It’s every houseplant lover’s dream to see their African Violet blooming. However, this turns into a nightmare when problems like it not growing arise.
African Violet may not grow well when the crucial factors, such as the right amount of light, water, and fertilizers aren’t met. The temperature and humidity level, too, can impact the growth and development of your African Violet.
To help you understand how these and other factors can affect the growth of your African Violet, we’ll provide you with the relevant information. We’ll also lay here the possible reasons why the leaves of African Violet are small and what you can do about it, so stick with us.
African Violets adapt well in indoor settings. However, when they fail to receive the crucial conditions they need, it results in them not growing.
Here are the different factors that influence their growth rate:
For African Violets to thrive well in indoor environments, they’ll need to be conditioned in a warm and slightly humid climate. They don’t like being exposed to cold or extreme temperatures for long, nor experience fluctuating temperatures and humidity.
If the growth of your African Violets is slow, it’s best to assess first if the kind of environment they’re in is what this tropical flowering plant likes.
African Violets will be happy when exposed to a consistent temperature between 70-85°F, with a humidity level of 60-80%. To create a humid environment, you may place the pots in a tray with gravel and water or use a humidifier.
African Violets are infatuated with bright and indirect sunlight. These plants are generally slow growers, but a substantial amount of light fuels their growth and ability to bloom quickly.
Yet, when placed in the corner where they don’t get enough light, their growth is curtailed. You may notice that their leaves are smaller than the rest of the happy African flowers. At times, the leaves may stretch upward, which most likely means they’re reaching out for light.
African flowers need at least eight hours of natural sunlight. You can place this plant on the east-facing windowsill and turn them around at some point to allow an even distribution of light.
You may also place them for 12-16 hours under grow lights, especially during winter.
There’s danger in everything that gets “too much” of something. Prolonged exposure of your African Violet to sunlight, for example, can impact this plant negatively.
For starters, direct sunlight can dehydrate and burn the foliage of your African Violet. Likewise, excess light and powerful grow lights may result in this plant having small, curling leaves.
As you may see, light plays a crucial part in the growth of this plant. For the most part, African Violet should only get eight hours of bright indirect sunlight.
When you place your African Violet in the north or east-facing window, you may have to hang a sheer curtain to filter intense sunlight.
If supplemented with grow lights, this plant needs to be exposed for no more than 16 hours. They’ll need at least eight hours of darkness, too, so they can rest and trigger blooming.
African Violet may be a little tricky when it comes to watering requirements. Yet, what you should know is, this plant needs just the right amount of water.
This flowering plant likes to stay moist but doesn’t want to dry up completely in between watering. Too much and too little water can cause its root to die and lead the plant not to grow.
To know when it’s the right time to feed your African Violet some water, feel for the soil on the top of its pot. If it’s dry to the touch, you can water it.
The best practice in watering this plant is from below, as it’ll allow the root to absorb just the right amount. To do this, you may place the pot into a container with one inch of warm water and let it sit there for 30 minutes to an hour.
This plant prefers to be slightly root-bound in a small container about one-third of its crown’s diameter. Over time, this pot may become too small to hold the roots of your African Violet, causing this plant to stop growing.
Once the roots show up on top or at the bottom, you may transfer the plant into a slightly larger pot. Growers highly suggest repotting this plant once or twice a year.
Now, one important thing you should be aware of is that the roots of African Violets don’t go that deep. Sometimes, the soil at the very bottom can even clog the airways, causing the roots to be suffocated.
If you’re to use a deep pot, you can fill it with at least ½ of gravel to allow for airspace.
Soil is another important factor that you should consider. These African Violets prefer a good soil mix that drains well. The ideal mixture is one part sand, one part peat, and two parts fertile loam. You might also need to add dolomite lime to get a pH balance of 6.0 to 7.0.
To make things easy, you may simply purchase a special mix of African Violets from the nursery or the nearest garden center in your area.
If all the other factors are met and you think none of them is the culprit, what’s causing the stunted growth is probably the fertilizers.
With the small pot this plant is usually placed into, it’ll eventually consume all the nutrients available. If this happens and they aren’t able to get supplemental nutrients from fertilizers, they’ll stop growing.
To ensure proper growth, feed your African Violet with fertilizers every four to six weeks during spring.
There are fertilizers specially formulated for African Violets. What you want to make sure of is to pick balanced ones containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. As much as possible, avoid using fertilizers with urea on its label since this can be harmful to your African Violet.
Another concern you might have is the leaves of your African Violet are smaller compared to when you bought it in stores.
While all the factors we’ve mentioned above can impact the condition of the leaves, there are at least two more probable causes for this.
A pest infestation can cause the leaves of African Violet to be brittle, stunted, and distorted.
One of the serious pests causing problems in African Leaves is Cyclamen mites. They’re extraordinarily small and aren’t visible to the naked eye.
They target the leaves in the center of the plant, which often causes their stunted growth. At other times, you may notice some leaves curling and appearing grayish.
Another common pest on African Violets is Mealybugs. They stay on leaves and stems, and suck the plant’s sap. This causes the leaves of African Violets to become stunted and distorted.
To get rid of these pests, spray the plants with warm water or remove them with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.
Over-fertilization is one of the common causes of small leaves on African Violet. Too much fertilizer can be toxic to your plant’s roots and may even cause them to rot.
Assess for some irregularities, like brown or reddish leaves as well as yellow veins on the top and bottom parts of the leaves. Look for crystal buildup on the surface of the soil as well.
If these signs are present, you’ll have to remove the excess fertilizer by scooping it up or by leaching it with water.
African Violets are slow to grow, but they can live for decades. At some point, you may worry about your African Violet not growing, but knowing what’s wrong will help you make the necessary interventions.
The amount of light, water, and fertilizer should be considered; since too little or too much of these crucial factors can impact the growth of this plant.
The environment around your African Violet can influence their growth rate, too. Hence, you have to keep them in an area where they can get a temperature of 70-85°F and humidity level of 60-80%.
Ensuring that these crucial conditions are met will help your African Violet grow at the pace that’s common in healthy ones.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.