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African Violets

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The African Violet is America's most popular blooming houseplant. Well grown violets flower easily and almost continually on the windowsill or under fluorescent light. No other plant is as versatile, adaptable and potentially satisfying as this blooming indoor ornamental. 

If you pay attention to the basic requirements contained on this sheet, your plants will reward you with flowers throughout the year. 

Light, ample light, is the single most important requirement of the plant for good bloom. A bright windowsill is best in fall and winter. However, do not allow sun to shine directly on the plant. As days lengthen and sunshine becomes more intense, you may want to shade plants somewhat to avoid to avoid overexposure. A light meter is very helpful in verifying proper intensities. We recommend daytime light intensity in the range of 500 to 1500 foot candles. A good general rule is that MORE LIGHT helps to bring the shy bloomer into flower. 

Fluorescent light is very satisfactory for violets and related plants, and fluorescent gardens, illuminated with cool white and warm white tubes are best. Lights should be on for 12 or 14 hours and tubes should be 8" or 10" from the tops of the plants. Try to maintain at least 500 foot candles at the plant level. Two fluorescent tubes, each four feet long, are sufficient to light an area four feet long and 18. wide. A general rule is to provide about 15 watts of fluorescent light for each square foot of growing area.

Watering in moderate supply is important. Violets are-most conveniently watered from below by adding water to the saucers or trays. However, do not allow plants to remain in wet trays for more than a couple of hours. Water should be used up completely before more is added. About once a month you should top water your plants with air temperature water. This helps redistribute fertilizer and maintains uniform moisture through the soil. 

Temperature requirements of violet plants and violet growers are happily about the same. A 65 F night temperature is satisfactory and day temperatures between 70 F and 80 F are good. The higher temperatures can prevail on the brighter days. 

Humidity is difficult to control in the home. If plants are kept continually moist, humidity is not of paramount importance. Of course, when humidity is low (generally during the winter), plants will dry out more quickly and more frequent waterings are needed. Watering with lukewarm water can help improve humidity. Some African violet growers improve the humidity by placing the plants on trays filled with moistened pebbles.

Fertilizer should be used in moderation. We suggest Oxygen Plus African Violet Food using the recommended amounts on the package. 

Soil Mixes should be well drained and disease-free. You will need soil if you are rooting, cutting or repotting older plants. Supersoil Potting Soil makes an excellent soil for African Violets. 

Pots should be carefully selected. A new self-watering planter has recently arrived on the market. YOu may want to look into this product. It is essential that the container has good drainage capabilities. 4-inch plastic pots are excellent for the long-term growing of most standard varieties.

Grooming of plants improves blooming. Violets are best if grown as single crown specimens (one per pot). Extra plantlets crowd each other and should be removed.

All gardeners live in beautiful places because they make them so. Joseph Joubert
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