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The Best Soil for African Violets (Everything You Need to Know)

The Best Soil for African Violets (Everything You Need to Know)

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Are you planning to add African Violets to your collection? Or do you already have some in need of repotting?

In any case, you must be wondering what the best soil for African Violets could be.

The good news is that there are many types of suitable potting soil you can choose from. You can also learn to make your own soil mix and save some money.

Either way, picking the right soil is essential if you want your plants to grow healthy and strong.

That’s why, in today’s article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the right soil for African Violets. We’ll also show you an easy way to prepare your very own soil mixture.

What Kind of Soil Do African Violets Need?

Although African Violets are hardy plants and require low maintenance, they’re a little picky when it comes to soil.

Generally, African Violets don’t do well in dirt-based or sandy soil. Plus, most regular potting soil mixes aren’t a suitable choice.

For starters, these plants require proper watering. As a result, the soil should be well-draining to get rid of excess water.

Additionally, the soil should be porous to allow air to reach the roots of your plants. Keep in mind that it needs to be well-ventilated, so it shouldn’t be heavy or compressed to allow for proper airflow.

The soil should also be slightly acidic.

What Are the Essential Components of African Violet Soil?

Typically, African Violet soil should have good drainage, as well as some water retention properties.

On top of that, it should be able to anchor the roots of the plants to allow them to grow to their full potential.

Yet, when it comes to what it’s made of, you should note that some ingredients fare better than others because they’re able to provide these properties to the soil.

Whether you’re buying commercial potting soil or making a DIY version, it should include some, if not all, of these components.

Take a look.

Peat Moss

Peat moss is basically the harvested parts of decaying plants left behind in mossy peat bogs. What’s good about it is that it’s rich in acidic content, which African Violets love.

On top of that, it slowly releases moisture into the plant. Thus, its retention level is highly suitable for African Violets.

Unfortunately, peat moss isn’t the most eco-friendly option. It requires a lot of time and effort to harvest peat moss, which can take a toll on the environment.


While it may look like pieces of polystyrene, perlite is made of volcanic glass. When this glass is exposed to extremely high temperatures, it pops like popcorn, creating perlite in the process.

Perlite plays an essential role in draining excess water from the soil. The texture and properties of perlite can trap air and help any extra moisture escape, which reduces the risk of root rot and other fungal infections.


Vermiculite is a mineral that comes in the shape of glossy flakes. It’s a non-toxic material that doesn’t mold or rot. It also significantly improves the quality of any soil tenfold.

With vermiculite, you can increase the drainage of almost any type of soil. More importantly, it can still hold an adequate amount of water, which your plants need.

Plus, it’s effective at allowing the air to reach the roots of your plants. This helps boost airflow and enhance soil conditions.

Coconut Coir

Coconut coir is a natural hydroponic growing medium. It’s made from treated coir parts of coconuts.

This underrated potting soil component offers plenty of benefits for your African Violets. For starters, it can retain the right amount of moisture, so the soil doesn’t get waterlogged.

Moreover, it has antifungal properties, and at the same time, it helps promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.

The best part is that coco coir is eco-friendly. It can even be compressed to around one-fifth of its original size, which saves a lot on packaging and shipping.

However, it has a neutral pH, so you’ll need to combine it with an acidic ingredient, like peat moss to make your African Violets happy.

Are African Violets Acid-Loving Plants?

Yes, African Violets love slightly acidic soil. The soil pH level should be between 5.8 and 6.2.

In fact, if you use soil with a pH of more than 6.2, your plants might find it difficult to absorb the nutrients they need from the soil.

This lack of nutrients, in turn, can cause various problems for your plants. In cases where the pH level is out of their preferred range, you’ll need to repot the plant.

Therefore, it’s crucial to maintain the soil in this range by conducting regular pH tests.

Can I Use Regular Potting Soil for African Violets?

Unfortunately, you can’t use most regular potting soil mixes for African Violets. Most of the mixes have a neutral pH level, which won’t be suitable for your violets.

Regular mixes usually contain too much organic matter than what these types of plants typically need. These types of potting mixes can hold water for a longer period.

They’re also too dense and heavy, which will stop air from reaching the roots of the plants. This can cause various health problems, including root rot.

So, you should completely avoid using regular potting mixes for African Violets.

Your alternative is to make your own mix or buy a ready mix.

Can I Use Orchid Soil for African Violets?

Both Orchids and African Violets share some similar soil requirements. They both need their soil to be well-draining, porous, and light.

However, the type of soil used for Orchid plants isn’t identical to that used for the African Violet.

Each plant grows in different conditions. They also don’t share the same requirements, like watering frequency and preferred levels of humidity.

Therefore, Orchid soil isn’t suitable for African Violets.

Can I Use Cactus Soil for African Violets?

Yes, you can as long as they have the right properties suitable for goring your violets.

Keep in mind that many types of cactus soil are suitable for African Violets. They contain similar ingredients used to make violet soil mixes, like peat moss, perlite, and peat humus.

These types of ingredients can make the soil well-draining while holding on to just the right amount of water to keep your plants happy.

However, some succulent mixes don’t hold water for long periods. This makes it challenging for your plants to get the nutrients they need.

Moreover, you need to make sure that the soil is slightly acidic and not too heavy. In some cases, you might need to balance the pH of the soil to make it suitable for your plants.

In other words, it can be a hassle to make sure that a certain cactus mix is perfectly suitable for African Violets.

So, we don’t recommend this option for beginners.

Can I Use African Violet Soil for a Christmas Cactus or Other Plants?

Christmas cactus needs light, porous, well-draining soil to thrive. Luckily, any African Violet soil mix has these properties.

So, you can use the same mix in your Christmas cactus plant pot.

The African Violet mix can also be used with other cacti and succulents, as they share similar characteristics.

How to Make African Violet Soil Mix

Preparing a DIY African Violet potting mix is pretty simple.

All you need to do is mix together the right ingredients. You might also need to pasteurize the soil mix to eliminate any hidden disease or bacteria growth.

Types of DIY Soil Mixes

You can either make soilless or a modified soil-based mix for your plant. Both types work great with African Violet.

Modified Soil-Based Mixes

You can grab any houseplant potting mix and modify it with some additives, and it’ll be suitable for your African Violets.

There are a lot of recipes that work well with this plant. Yet, one of the most common mixes consists of houseplant potting soil with equal parts of vermiculite and perlite.

You can also use any combination of the following ingredients in your potting mix:

  • Peat moss
  • Black peat
  • Coco coir
  • Humus
  • Sand

Soilless Mixes

These mixes work rather well with the plant. They allow for effective aeration and drainage.

Here’s an example of a good soilless recipe:

  • 1.25 quarts of perlite
  • 2.25 quarts of peat moss
  • 1.25 quarts of vermiculite
  • 2.5 tablespoons of limestone
  • 1.25 teaspoons superphosphate

Pasteurizing Your DIY Soil Mix

Your mix might contain bacteria, insects, or various kinds of diseases. That’s why experts recommend that you pasteurize your soil mix before using it.

Here’s how:

  1. First, preheat your oven to 180°F.
  2. Second, add a bit of water to the soil mix and spread it evenly on a roasting tray.
  3. After that, cover the mix with aluminum foil and leave it in the oven for around 45–60 minutes.
  4. Take the tray out of the oven and remove the foil cover.
  5. Finally, leave the tray in the open air for around four days, stirring it a couple of times each day to keep it well-ventilated.

Final Thoughts

So, what’s the best soil for African Violets? Luckily, you can find plenty of high-quality commercial potting mixes for African Violet.

You can also make your own soil mix. It’s a fun activity, and it might save you some money as well.

There are a lot of components that you can choose from. You might even find some of them lying around your garden.

All you need to do is to just follow the tips we’ve mentioned in today’s guide.

Whether you choose the ready-mix or make your own, your plants will love you for it!

Happy gardening!

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