General information on the Care of the African violet
The care of African violets is easy and suitable for all age groups. It is not necessary to have knowledge in botany or related field to do well with these plants. An African violets can bloom all year if it receives proper care, however, a rest period will be beneficial.
African violets are easy to reproduce. Several methods can be used.
This is the method used by most people. Most people are unaware that propagating leaf cuttings in water doubles the time before having offspring. The roots formed in water are water roots. When the leaf is transplanted into soil, the water roots will die to make room for the earth roots. Some say they have difficulty when starting directly into the soil, that the leaves tend to rot. In this case, I suggest trying cuttings in a mixture of half and half perlite-vermiculite. It's a mixture that will give soil roots and will be light weight enough to give good root ventilation.
Your leaf should be selected from a robust plant. It should not be taken from the outside row of the plant because they are old leaves. The leaves of the second row are fine. You must then cut the tip of the petiole at an angle of 45 °, leaving about an inch and a half long stem. Plant the leaf in the mixture of perlite, vermiculite also at an angle of 45 °. This allows offspring to fully enjoy all the light without the parent leaf shading them. It takes about 4 to 8 weeks before we see the first planlets develop.
Once the plantlets have reached a respectable size, about 1'' in diameter, you can separate them from the mother leaf. Be careful when doing this! If you're propagating from a variegated plant, you must make sure the plantlet leaves have some green in them before separation. If your plantlets are white, it is very risky to separate them in this condition because they would not survive.
This method is used mainly for plants with chimera flowers. These particular plants can not be reproduced by leaf cuttings. We therefore employ the method of cutting the crown of the violet plant, which is the fastest and safest way to obtain plantlets identical to the parent plant.
Simply cut off the top part of your plant (the crown) leaving the last row of leaves. Of course, it is necessary that this last row shows relatively healthy leaves. If this is not the case, remove the last row of leafs from your plant and then cut out the crown of the plant.
Take the crown you just cut out and place it in a container of rooting soil (perlite, vermiculite) and secure it in 3 places using coffee sticks to prevent it from moving. This will also enable the crown to be re-rooted. Take care of the original plant as you normally would. After a while, plantlets emerge at the center of the original plant. You can then separate them gently with a knife to transplant them individually into their appropriate container.
Other methods of reproduction such as stem cuttings and growing from seed can also be used, but these methods are rarely used.
The African violet is not different from any other plant. It should be watered as needed. Its’ soil should remain moist but not soggy. The violet is more resistant to lack of water rather than to excess. Its’ roots are very delicate and excess water can quickly rot the entire root system.
Several factors may influence the watering needs of violets. These factors are: ambient temperature, humidity, seasons (winter heating and summer cooling) and the size of the containers. A pot of 1 1 / 4'' obviously does not have the same watering needs as a pot of 6'' or 10''. Therefore go with your instincts when it comes to watering your violets. Several clues tell us if it is time to water or not. The color of the soil may be one. Freshly watered ground is darker than dry soil. The weight of the container can also tell us if the plant has been watered recently. You can touch the ground to see if it is wet or dry. You can also use a hygrometer to measure the moisture content of soil in the container.
You can use different fertilizers for growing African violets. Those used most frequently among violet growers are: fertilizer - 20-20-20 / 15-30-15 / 10-52-10 - Natural Fertilizers - Fish Emulsion / Fertilizers earthworm / Superthrive (growth hormone).
Most amateur growers water African violets by placing the fertilizer solution in the saucer and letting the plant take up the water it needs. When saucer watering, the excess water that the plant did not take up after about 15 minutes, should be discarded so that the roots are not left soaking in water. Fertilize with every watering at the rate of 1 / 4 teaspoon of fertilizer per gallon of water, and then every once in awhile, use plain water from above to flush the roots. This procedure allows the minerals to come down and wash out of the roots. This helps to prevent the unpleasant little white ring that can develop around the inside of the pots.
African Violets need a lot of light, but avoid direct sunlight as it could quickly burn the foliage of your plants. The front of a window on the southwest side is the ideal place if you do not grow under artificial light. If you grow under lights, the time generally granted lighting varies between 10 and 12 hours a day and can increase up to 14 hours a day during the exhibition schedule.
If you want to grow under artificial light, the fluorescent light bulbs should be at least 10'' away from standard plants and 8-10” away for semi-miniature and miniature plants.