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What to Do When Your African Violet Is Not Flowering

If you have a green thumb, you might want to consider growing African violets in your house. These are small houseplants that provide you with clusters of beautiful flowers that can be blue, white, purple, or other brilliant colors. However, they can be kind of stubborn when it comes to blooming.

If you see that your African violet is not flowering, there are a few things that you should try to change the situation. It’s important to give these plants the right amount of light, water, and fertilizer; make sure the temperature is optimal and that the plant is potted correctly.

If you have trouble getting your African violets to bloom, there are things that you can do to remedy the problem. Read on to learn a few tips on how to help these plants flourish!

Manage Light Well

For African violets to bloom, light is crucial. A lack of light is actually the most common reason why African violets don’t bloom well. If they don’t have enough sunlight exposure, they will tend to grow overly tall in an attempt to reach the light source and not produce enough flowers.

These flowers need at least 10 to 14 hours of bright but indirect sunlight daily for maximum flowering. If you can locate your plant close to an east- or north-facing window in the summers, close to the west- or south-facing window in the winter, this would be the ideal situation. These positions will provide the plant with the optimal amount of light throughout the year.

Alternatively, you can use fluorescent lights. If the summer sun is too bright, you might want to use fluorescent or LED lights in this situation, just so that the sun doesn’t burn the leaves of your African violets. These lights could also be a good solution in the winter when there might not be enough natural sunlight.

However, it is also possible for African violets to be exposed to too much sunlight. If they have too much light, the leaves can end up burned. African violets actually need about eight hours of darkness each night. The light will allow them to produce florigen, which is a flowering hormone. However, the florigen won’t actually provoke blooming until the plant is exposed to darkness.

It’s also a good idea to rotate your pot weekly so that all leaves receive an equal amount of light. Alternatively, you can give each of the pots a quarter-turn every other day. In the winter, you might want to provide your African violets with an additional grow light, to give them extra daylight during these shorter days.

Water: Not Too Much, Not Too Little

You also need to make sure to water your African violets the correct amount. They do best when they are evenly moist, meaning that the soil is about as wet as a sponge that you have thoroughly wrung out.

If you overwater your African violets, so that the soil is saturated, you might end up dealing with root rot. However, if the soil is too dry for long periods of time, the roots can start to die. In either case, if the roots are unhealthy, the plant will typically not flower properly, because it will be putting all of its energy into maintaining the roots to survive.

In fact, watering the plants from below would be a good idea here. You can fill the saucer using water that is at room temperature. Allow it to sit for approximately an hour, and then get rid of any excess water. Let the soil dry out between watering sessions. If the water is too cold, it can damage the root system or cause spotting if you spill it on the leaves.

Control the Temperature

In order to ensure that your African violets will bloom, keep their surroundings warm. Typically, they thrive when it is 70°F to 80°F (21.1°C to 26.7°C) in the daytime and 65°F to 70°F (18.3°C to 21.1 °C) at night. When the temperature goes below 60°F (15.6°C), the violets are more likely to stop flowering and may even die.

Consistency is also important; the temperature should not vary within a range of more than about 5°F during the night and day. 

Be Smart About Fertilizer

How you manage fertilizer can have a real effect on how well your African violets will flower. Typically, you will be growing African violets inside the house. This means that the plants are entirely dependent on you and the environment that you create, as opposed to the elements that affect outdoor plants.

You will need to be vigilant about providing just the right amount of fertilizer. The small pots in which African violets are typically grown won’t maintain large reserves of nutrients, meaning that you need to fertilize them regularly. This is important so that the plants will have the necessary nutrients to allow flowering.

However, you don’t want to put in too much fertilizer either. With the high nitrogen content, this could actually lead to a lot of lush foliage and very little flowering.

It would be a good idea to use a plant food designed specifically for African violets to make sure that your plant gets the right proportions of nutrients.

The fertilizer should contain all major plant nutrients, including nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Phosphorus is particularly important for healthy roots and flowering; accordingly, fertilizers for flowering plants are usually richer in phosphorus than nitrogen.

If you have a lot of experience with plants, you may find it easier to use a diluted solution of fertilizer each time you water the plant. In any case, make sure that you follow the directions on the label when you use fertilizer so that you don’t use the wrong amount.

Make Sure It Is Properly Potted

If you repot your African violet, you should make sure that the pot isn’t too big. These plants bloom best when they are root-bound. It is a good idea to repot your plants every now and then because it refreshes the soil. However, you should make sure that you don’t report your plant into a pot that is bigger than one-third of the diameter of the plant.

When you repot the plant, make sure that you use an organic potting soil that was created specifically for African violets.

Prune Properly

Most of the time, African violets will eventually have multiple crowns and side shoots. These will take resources away from the parent plant, and they will interfere with flowering as well.

If you see that your violet has more than one crown, you can separate them. Let the soil dry out a little bit, and then take the plant out of the pot. Pull the sections apart, gently, but firmly. If you have a division removed with some of the roots attached, you can plant it in a separate pot and start a separate plant.

You can put the parent plant back in the original pot, free to flower without the encumbrances.

Final Thoughts

If your African violets are not thriving, the first thing you should do is make sure that they are receiving adequate light. Then, you can examine the rest of the important factors and see if there are problems.

These plants are known to be fussy when it comes to flowering and blooming. You need to create conditions that are just right. However, you won’t experience the full beauty of the plant until you are able to allow it to fully bloom. This is why any effort you make to boost your plant’s health will be well worth it.