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How to care for African violets flowering houseplant

Given the right conditions, African violets bloom nearly year round. They thrive in temperatures between 60°F and 75°F In temperatures much higher or lower, they may stop growing and blooming.

In summer African violets do best in an east or north window. In winter they may need extra light from incandescent or fluorescent fixtures or from a southern exposure where the sun’s rays are filtered. In fall and spring, shade the plants from direct sun. Too little light or light that is too weak may result in extra-long leafstalks and unhealthily soft foliage with few or no flowers. Light that is too strong may cause yellowing foliage and drooping leafstalks. Watering and feeding African violets like a humid atmosphere and moist soil, but the soil should not be constantly soggy.

To provide humidity, stand the pot on pebbles in a partly water-filled saucer. There should be no contact between pot and water. When the soil surface begins to dry out, water well with lukewarm water but take care not to wet the foliage. Once a month except in winter, feed plants with a water soluble houseplant fertilizer. Potting and repotting African violets bloom more freely when their roots are crowded; repot them only when more than a third of the rosette of leaves extends beyond the pot’s edge; use a pot a size larger. Spring or early summer is the best time to repot. BuyAfrican violet soil or make your own from equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and garden soil.

If plants grow extra rosettes of leaves, nip them out with a knife. If leaves rot, turn yellow, or become crowded, break or cut their stalks at the main stem. Don’t leave any stem parts on plants; they will rot.

African violets can easily be propagated from leaf cuttings. Select mature, healthy leaves; retain 1 to 1 1/2 inches of stem. In 3 to 6 weeks, when tiny new leaves appear, transplant the rooted cuttings to separate pots. Cover them with plastic bags in which a few small holes have been punched. Keep them in a warm, shaded spot for 2 to 3 weeks.