will receive bright indirect light all day.
If the plant is receiving adequate light and does not have excessive foliage, you should observe the first signs of flower growth relatively quickly.
If you’ve placed your African violet in the finest spot possible in your home but it’s still not blooming, artificial lighting may be the next step (keep reading to learn about the other factors that must be in place for your plant to thrive).
Artificial grow lights can help African violets thrive in low-light environments (fluorescent lights and such).
You may experiment with artificial lighting because these plants flourish in it.
Number of Leaves
What happens now that you’ve found a perfect site with just the proper amount of lighting? Allowing the plant to devote all of its energy to bloom formation.
Too many leaf rows need too much energy from the plant to maintain.
There will be fewer blossoms if there are more rows of leaves.
You can safely cut the oldest two or three rows of leaves from the bottom if there are four or more rows of leaves. This will encourage the growth of new leaves and blooms.
Though you may be tempted to make a series of fast cuts, remember that working methodically is preferable.
To avoid the transmission of disease, only use clean, sterile tools while pruning leaves.
What to deal with fallen leaves? Please share them!
African violets are easy to propagate; older leaves may not generate new plants as rapidly as fresher, more developed leaves, but they will still do so.
You will soon have a few new plants in your hands.
The technique of irrigation may also be important. African violets like regularly moist soil that is not wet.
They don’t enjoy being completely dry between waterings, but they also don’t appreciate being continually wet.
When soil moisture levels are too high, root rot occurs, whereas root death happens when soil moisture levels are too low.
To be sure, plants that must exist with a shallow root system may postpone blooming in order to do so. Repotting
Finally, if you recently repotted your African violet, the pot may be too large. African violets must be root-bound in order to blossom well.
Repotted houseplants should have their soil refreshed on a regular basis. The same pot may often be reused if it is well cleaned first and new potting soil is used.
In general, a pot should be no more than one-third the width of the plant’s base.
When it comes to watering, African violets are fairly forgiving of neglect.
They are among the best plants for beginning gardeners because to their amazing drought resistance.
They do, however, require frequent watering to thrive, therefore a robust and constant watering regimen is vital.
However, there is an excellent and simple method for ensuring that they always have enough water to grow.
They are the experts of self-watering pots. These are available at most garden centers, or you may create your own!
If you don’t have access to or don’t want to utilize a self-watering planter, be sure you water them on a regular basis.
Water the plant when the top inch of soil has dried up, but keep an eye on it. When watering, use room temperature water since cold water will harm plant roots.
Light, Fluffy Soil
A blend of sand and perlite is the best potting medium for African violets since it is porous, drains well, and retains moisture.
Open and light soil, such as that created from sphagnum peat moss or a mixture of perlite and other materials, is suitable for planting.
The soil’s optimal pH range is 5.8 to 6.2, making it moderately acidic.
Peat is not appropriate for use as a soil amendment unless lime or another amendment is added to neutralize its acidity.
This may appear to be a difficult task, but many commercial potting soils already match these requirements.
Most African violets are too heavy for specialist soil, according to experts.
Because of their small size, African violets are frequently affected by soil-borne illnesses.
If you are unsure whether the soil is a valid retail brand, you may pasteurize it by spreading it out on a baking sheet and heating it at 180 degrees for 30 minutes.
To keep your potting soil clean and pest-free, always use a sealed bag or container.
Select a potting soil that is light, humus-rich, and well-drained. African violets may be grown in almost any commercial potting soil mix.
Crowns and suckers aplenty.
The bulk of African violets grow numerous crowns and suckers. As a result, they deplete the parent plant’s vitality and prevent it from blossoming.
Plants ordered online are almost always delivered in little plastic pots no larger than 2 1/4 inches in diameter.
You won’t have to bother about obtaining larger planters for a few months. African violets grown in large pots take longer to bloom.
I allow it six months to a year in the 2-inch pots before moving on to the 4-inch pots.
Clay pots, glazed or unglazed, but always with drainage holes, are my preferred window garden container.
It’s a lot of fun to create new plants from old ones. Remove a leaf from its stem, leaving an inch behind.
Bright Light to Promote Blooming
Although direct sunlight is bad for African violet development, too much darkness will prevent flowering.
An African violet requires between eight and twelve hours of light every day.
If your African violet has long stems and narrow, dark green leaves but does not produce blooms, it may be lacking in light.
The University of Florida IFAS Extension recommends placing the plant no more than three feet from a west or southeast-facing window, or in a room with artificial illumination.
Wide-spectrum fluorescent tubes outperform incandescent lights for African violets when it comes to artificial illumination.
To get the desired flowering effect, suspend two 40-watt fluorescent lights 12-15 inches above the plants for 15 hours every day.
African violets require at least eight hours of darkness each night to blossom, so make sure the lights are turned off before going to bed.
Temperature Extremes Inhibit Blooming
An African violet cannot blossom in either too hot or too cold temperatures. African violets require a warm, humid atmosphere typical of the tropics to thrive.
Temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night are just right.
African violets that are overheated stop flowering, but plants that are kept too cold suffer from growth retardation, color change, and, in extreme cases, death.
Moving plants from a chilly room to a warmer one will prevent further harm, but the plants will take some time to recover.
To keep African violets warm at night, remove them from the ledge or cover them with a piece of paper.
Improving Humidity Around Plants
If the air is humid, an African violet will blossom more freely. Maximum humidity is optimal for the growth and blooming of African violets.
Fill a small dish with water and a tray of gravel, tiny pebbles, perlite, or sand to serve as a plant saucer.
When water evaporates from a plant, the relative humidity of the surrounding air rises. Replenish the water in the tray as needed.
To avoid rotting roots, avoid placing an African violet’s pot in a tray of water. Allow the soil to completely drain between waterings.
African violets in clay pots require more regular watering than those in plastic pots.
African Violet Fertilizer
You must feed your African violet in order for it to bloom.
A shortage of nutrition is often indicated by older leaves around the crown’s base becoming a light green or yellow.
To feed your African violets, use a water-soluble fertilizer like 15-30-15 or 20-20-20.
When watering the plants, use the fertilizer solution instead of plain water. Manufacturers’ instructions may differ, so carefully read the label.
African violets are similarly affected by over-fertilization. Over-fertilized plants have yellowed leaves and compact cores.
Fertilizer for Blooming Plants
If you haven’t given your African Violet’s pot any attention for a while, the soil may be depleted of the nutrients it need to thrive.
Fertilizer may be the missing component in getting your African violet to bloom.
Select a fertilizer designed exclusively for flowering plants. It is critical to follow the manufacturer’s directions because various products have varied suggested uses and doses.
If you can’t find a fertilizer made expressly for blooming plants, standard houseplant fertilizer will serve.
Because African violets are so prevalent, you may be able to discover businesses that provide African violet-specific fertilizers.
It is preferable to use specialist fertilizer.
The chemistry lesson is unneeded here, though we might complicate matters. A well-balanced fertilizer can produce excellent results.
However, if it is too high in nitrogen, your plants will have gorgeous green foliage but few blossoms.
It’s also a good idea to avoid urea-based fertilizers, which might harm the roots. Urea is frequently featured in the label’s Guaranteed Analysis section.
Purchasing high-quality African violet food is a quick and easy solution. Check the N, P, and K values to ensure that the items are distributed evenly.
Despite the fact that manure-based products are frequently nitrogen-rich, organic fertilizers are an alternative. The best natural fertilizers are worm tea and worm castings.
The two most common fertilization procedures are:
- The frequency should be between between every two weeks and once a month. You can lower the frequency of your applications if your plant receives less light in the winter.
- Fill the water with fertilizer. Stir a quarter to a half teaspoon of plant food into a gallon of water.
Fast-acting fertilizers are usually the most effective. Knowing the intricacies of your violet’s feeding routine will help it.
Choose combinations that dissolve fully to avoid sediment accumulation. This strategy consistently produces excellent results for me.
Choice Of Pot Is Important To Keep African Violets Blooming
One of the African violet’s quirks. It is critical to ensure that the pot has appropriate drainage. However, it is not the strange thing.
These plants can be found in the wild in rock crevices. They’re at ease at close quarters. The suggested container size is one-third the plant’s leaf span, which is far less than most plants like.
A plant with a width of 9 inches, for example, would be too crowded in a container that is just 3 inches deep.
Planting African violets in an overly big container causes them to droop and cease blooming. Make the same mistake as everyone else!
African violets thrive in shallow containers, sometimes known as Azalea pots.
Because the soil is too deep, the thin roots of plants in deep pots may not be able to access adequate air.
Repotting Matters For African Violet Blooming
Blooming problems are typical among newcomers as a result of repotting, or the lack thereof.
They require constant replacement of the earth in their little pots. African violets also like being rootbound… to a point.
Most sources recommend that plants be repotted at least twice a year.
Unless the plant has outgrown its container, plants are normally repotted into the same size container.
Even though the lowest leaves of African violets grow low, just over the ground, they fade and should be removed.
As a result, the plant will develop a bare “neck” akin to a stem. Even in plants with adequate illumination, this process is slow but inescapable.
This stem is removed by a procedure known as necking.
One, only repot when the soil is moist enough to hold its form. Remove the dark, withered leaves at the base.
2) Carefully remove the plant from its container. It’s better to avoid touching the leaves by cupping the root ball or squeezing the neck.
3. Using sterile scissors, remove the bottom inch of earth and roots. When digging out a neck, remove an amount of soil equal to the length of the naked stem.
4) Replace the root ball with the leftover earth and make a hole in the container large enough to fit it.
Step 5: Repot the plant A decent rule of thumb is to have the leaves finish up at or slightly above the container’s lip.
Sixth, replace the potting soil up to the neck. New roots will form all along the buried stem.
TIP: Use the back of a spoon to push under leaves and tweezers to handle fragile plants.
Special Blooming Techniques
Now that you know the basics, here are some pointers for keeping your African violets healthy and beautiful:
Getting Rid of the Leaves Despite popular opinion, room temperature water may be safely used to clean or soak the African violet’s leaves to eliminate dirt and dust.
Water that is the same temperature as the rest of the plant, on the other hand, will not trigger leaf necrosis.
It is best to use purified water or rain. I give my plants a good rinse in a sink full of room-temperature water every six to twelve months.
Watering the soil helps to remove extra salts and fertilizer that the plant did not absorb.
You should do this when the land is already thirsty. Pour conditioned water at room temperature into the potted soil until excess water runs out of the drainage holes.
To drain any residual liquid, turn the saucepan upside down. After a week, discontinue fertilizing and resume normal watering.
Do this every three months.
One of the many appealing characteristics of the African violet is its symmetry. Turn the containers once a week to ensure that the plants receive light from all angles.
Plants that are rotated on a regular basis bloom more uniformly.
Because thin-edged pots can leave ugly markings on lower leaves, a leaf support system is essential.
The usage of leaf supports encourages equal development and, possibly, greater light penetration.
Support rings may be purchased or made for near to nothing by utilizing disposable plastic pie plates.
Cutting out the Middlemen:
Don’t spend your African violet’s time and energy on unnecessary activities; instead, provide it with all it requires to thrive as a flowering plant.
They only need three or four rows of leaves to bloom, so trim them down to size unless they are a trailing species.
Spent blossoms on older trees transform into seed. To stimulate new growth, pinch off wasted blossoms and stems on a regular basis.
Violets benefit from disbudding because it promotes the quick growth of new leaves and roots, which boosts the plant’s ability to blossom in the future.
Remove the stems of the buds and chop them off using a clean knife. Full disbudding has the most potential to accelerate plant development, although it is not essential.
Plantlets, often known as baby African violets, grow from the tips of older plants. This should be avoided since it depletes the resources of the parent plant.
The good news is that they can grow into new plants. Begin with a relatively dry layer of soil. Remove the plant from its container and carefully remove the crowns.
If the roots become intertwined, cut them apart, but try to keep some of the roots on each piece.
Suckers: Be cruel to those suckers! They waste resources while generating no fruit.
Cuttings, crowns, and even sprigs with no roots can be used to propagate new plants. Just use planting soil.
A plastic cover, such as a salad container from the grocery store, may aid in sprouting.
Other things to consider
Although the African violet is a lovely houseplant, forcing it to bloom all year may not be possible in many areas.
Throughout the winter, not everywhere receives enough sunshine to keep flowers blooming.
Your plant may not blossom all winter, but that is no reason to abandon it. It will repay you with flowers in the spring if you give it what it requires.
These aren’t fussy about temperature, although they do like a little warmer atmosphere. Avoid getting in the path of any drafting.
Watching the Flowers Grow
It’s a rewarding experience to see the fragile blooms open.
The buds may be mistaken for a new leaf when they initially develop, but after a few days, they are plainly evident.
Even better, they are the most pleasant individuals you will ever meet.
In actuality, after the first flower opens, many others will soon follow.
How often do African violets bloom?
If given the correct care, healthy African violets will blossom multiple flowers at once and continue to do so for weeks.
As previously said, disbudging your flowers will result in fresh blooms in 6-8 weeks.
According to some farmers, these blooms bloom “constantly” for up to ten months of the year.
According to my experience, this normally takes six to seven months, with some downtime while new blooms form.
Reasons Why African Violets Refuse to Bloom
The health of our houseplants is influenced by both natural and human factors. Furthermore, not all African violets are the same.
Your African violet may never blossom despite your best attempts. This is due to the significance of genetics.
Some bloom lavishly even in low soil and light conditions, and others are spoilt diva-types who may never bloom.
However, if yours has previously flowered, everything is not lost.
Air Quality Can Impact Blooming
Air quality and circulation are two unobservable factors that may impact effective African violet blossoming.
Because their favored humidity is a breeding ground for illness, keep them at a safe distance from other plants and give them their own place.
Second, chemical scents emitted by gasoline, paint, and cleaning chemicals degrade air quality. Open windows and doors if scents or fumes are noticed in the growing space.
Polluted air can induce leaf yellowing or stunting, as well as a browning of buds and blooms.
Too Little or Too Much Light
African violets require light to grow and blossom.
The best times of day are early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the sun is not too high in the sky and the temperature is not too high.
Stretched leaf stems and small, developed leaves are signs of a lack of light.
Plant leaves can get gray and bleached when exposed to a lot of sunshine.
I keep mine in an east-facing window throughout the winter and move them back when the weather warms up in the summer.
The plants’ tops should be kept 12 inches away from the lights, and fluorescent lighting should be utilized for 16 hours every day.
Give your pots a quarter turn every few days to keep them from leaning.
Over or Under Watering
When it comes to watering plants, practice makes perfect.
Too much water causes the roots to rot.
Plants wither and lose their flowers when they lack adequate moisture.
Maintain a consistent moisture level.
Drainage holes are required in all pots.
Rotate the pots every time you water to ensure that all of the roots are saturated.
If the leaves are firmly packed, water them from below by immersing the container in a deep saucer of water for 30 minutes before draining.
Another approach is to utilize a wicking system for continuous watering.
Lack of Humidity
Many plants, including African violets, thrive in humid circumstances with relative humidity levels ranging from 40% to 50%.
Interior heating systems’ dry air should be avoided at all costs.
Amazon: Humidity Drip Tray
A drip tray with water storage is useful for spotting watering errors, but it has no effect on the space’s relative humidity.
Lack of Nutrients or Too Much
Flowers, on the other hand, do not suddenly appear; they must be nurtured.
It is beneficial to add a small amount of fertilizer (diluted) to each watering. This is easier to remember than a larger monthly payment, which was previously expected of me.
If the amount of fertilizer advised on the container is for the full month, split it by four and use that as your weekly dose.
Inadequate consumption leads to nutrient deficiencies. A fertilizer overload might result in burns, plant death, or reduced flowering.
Wrong Soil pH Level
This one is about food and drink.
The capacity of a plant to take nutrients from the soil is hampered when the pH of the soil is either too high or too low.
Remember that pH is important for all plants, even if you are unlikely to have a serious problem with a houseplant.
A pH of 6.8 is good for African violet care.
The easiest way to control this is to use a proper growing medium.
Heavy Soil / Growing Medium
How well does the medium complement your African violet? Grow medium should be somewhat airy and not very thick.
Press your index finger into the dirt to test its quality. You should be OK as long as it fits snugly.
It’s best to use a commercial African violet potting mix or another light houseplant mix that’s equivalent.
Sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite are all common ingredients.
Sphagnum peat moss (commonly known as peat) has been a common element in potting soils for many years.
There is a search for sustainable alternatives to peat extraction since it damages vital carbon-sequestering ecosystems (bogs).
There are certain applications for coconut coir, however they are limited.
As a result, the hunt for ecologically friendly gardening methods continues.
Here’s the sweet spots for growing African violets:
- Daytime Room: 70-80°F (21-27°C)
- Nighttime Room: 65–70°F (18-21°C)
- Soil: 65-75°F (18-24°C)
Our former place had chilly evenings, but the midday heat compensated.
Wrong Size Pot
African violets like a more constrained environment in their pots. This will protect the soil around the plant’s roots from becoming moist.
The roots are typically one-third the width of the leaves.
If the plant is 6 inches in diameter, the roots will be around 2 inches broad. To allow for root development, choose a container that is 2 inches wider than the soil (4-inches wide).
The How to Repot African Violets guide contains all you need to know about repotting African violets.
Pests or Disease
If there are pests or illnesses present, you will most likely notice them because they are visible or the plant itself seems unwell.
Here are a few examples:
Powdery mildew, cyclamen mites, fungus, and bloom blight can all be found in the soil.
Unless the problem is minimal and can be fixed without spending any money, I’m much more likely to discard the plant than treat it.
It’s pointless to risk my other plants, and I try to make things as easy as possible when it comes to indoor and outdoor gardening.
Excess Crowns or Suckers
One of the most serious issues with African violets is that their blossoms are rarely evenly spaced.
Instead, they cause aberrant leaf development, such as crowns, suckers, and other irregularities.
If you don’t keep an eye on things, the scenario might soon descend into anarchy.
This video shows how to repot African violets to deal with overgrowth.
The good news is that you may root cuttings effectively by following these steps:
This is a common method for multiplying existing African violet plants.
Another piece of advise is that flower development frequently happens in the first few circles/rows of leaves. It is not required to wait for the plant to develop before harvesting its blossoms.
I’m rewarded with new buds and blossoms every time I replant and prune (leaving only the top three to five rows of leaves).
This is consistent with other gardeners’ observations regarding how complacent certain plants may get.
Some plants just need the shock of a good trimming and repotting to spring into fresh blooms.
Inadequate sunlight, insufficient fertilizer, and dry air are just a few of the cultural conditions that might hinder an African violet from blossoming.
While most African violets (Saintpaulia spp.) are kept as houseplants, Saintpaulia ionantha and other species may be grown outside year round in USDA plant hardiness zones 11 and 12.
African violets may bloom almost constantly if properly cared for.