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Ideas for Lighting for African Violets

The African violet is a popular houseplant with blossoms that come in many shapes, sizes and colors. There over 6,000 types of African violet, so many that some violet enthusiasts make a hobby out of collecting different varieties. African violets are easy to care for in the home, because they thrive equally well in a sunny windowsill or under an artificial lamp.

Window Lighting

African violets prefer filtered sunlight. A window with western exposure is best. If you grow your violets near a window with southern exposure, you should filter the sunlight with a lace curtain, blinds or a window sheer so that the plants do not burn. Sunburned plants will exhibit brown spots on their leaves. It is better to choose a bright, north-facing windowsill for your African violets. However, during winter months, your plants may not get enough sunlight from a northern-facing window. If your plant is not receiving enough sunlight, it will not produce flowers. To remedy this, move your plants to a window where they will receive more sunlight.

Red and Blue Grow Lights

African violets will thrive under grow lights that emit light along the red and blue spectrums. LED lights may be added to a grow lighting system to increase light emitted along the red and blue spectrums. Red lights help violets bloom, while blue lights aid in photosynthesis. Some African violets are subject to leaf bleaching, a condition in which the leaves that are exposed to artificial lighting turn pale. Violets that are subject to leaf bleaching should be grown in indirect sunlight.

Intensity of Lighting

Purchase a light meter to determine if African violets are receiving the correct lighting temperatures from window lighting or grow lights to thrive in. The correct luminosity of lighting for African violets is between 900 and 1100 foot candles. This translates into 10,000 or 20,000 lux. The intensity of the lighting will increase or decrease as your violets move closer to or away from your source—the reason why violets sunburn in a southern-facing window in the summer and why violets too close to intense grow lights will also sunburn. For standard African violets, grow lights should be mounted 18 to 20 inches from the tops of the plants.

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