How to Force an African Violet to Bloom

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African violets need bright light during the day and total darkness at night.
African violets need bright light during the day and total darkness at night. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

African violets have been kept as houseplants since Victorian times. Part of their attraction is their habit of blooming almost constantly throughout the year. The dainty blossoms grow on stems that originate at the center of the plant and rise to a height just above the foliage. Although they are finicky about requirements such as water, temperature and fertilizer, the most common reason for African violets to fail to bloom is improper light.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard box
  • African violet fertilizer
  • Distilled water
  • Flower pot (optional)

Place the African violet near a bright, south- or west-facing window in a position where it is out of the direct rays of the sun.

Provide complete darkness for at least eight hours every night. If the room isn’t completely dark when you turn out the lights, cover the plant with an upturned cardboard box.

Fertilize the plant with an African violet plant food according to the package instructions. Plants that don’t get enough nutrients won’t bloom, and those that get too much of the wrong nutrients produce lush foliage but no flowers.

Water when the soil is dry to touch using distilled water. Chlorine and water softener salts build up in the potting soil, eventually damaging the roots and preventing flowering.

Provide a pot that is just big enough to hold the roots without much room to spare. If you think your pot is too big, repot into a smaller one.

Tips & Warnings

  • African violets thrive in comfortable room temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Don’t be concerned if the older leaves near the bottom of the plant shrivel and turn brown. This is normal for African violets, and you can pinch them off and discard them.

References

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