Growing Under Artificial Light
Although they need sufficient
light in order to produce a flowering hormone known as florigen,
florigen does not trigger blooming until it gets dark. If you grow
African violets under lights, be sure not to run them more than 16
hours a day.
How you water
can be a factor, too. African violets prefer to stay evenly moist –
ideally the soil feels like a well wrung-out sponge. They do not
like to dry out completely in between waterings, but they do not
like to be sopping wet all the time. Too much water can lead to root
rot, while roots start to die in soil that is too dry much of the
time. Either way, plants with reduced roots systems often sacrifice
flowering in order to survive.
fertilization practices can also impact how well African violets
bloom. Unlike plants that grow outdoors, houseplants are totally
dependent on the grower to apply sufficient nutrients without
overdoing it. The small pots these plants are typically grown in do
not maintain a large reserve of nutrients. If you do not fertilize
them on a regular basis, they may not have the necessary nutrients
to spend on flowers. On the other hand, too much fertilizer with
high nitrogen content can lead to lush foliage at the expense of
purchase fertilizers formulated specifically for African violets.
You should always use a balanced fertilizer that contains all of the
major plant nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium
(K). Nitrogen is important for the growth and development of leaves
and stems. Phosphorus is important for healthy roots and flowering.
Potassium is required for the accretion and movement of
carbohydrates throughout the plant.
nutrients are represented on the fertilizer label by numbers known
as the analysis. Typically, fertilizers for flowering plants
contain more phosphorous than nitrogen, perhaps an analysis of
8-14-9. The African Violet Society of America recommends choosing a
fertilizer that does not use urea as the nitrogen source because
African violets are sensitive to it – it can burn their roots. You
can determine if a fertilizer contains urea by looking at the
Guaranteed Analysis on the label. It lists the source of the
nutrients it contains. Be sure to follow label directions of the
fertilizer you choose – more is never better when it comes to
fertilizing any plant.
Finally, if you
have recently repotted your African violet into a larger pot, the
pot may be too big. African violets prefer to be root-bound to bloom
well. It is good practice to periodically repot houseplants because
the soil should be refreshed periodically. You can often repot the
plant into the same pot after cleaning it well, using fresh potting
mix. As a rule of thumb, pots should be no larger than one-third the
size of the diameter of the plant.
African Violet photos