The violet houseplant (Saintpaulia), commonly called the African violet, is made up of numerous varieties and cultivars. Sizes range from a small 6-inch diameter violet plant to large 16-inch varieties. Flowers are single, double and ruffled in shades of purple, pink, white and red. The softly furred foliage is scalloped, lacy and ruffled. The African violet aids in detoxifying the air, according to Avian Web.
Direct sunlight will burn the violet plants leaves and turn them yellow. Place the houseplants in a north or east facing window. The plant tends to flower in abundance when fluorescent lighting is provided for up to 15 hours per day. Turn the plants once a week so all areas of the plant receive ample light. Rotating the plants will prevent them from bending toward the light and allow them to grow evenly on all sides.
Soil and Watering Requirements
The African violet grows best when planted in soil that contains ample peat moss. Plant in 50 percent peat moss and 50 percent perlite. Slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5 is ideal, according to the Purdue University. Keep the soil around the plant moist but not overly wet. Water the houseplant by adding water to the top of the soil and allowing it to drip through the holes of the container. Never allow the violet to sit in standing water.
Violet plants will grow well in moderate humidity, but the plant prefers high humidity. Place a humidifier in the room with the plant, or place the plants in saucers filled with moist pebbles to help raise the humidity level.
Maintain a nighttime temperature between 65 to 70 degrees F. The daytime temperature should hover between 75 to 85. During the wintertime, violets placed near the window often become overly chilled. In areas of extreme winter weather, move the houseplant away from the cold window glass.
Fertilize the African violet in the spring, summer and fall months. Use a well-balanced water-soluble fertilizer such as a 20-20-20 mixture for violets. Apply monthly, and follow the directions on the label for application strength. Abstain from fertilizing during the winter when the violet is dormant.