Nothing adds color to your interior décor than the colorful blooms of the African violets. These houseplants have been used for years, and with the extra care, they can bloom continuously, even in the darker winter months.
Are you a beginner introducing flowering plants into your house? Look no further than African violets since they grow easily, and it is simple to meet their basic needs. So, do African violets like sun?
African violet needs good lighting to thrive but not direct sunlight. For optimum growth, African violets require 1000 foot-candles of light for eight to twelve hours daily. During dark winter, you may need to improvise lighting for African violets by using bright LEDs to provide heat and lights.
Before considering how much sun the plant needs, let’s briefly evaluate its characteristics.
African Violet’s Characteristics
The African violet (also scientifically known as Saintpaulia) is one of the most popular house plants Worldwide.
The table below includes the main characteristics of African violet.
|Genus name||Genus name|
|Scientific Name||Saintpaulia spp.|
|Common name||– African violet|
– Cape Marigold
|Plant Type||You can find round, rosette, or mound African violets.|
|Propagation||The easiest way to propagate African violets is by leaf cuttings.|
|Leaf Color||The color also varies from bright green, silvery green, and creamy white to deep green.|
|Leaf Shape||It has various leaf shapes, including heart-shaped, round, fuzzy, or oval.|
|Flower Color||– Blue|
– And white
|Flower Shape||Wasp, star, single, double, and semi-double.|
|Maintenance requirements||African violets are one of the easiest houseplants to grow and care for.|
|pH Requirements||African violet thrives in a slightly acid soil mix with a pH between 6.0 to 6.5.|
|Soil Drainage||African violets grow well in well-drained and loose soil.|
|Light Requirements||To thrive, African violets require bright light, about 1000-foot candles (but avoid direct sunlight).|
|African Violet Plant Size||African violet’s size depends on the variety. Generally, African Viole grows between: |
– African violet grows 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) or less in diameter for a miniature or semi-miniature size.
– Standard African violet 8 to 16 inches (20 to 41 cm)
– And large African violet can grow over 16 inches (over 41 cm)
|African Violet Fertilizer Requirements||You can purchase fertilizers explicitly formulated for African violets. For optimum results, always use a balanced fertilizer that includes all of the vital plant nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Nitrogen is particularly essential for the growth and development of leaves and stems.|
|Toxicity||According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), African violets are not toxic to cats, dogs, and horses.|
|USDA Plant Hardiness Zone||11 and 12|
|Region Of Origin||Tanga region of Tanzania in Africa|
How Much Sun Do African Violets Need?
Generally, African violet needs at least 12 hours of sunlight to thrive and grow healthy. In addition, African violets need adequate light from the sun, the right temperature, and good feeding to start blooming. Their elegantly shaped leaves, compact structure, and bright flowers provide the charm to cheer up your room and make anyone smile.
Although African violets blossoms in light, they need indirect light conditions. If you subject them to direct sun, the heat will burn them, derail their growth, and hinder them from blooming.
You can give them direct sunlight during winter because the light is limited. African violets will be agreeable to the bright afternoon winter light since it is less potent.
However, you could provide your African violet with filtered bright light during summer, spring, and fall, especially on hot afternoons. Place your plant under shade or block direct sun rays with sheer curtains.
During these periods, you can place your African violet in the east or north-facing window to prevent the strong sun from damaging it. Alternatively, you can push the plant container a few feet away from the window, replacing it with a desk or bookshelf.
Remember that the African violet also needs periods of darkness to blossom. Therefore, ensure that your plant enjoys moderate sunlight for at least 12 hours and 8 hours of darkness.
But, how do you know if your African violet suffers from a lack of adequate light?
The leaves may turn yellow, stunted bloom growth, and leggy stems. These signs signify that the plant lacks proper light that supports photosynthesis and nutrition.
On the other hand, light green or bleached leaves would indicate that the plant is getting too much light.
Professional tip: It is essential that you give your African violet a quarter turn every week so that all sides of the plant get adequate sun. It will also ensure that the plant grows evenly and maintains a symmetrical rosette.
Can African Violets Get Too Much Light?
Too much sunlight can be deadly to African violets in the most severe cases, causing Leaf Scorch. In addition, too much sun can burn African violets’ leaves. And too little light can cause African violets not to bloom well and produce few or no flowers as they thrive in bright and indirect sun.
An east-facing window is ideal, with a sheer curtain blocking the sun’s harshest rays. Furthermore, African violets need eight hours of darkness every night.
Even though they need adequate light to produce a flowering hormone called florigen, florigen does not generally trigger blooming until it darkens. If you grow African violets under lights, avoid running them for more than 16 hours a day.
Signs That Your African Violets Need More Light
Yellowing leaves indicate that your African violet is not getting enough light. Another sign that generally goes with the yellowing of leaves is that your African violet will stop producing flowers. Consider moving your African violet into a brighter location if you notice any of these signs.
Best Place To Put An African Violet
We have already established that African violet does not thrive in direct sunlight, so you want to avoid exposing your beautiful plant to the scorching heat that could burn it or stunt its growth.
The best position to place this plant depends on the season. For example:
- During the hot summer, spring, and fall, you can let your plant face east or north window to benefit from mild morning light penetrating through these windows.
- During winter, your African violets could be placed near the west or south-facing window, allowing the winter’s potent light to aid in photosynthesis. Ensure your keep the plant’s a few feet away from bright direct sunlight hitting the south or east-facing window during hot seasons.
- If your house does not have a suitable window, you can place the plant under the fluorescent light fixture with 40-watt lighting tubes. The fixtures should be suspended 8 to 10 inches above the plant’s leaves and can be left on for 12 to 16 hours daily.
- African violet thrives at a temperature of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, ensure you keep the plant away from heat sources and cold drafts.
- African violet’s foliage adds to the beauty of the place; however, they are very sensitive and need extra care to thrive.
What Is The Best Light For African Violets?
In nature, the wild African violets grow in deep shadow; however, today’s hybrid can tolerate brighter indirect light. Most African violets benefit from natural light on a windowsill, allowing them to grow more compactly and freely blossom.
Sometimes your house may not have adequate light depending on where you live. In that case, you can substitute or supplement natural light with an alternative lighting system.
If you go for an artificial lighting system, you should do thorough research because these lighting alternatives have different efficiency, the spectrum of the display, and heat. Manufacturers of these lights often change or improve the specs, so confirm to determine if the one you buy is good for your African violet.
Some unique artificial lighting includes:
1- T12 Fluorescent Light Fixtures
Many growers use T12 Fluorescent light fixtures because they are affordable and easy to find in stores and online. They have a suitable combination of cool white and warm white tubes, thus making the plants appealing to the eyes.
These two tubes give your plants a full light spectrum, with the blue light producing foliage as the red light producing bloom. Furthermore, if you grow the plant in your basement, T12 fluorescent light fixtures lighting will provide more heat, leading to stronger and faster growth.
2- Philips Instantfit T-12 LED tubes
You can install daylight and warm white LED tubes, and your African violets will happily grow and bloom. The tubes measure 48-inches long and are equipped with 2100 lumens; however, the end of each tube has weak light.
Since LEDs are directly above the plant, the leaves below may twist to reach the light. It is important to regularly turn the plant to access the light for adequate growth.
3- T5HO Fluorescent Light Bulbs
You can place the 5000K T5HO fluorescent light bulbs above African violets, achieving a 3000-3500 Lux for standard. The mini and semi-mini bulbs provide 4500-5000 Lux.
How Much Light Is Too Much for African Violet?
Moderate filtered natural light is sufficient for the plant. You can only allow mild morning or evening light; otherwise, it should always be indirect light.
How do you know that the light is excess? Place your hand above the plant receiving the sunlight; if you feel heat or warm, the light is too much for the plant. Alternatively, if you see a shadow of your hands from the light on the African violet, you know the light is excess and should move the plant further away from the window.
If you are using artificial lights, remember that the intensity will increase as the plant grows and the distance from the light source reduces. Therefore, it is essential to continue checking the light distance because if the African violet plant is close, it will develop symptoms like those subjected to too much sunlight, such as leaf scorch.
Generally, African violets need at least 8 hours of darkness daily, which means that light exposure beyond 16 hours could be too much light. You could use a timer to regulate your lighting regulation.
African Violets Care And Problems
African violets need adequate care to improve their growth and advancement. You can do the following to care for your plants:
- Ensure the temperature is approximately 70 degrees F and the humidity at 40-60% by grouping plants together or mulching with pebbles.
- Ensure the plants do not sit in water by planting them in well-drained soilless potting mixes. Soggy or waterlogged soil could rot the stem and roots of your African violets.
- Avoid using chlorinated or softened water to water your plants. You can use rain, distilled, or reverse-osmosis water.
How Do You Water Your African Violets?
- Using a syringe, baster, or bottle, you can water them from the top.
- You can also water from the bottom using self-watering pots
- Additionally, you can use a wick to provide moisture to your plant.
African Violet Problems
This beautiful blooming plant is not devoid of problems. Here are some challenges with African violet and their corrective measures.
- Dust, soil, and debris accumulating on the leaves
- Solution– you can use a soft cloth or dry paintbrush to remove the debris and dead leaves.
- Lack of flowers due to long narrow leaves caused by cold temperature and lack of adequate light.
- Solution– relocate the African violet plants near the window or add artificial light. You could also increase the temperature to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
- Pale or bleach leaves caused by excessive light
- Solution– You can relocate the plant to a place with less light.
- Leaf spots caused by water settling on the leaves
- Solution– You can water the plant from the bottom
- Tight plant centers caused by over-fertilization
- Solution– Flush plant using plain water to remove excess fertilizer
African violet needs adequate indirect light for foliage and blossom. However, the direct sunlight will burn your African violet or stunt its growth.
You also want to ensure that the African violet gets enough dark time (at least 8 hours) and at least 16 hours of light.