African Violets are fan favorites for many reasons, among which are their low maintenance and the fact that they bloom all year long.
However, just like any plant, it needs the proper TLC. Aside from putting your African Violet in a well-lit space and watering it regularly, you also need to invest in an excellent fertilizer to help aid your little beauties in producing their best flowers and foliage.
Generally, an all-purpose fertilizer can do the job, but nowadays, you can choose from a wide range of fertilizers specifically made for African Violets.
All-purpose is recommended as it’s milder and contains the right proportion of vitamins and minerals specific to African Violets. To learn more about fertilizers and African Violets, see the details below.
Plants, in general, can survive without fertilizer, but it’s a matter of thriving. Generally, plants need the right amount of vitamins, micro, and macronutrients to reach their full potential.
African Violets can produce flowers all year long. However, not using fertilizers specific to its needs means a slower flowering cycle and fewer flowers throughout the year.
These little beauties give a colorful show, so it needs aid to do so through fertilizers.
Fertilizers come in many forms. They can mainly be organic or non-organic. Organic fertilizers are popular for bigger-scale planting. It includes the collection and processing of raw materials (animal manure, dried organic matter, etc.) to make fertilizers.
On the other hand, chemical fertilizers are popular for indoor ornamental plants or groups of them. They’re more practical because they have general instructions. You can also control the amount and type of components.
If you have the experience, space, and time, organic fertilizers are undeniably better because you’ll know what goes into your plant.
However, opt for a chemical fertilizer if you’re on the busier side, yet want an efficient and effective way of fertilizing your African Violets.
In case you’re on the hunt for the best chemical fertilizer, check these factors before purchasing:
These elements should be present in your fertilizer because they’re fundamental in your African Violet’s growth.
Nitrogen allows your plant to capture light and convert it into energy. The optimum amount of nitrogen boosts your plant’s growth as it has enough energy reservoirs. If your African Violet grows slowly, it might need a nitrogen boost.
Phosphorus helps store your plant’s energy and promote root growth. Subsequently, it also aids your plant to bloom. So if you want your African Violet to produce healthy flowers all year long, ensure it’s fed with phosphorus.
Potassium makes your plant stronger by strengthening its cell wall. It makes it less vulnerable to diseases and promotes better root growth. A plant low in potassium often has yellow and brown leaves.
Plants have varying proportions of these essential components. For African Violets, the recommended ratio is 14-12-14. If you’re buying your fertilizer, make sure to find this indication.
Nutrients are transported in the plant’s body through the xylem. To allow this, the nutrients must be water-soluble. Otherwise, your plant won’t absorb them. For short, water-soluble fertilizer is easier for plants to digest.
Urea is a synthetic material used to replicate nitrogen particles. It’s commercially used to increase nitrogen levels and can harm your plant. African Violets are commonly planted in a pot, so applying a strong chemical in an enclosed space would increase root burn.
If your African Violet doesn’t bloom regularly or produces fewer flowers after every cycle, you might consider using a fertilizer.
After mixing the right proportion of fertilizer with the water, apply it in the morning. Fertilizing it early in the day will give it enough time to drain excess moisture and avoid fungal infections.
Watering at night will dampen your plants longer due to lower temperatures.
Additionally, remember that rusty discoloration on your plant’s leaves is a sign of over-fertilization. If this happens, flush the excess fertilizer immediately by pouring sufficient water and letting it drain. Again, it’s best to do this in the morning.
Wait for three weeks or until the plant starts to recover before fertilizing it again.
As a rule of thumb, after three to four weeks. The key is to keep it consistent and mild. To achieve this, you can fertilize it in longer intervals or daily.
If you choose to fertilize the plant through intervals, you can do it during its blooming season. It’s usually after three to four weeks. You can follow the usual instructions on the fertilizer’s packaging. Consistency is vital in this method, so mark your calendar.
However, if you want your fertilization routine to be laxer, you can do it daily. To avoid root burn, divide the total amount of fertilizer used for its regular three to four intervals by thirty (typical number of days in a month).
Mix the amount with water and just water the plant like you usually do in the morning. Most enthusiasts would prefer bottom watering. It helps keep your leaves fungi-free and looking pretty too.
The short answer is yes. It works especially well with succulents, poinsettias, amaryllis, and primrose.
Most African Violet fertilizers contain essential nutrients for plant growth. However, its proportion of nutrients is specific to African Violets, so you need to make adjustments.
If you’re unsure how much your plant needs, you can dilute half a teaspoon of water-soluble fertilizer to a quarter of water and feed it to your plant.
You can use this solution every other week. Observe your plant and adjust the interval.
If you’re using a solid version of the fertilizer, you can put it near the plant’s base and replenish it when it’s completely dissolved. Make sure to put a moderate amount to avoid root burn. For a safer option, use a slow-release version.
A perfect potting mix for African Violets retains just the proper moisture, allows airflow, holds fertilizer, and boosts humidity. To achieve this, you can mix the following components:
It holds water but doesn’t waterlog your plant’s roots. It releases moisture slowly in the enclosed space creating a humid environment that African Violets love.
It’s a non-toxic mineral that doesn’t decompose. As such, the plant becomes less susceptible to pest infestation as well as bacterial and fungal infections. Overall it keeps your potting mix sterile and your plant healthier.
Additionally, it holds more nutrients like ammonium, potassium, and calcium, thus accelerating root growth.
Peat Moss is extracted from decaying plants in peat bogs.
Like perlite and vermiculite, it also stores moisture and slowly releases it to the soil. More than this, it increases acidity in soil, which in turn, retains its structure for a long time.
African Violets enjoy bits of sunlight here and there, but they shouldn’t be left under the sun. Doing so can burn their delicate flowers and leaves. Put it near the window or in a well-lit room.
Yes, you heard that right. African Violets benefit from being pot-bound. They usually flower after being root-bound, so don’t move it to a bigger pot until then.
One of the signs you can do so is when the plant starts to flower a lot and looks fuller. Additionally, check its stem. If it’s bare and all the leaves are at the top, the plant’s ready to be transferred.
The usual interval to do this is once every year.
African Violet fertilizers come in many types and variations. Using organic and inorganic fertilizer cost just about the same. In reality, there’s no one size fits all. The best fertilizer depends on your knowledge and time availability.
Experienced gardeners and enthusiasts might want to experiment with organic and solid fertilizers. On the other hand, busy and newbie plant parents might find inorganic fertilizers user-friendly since they have instructions and are controllable.
Whatever the case, it’s crucial to observe your plant’s needs and its environment before you decide on what fertilizer to use.
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.