African Violets

How to Plant and Grow Indoors


African Violets are delightful houseplants and will brighten up any room with their purple, pink, or white colors.

Pennsylvania State University


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African violets are small, easy to grow houseplants with clusters are small flowers over fuzzy leaves. They will bloom with lower light, though medium to bright indirect light is best. African violets can be a bit fussy, so check out more tips on how to make sure your African violets bloom.


You can use an actual African violet potting mix or an all-purpose potting soil. Keep them planted in small pots and re-pot once a year to allow fresh soil. The soil should be loose and well-drained, and high organic matter content is beneficial.


  • Keep the soil lightly moist every day and avoid getting the leaves wet. Use room temperature water.
  • Fertilize every 2 weeks with a high phosphorous plant food, but only during the summer growing season. Only start to fertilize when the plant appears to need an extra boost. Over-fertilizing is a more common problem than under-fertilizing.
  • Many varieties prefer warm conditions (65 degrees F or warmer) though some varieties can grow in cooler conditions.
  • Thin, dark green leaves tell you that the plant is getting too little light.
  • Plants should be shifted to larger pots as they grow. The optimal time for repotting is after some leaves have wilted a bit.

For more information on African violets, visit the website for the African Violet Society of America at


  • Cyclamen mites can occur. They are very hard to remove, so dispose of plant and and isolate other plants that may have been surrounding the African violet.
  • Powdery Mildew
  • Various forms of rot and blight

Wit & Wisdom

Water African violets from the bottom, and try avoid getting any water on the leaves. Dust the leaves with a small, soft brush.

Violets are one of the February birth flowers, so a potted African violet can make a bright gift for a February birthday.

African violets originally come from Tanzania. Find out more about these dainty flowers here. The violet also symbolizes loyalty, devotion, and faithfulness. Find out more flower symbolism here.

Reader Comments

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African. Violet

How do you take care of African. Violet

African violet care

The tips on how to care for an African Violet are on this very page! if you have further questions, please let us know.

African violet in the Photo

Where can I get an African violet exactly like the one pictured here please?

Should Be Easy

Hi, Dayshauna: Just check with your local nursery or florist… they’ll know! Thanks for asking!

leaves growing over blooms

How do I get the leaves to stop growing over the blooms? The leaves are growing straight up.

I just love all the

I just love all the information you have. Just from reading old questions and answers I have solved so many problems with my violets and other plants. Thank you.

You are ...

… very, very welcome!

wilted leaves

I have a medium-sized African violet that blooms with trailing flowers but the leaves turn brown and wilted-looking. The stems of these leaves are solid. What is wrong with this plant?

Make sure that you don’t

Make sure that you don’t overwater and that the soil drains well. If you have the African violet in a bright window move it to a spot with indirect sunlight for a while. If you are using tap water for watering you may want to switch to bottled water and see if that helps. Many public water supplier use chloramine to treat the water and there are concerns that chloramine may cause African violets not to thrive and leaves turn yellow or brown.

I would love more information

I would love more information on African violets

root growth out of pot

I have an African Violet Plant about 10+ years old. It has always bloomed beautifully. It was growing so large, so I transplanted it into a larger pot. It stopped blooming and the root has come out of the soil. I covered it back with soil and it came out again. So, I left it alone. Now it is about 4 inches out of the soil, and grows towards the sunlight. It is growing out of the pot and I am afraid I will break it if I try and bend it back into the pot. what do I do?

Back to Basics

Hi, Anne: Generally, it’s not a good idea to repot an African violet in a larger pot. It’s hard to tell whether what you are talking about here is the root or actually the stem, but in any event, this plant needs to be cut back and replanted back into a smaller pot or pots. See the African Violet Society link in the Reply of September 2 preceding this and follow the instructions for repotting a long neck, even if indeed you are dealing with a root extension, too (which would need to be cut off). Good luck!

I have an Afican Violet that

I have an Afican Violet that is many years old. It looks very healthy and blooms constantly. It is huge! It now has a large stem that hangs over the side of the pot with all of the leaves and flowers hanging from that stem. Can I cut it back so that it doesn't hang outside of the pot? I don't want to kill the plant but it doesn't look very good the way it is now.

This is a common problem with

This is a common problem with older African violets and is sometimes called "turkey neck". Please see the link below from the African Violet Society for step by step instructions on how to remove the top section of the plant and replant the stem. Click on "How to repot a long neck".

I received a cutting 4 months

I received a cutting 4 months ago; it rooted beautifully in a jar of water and I planted it in African violet soil about 2 months ago. The single leaf is doing well, green and plump but I don't see any sign of more leaf growth. What can I do to help it along? Is it normal to take this long?

Just have patience!! I did

Just have patience!! I did this about 6 months ago. Single leaf looked healthy for many months and finally a teeny tiny leaf emerged..others followed more quickly and now I have a healthy small violet! I kept it watered with Violet fertilizer the sameness I do for my mature plants.

It sounds like you are doing

It sounds like you are doing everything right, Shawna. You might need to give it a little more time. The African Violet Society of America advises that it could take "a period of months."
You might consider doing for your plant what the AVSA advises for starting in soil, especially if you are in an area of relatively low humidity: Put your starter container (with the plant in it, in moist soil) into a zip-lock bag, blow into the bag (adding carbon dioxide) until it puffs up, then close it tightly. The "air" is good for the plant and will help to keep the bag from sagging and touching the leaf. Put the package into a place that gets bright light, but not direct sunlight. That method—a sort of greenhouse—might encourage growth of your cutting.
Or you can wait a while longer.
We hope this helps.

I have had an african violet

I have had an african violet for a couple of years now. Plant is doing beautifully and has grown alot, but I have never had any flowers on it. I do give it fertilizer and I did just repot it for the first time. What to do?

With mine I have found that

With mine I have found that when they do not flower they do not seem to be getting enough light.

Not direct light... just more light... then they bloom a lot...

I moved mine to a window ledge and that made all the difference.

Put them in an east window or

Put them in an east window or make sure they receive early morning sun and that should stimulate blooms.

Mine all do well in east

Mine all do well in east window too!

Mine flowers terrifically.

Mine flowers terrifically. It's in a north facing window and receives 2-4 hrs. of direct light per day. Wish I had more insight, just stupid lucky with this one.

I have been given an African

I have been given an African Violet plant; and dont know the first thing about this plant. Iwill enjoy browsing you information. What a pretty flower!!!

I have received an African

I have received an African Violet as part of a living flower arrangement. Can I leave it in there or should I remove it and re-pot before the roots from the other plants tangle up with it? The current container is about a foot in diameter and it looks like there are about 6 others plants in the container.

African violets have special

African violets have special needs as they are jungle natives. They tend to do better in their own pots--with special African violet soil and fertilizer (or any good potting soil with peat moss plus perlite to keep the soil porous). The pot should be small. A good rule of thumb is to choose a pot that is a third of the diameter of their leaf spread. They like more humidity so it helps to use warm water and set them on small gravel-filled saucers with enough water to keep humidity high as it evaporates. They don't like cold temperature so keep them away from A/C. Just keep soil moist, not soggy nor dry.

I want to grow African violet

I want to grow African violet on my desk at work. There are no windows. what type/watt light work best?

African violets grow well

African violets grow well under artificial light, such as in an office. Try it out!

My African violets were great

My African violets were great when I received them as a gift, but now there are no flowers and lots of big leaves. I had them in the right light and used African violet plant food. Can I cut away the large older leaves to encourage new flower growth? I have a feeling the plant food is now just making the older leaves bigger!

If you are using African

If you are using African Violet plant food, that's a good thing; it's fertilizer that's high nitrogen content which causes leaf growth at the expense of blooms. If you have old leaves, it's OK to remove them.
The usual reason African Violets do not bloom is lack of light. They could do with 12 hours of bright light! You say your plant is getting plenty of light, however, fall is approaching and the daylight hours are lessening. If you really wanted blooms in fall/winter, you could consider inexpensive “cool white” fluorescent lights. Here are more reasons for lack of blooms:

Try watering from

Try watering from bottom!
Mine hadn't bloomed for 2 years watered from bottom and bam beautiful purple blooms

my flowers on my white

my flowers on my white African violet keep going brown the plant is on the window sill what is the problem?

If your African Violet

If your African Violet flowers turn brown, it's possible that your plant has Botrytis blight which is caused by a fungus from too much humidity and poor air circulation. Isolate the infected plant
and remove the diseased leaves and blooms. Increase air circulation by spacing plants at least 1 foot apart. You can also apply a fungicide. We would suggesting taking a sample to your local cooperative extension or garden nursery.

Nice flowers

Nice flowers

Today I refreshed my violets

Today I refreshed my violets by changing the soil. You know no one has ever mentioned the fact that if the leaves are a bit wilty it is time to water deeply. I thought they were dying until I read on the back of the Miracle Gro African Violet soil bag that if the leaves wilt, it is time to water, water, water and drain, drain. I have read many articles on Violets and nothing has ever been mentioned about leaves wilting. Glad I read the back of Miracle Gro bag.

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