African Violet Tips

Here's what works for me:

Light: Using a full-spectrum grow light makes my violets bloom like crazy.
I use this bulb in a regular architects lamp. The plants need 8 hours of darkness per day, so I use a light timer. Any light timer would do, but since the plants are in the bedroom, I like the light to go on later in the morning on the weekends, so I use this one, which can be customized. It goes on at 7 a.m. and off at 11 p.m., M-F, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. As far as window light goes, I haven't tried it, but have read that an east or west window is best. South windows are good in the winter, but the light can be too bright in the summer.

Watering:  I check the soil for dryness fairly often. When the soil feels pretty dry, or the pot feels pretty light, I water from the top until the water starts to drain out of the bottom of the pot, being careful not to get the leaves wet. It's best to dump out excess water after a half hour or so, as the roots don't like to be soaked. I use filtered, room-temperature water. Watering from the bottom works well, too, as long as there are a lot of drainage holes on the bottom of the pot.

Soil: Not sure if the brands differ much, but Schultz African Violet Potting Mix is the one I have used.

Feeding: Miracle-Gro Blooming Houseplant Flower Food has worked well for me! One squirt per month directly into the soil. I usually water from the top right after, in the same spot.

Pruning: I remove any wilting leaves by gently moving the stems from side to side until they come off. Withering blooms should be cut off at the base of the stem. I use nail scissors for that.

Pots: Mine started in 4 inch starter-type pots, then I went to 5 inch. When repotting, don't increase the size too much -- they like it cozy. Go up no more than one inch. Repot at least once per year.