African Violets

violet1 We have had a few questions about African violets lately and since they are one of my favorite houseplants I thought it might be interesting to learn a bit more about them.   I bought 8 African violets nine years ago for my son’s wedding rehearsal dinner.  Now, I only have one plant left.  I’d like to get more African violets but I’d like to know what I did wrong that killed the other 7 plants.

According to Richard Jauron, Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist, the best window to place the violet near is either north or east facing. This was good news for me as we recently did some rearranging at our home and my last surviving violet moved from a south window to a north window.  I was concerned for the health of my plant but now I know that the move shouldn’t harm my plant.

Transplanting the violets into larger pots may have caused the death of several violet2other plants. Apparently violets prefer smaller pots.  Violets will bloom and grow better in a smaller pot.  Small cuttings that are ready to be potted should be potted into 2” pots.  The plant can be transplanted into a 3” pot once good roots are established.  The plant should remain in this size pot until the plant measures 9 “diameter.  I know that I transplanted into larger pots before my violets reached this size.

I did remember to use potting mix designed for African violets and I am very careful when watering the plant to not splash water up onto the leaves. I wait until the soil seems dry before watering and I don’t over-fertilize either.

I’m excited to use what I’ve learned when I purchase my next violet.


Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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4 thoughts on “African Violets

  1. I have an African violet that I was given after my grandmother passed – it was hers. I am horrified that I think I killed it! I’m working on rebuilding it but I think it died because I repotted it. It was certainly in the 9″ diameter range and wanting to grow outside of the pot that I had it in, but when I repotted it, the underside of the plant died. I did use African violet soil and I have an aqua globe that does the watering (that ends up needing to be refilled every 2-3 days). Should I repot my plant back into the smaller pot for regrowth? Or will that just kill what little regrowth I’m currently getting from the larger pot?

  2. I learned to care for my African Violets from an elderly lady back when I was a child in the 70s. She had a whole room full! She taught me the information you have listed as well as two other important tips according to her. She said to always water from the bottom and not get the leaves wet. Most important she told me to always have water sitting out beside my violets so they have a humid environment to bloom in like their native environment. I would love to hear your thoughts on these tips. I love my African Violets!

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