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Here are some tips:
- Start with a potting soil mix that drains well. Some nurseries sell potting mixes specifically formulated for African violets. When creating your own soil mix, be sure it drains well and is not easily waterlogged.
- Choose a pot that enhances the color of the flowers and has drainage holes in the bottom.
- Water the plants only when they need it. Check the top inch of the soil. If it is still moist, the plants do not need to be watered. Once the top inch of soil dries, water thoroughly, allowing the water to drain out the bottom of the pot.
- African violets bloom best when crowded. The leaves should hang above the soil but not touch the edge of the pot where salts collect that can injure the plant.
- African violets do best in bright, indirect light. Place them in a room that receives about 12 to 15 hours of light a day. A room with a southern exposure is best, or one with large windows facing east or west.
- African violets prefer day-time temperatures around 70 degrees, and cooler nights of about 65 degrees. The higher the humidity the better.
- Fertilize plants with a product specifically designed for African violets. Apply it monthly from spring through fall. Let the plants slow their growth during the winter by reducing the amount of fertilizer.
- Only a few pests bother African violets. However, the leaves and flowers should be inspected periodically for any visible signs of insects or damage. Remove dead flowers when they begin to droop.
Jerry Goodspeed - Utah State University Extension Horticulturist