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African Violets

Rating: 4.0

African violets are almost perfect indoor plants. For a start, they’re quite small so they can fit into the tiniest apartments. They need minimal care and seem happier if they aren’t given too much water – perfect plants for lazy indoor gardeners.

Position

African violets are happy indoors, but they need to be in a well-lit spot that’s away from direct sunlight. They flourish in quite small pots but it’s important to make sure they’re in a suitable potting mix. Yates Thrive African Violet & Cyclamen Mix has been specially formulated to suit these plants. It’s a lightweight mix with plenty of added flower-promoting fertiliser.

Watering

Correct watering is the key to success with African violets. The leaves blotch easily if they’re splashed with water and, although this doesn’t affect the plant’s performance, it can spoil its good looks. Far better to water from the base by sitting the bottom of the pot in a water-filled container and leaving it there until the moisture moves right through to the surface of the mix. Then let the plants dry out thoroughly until the next watering.

Maintenance

Happy African violets can produce copious amounts of flowers, but they need help to continue to do so. Remember, too, that African violets are more likely to bloom during the warmer months. Feed regularly with Thrive Concentrate Houseplant Food or Thrive Flower & Fruit (look on the back of the pack for instructions for feeding African violets). Remove dead flowers regularly and let the plants dry out thoroughly after each spurt of flowering. Placing them inside a closed paper bag can sometimes encourage recalcitrant violets to flower. Leave them covered for three or four days before exposing them to the light again. Hopefully you’ll find that, after this treatment, the plant will be so grateful to be released that it will almost immediately burst into bloom.

Dust violet leaves regularly by wielding a small brush. Dust can clog up the pores of the leaves and make it difficult for the leaves to function.

Pests & diseases

Common African violet pests are mites, mealy bugs and, to a lesser extent, aphids. Most pests can be controlled with Nature’s Way Citrus & Ornamental Spray or PestOil will help with stubborn mealy bugs.


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