The Q&A Archives: african violets

Question: My African violets aren't showing any progress in growing. I keep them in a terrarium and water them daily but they don't recieve much direct sunlight. What am I doing wrong?

Answer: African Violets are not especially fast-growing plants, but if yours seem stalled in their development, maybe they are receiving quite the environment they need. Here are some secrets to successful growing: Give the plants average household temperatures, but avoid drafts or sudden changes in temperature. Place the plants in a bright, sunny window, but keep it from getting direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist, but wait until the soil surface begins to dry before watering. Use tepid, not cold water, and try not to get water on the leaves or crowns of the plants when you apply water. African violets like humidity in the air. To increase humidity, place the pot on a tray of pebbles in which you keep about a half-inch of water. As the water evaporates it will add humidity. Some expert gardeners are able to get African violets to bloom ten months of the year. This is because the plants are given perfect growing conditions. More often, though, African violets will bloom for a few weeks, then rest for several weeks, and then bloom again. Cut the flowers and stems off when the flowers fade.

You might try feeding them with a little bit of diluted (half-strength) liquid fertilizer every 3-4 weeks to see if that has an effect on their performance. Because they are in a terrarium, you don't want to overdo the feeding. Hope the above helps your plants perk right up!

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