African violets are glorious indoor blooming plants. They are not hard to take care of, but they do require bright light and the proper care in order to flourish and bloom all year long. African violets grow very well indoors under artificial light.
African violets require ten to fourteen hours each day of good light. Plants with variegated leaves need more than that, and African violets with yellow flowers need less. Fluorescent lights are appropriate for this task, as are HID lights. HID, or high intensity discharge lights, come in a metal halide and high-pressure sodium versions. They give off a higher quantity of light than either fluorescent or incandescent bulbs, and more closely resemble sunlight. Both HID lamps and fluorescent lamps need digital ballasts to control the electrical current flowing through the bulb.These ballasts can be futurebrite digital ballasts or lumatek digital ballasts, and can be installed inside the light fixture or used as a separate component linked to the fixture and the bulb. These plants also need eight hours of darkness each day so that they bloom properly.
Other cultural needs your African violet has is for temperature, humidity and soil. These lovely plants do well in household temperatures that range from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. They thrive in an area of high humidity, so adding a humidifier to their room is helpful. They like light well-drained soil, and soilless mixes are very good for this purpose.
You will not want to spray or mist your African violet with water, because this can damage and discolor the fuzzy leaves. Instead, water the plant from the bottom by putting water in the saucer and let it be drawn up into the pot by the plant’s roots. If there is calcium in your water supply, it is best to let some water sit for 24 hours before you use it so the calcium dissipates. It is easy to overwater these plants, so check the soil with your finger, and give it some water when the top of the soil starts to feel dry. At the same time you can also fertilize the plant lightly.
There are many beautiful varieties of African violets from which you can choose your favorites. If you like bi-colored flowers, ‘Fancy Pants’ has single, frilly red and white ones. ‘Spectacular Blue’ actually look a bit purple than blue, but its double ruffled petals will thrill you. If you like burgundy, you will flip when you see the double deep burgundy ‘Blackberry Jam.’ There are miniature African violets as well, such as the stunning double pink ‘Queen Sabrina.’ Your African violets will be spectacular when you meet all their easy cultural requirements, especially appropriate artificial lighting.