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Why won’t my African Violets Bloom?

African violets are cherished for their small, delicate-looking, beautiful flowers. No matter the season and the weather, you can always find this beauty blooming with at least a few flowers.

As a flower fanatic myself, I have always admired how their small delicate flowers manage to add a whole lot of beauty and color to the room.

Although it is a pretty low-maintenance plant, its basic requirements still need to be fulfilled if you wish to see this plant blooming year-round.

An insufficient amount of light is the most common reason why your African Violet is not blooming. Other environmental factors such as humidity and temperature along with care practices such as watering, fertilization, and so on also plays a vital role to make your African Violets bloom.  

African Violet Plant
Young African Violet Plant (Source: Pixabay.com)

Luckily, you are in the right place if you want to know how to make your African Violets bloom.

Being an African Violet lover myself, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help your African Violets bloom.

Stick to the end of the article to find out the flowering needs of your African Violet, including insider tips on how to properly take care of them.

How Often do African Violets Bloom?

African Violets are loved for their year-round blooming ability.

It doesn’t matter whether it is winter or autumn or summer. Your African Violet always has a few flowers to spare.

A well-cared plant can continue producing new flowers regularly every month of the year.

If you provide the proper growing conditions, your African Violet won’t mind blooming every once in a while.

With the proper instructions given below, your African Violet won’t take more than 6 to 9 months to rebloom.

Learning how to take care of your African Violet properly will help you make it bloom often.

Blue African Violet (Source: publicdomainpictures.net)

Why Won’t my African Violets Bloom?

Like every other plant, African Violet also has a few conditions to be met to bloom properly.

While it is a low-maintenance plant, it can withhold its beautiful blossoms even if just one of its essential requirements is not met.

Although there is no quick-fix solution for your African Violet to bloom, the care you provide will go a long way in ensuring that your plant blooms year-round.

Below are the most common culprits that are preventing your African Violet from blooming correctly.

1. Insufficient Light

All the talks about photosynthesis at the science class in our childhood days were not for nothing.

Just as we humans need food to remain active and healthy, plants also need proper light to prepare food that helps them to bloom.

African violet, precisely, needs an ample amount of sunlight to bloom. Bright, indirect sunlight is what it needs for healthy blooming.

While too little sunlight results in no flowers, too much sunlight can also damage its foliage.

Place your African Violet towards an East or West facing window to provide it sufficient sunlight without the risk of getting it sunburnt. As summer approaches, set them back where it doesn’t get as much sunlight.

Another essential thing to consider is that this plant needs 8 hours of darkness every night. This plant blooms by secreting the hormone Florigen which only triggers at dark.

So even if you grow your African Violets under artificial light, make sure to not keep them in the light for more than 16 hours a day.

When to Use Artificial Light for African Violet?

Providing natural sunlight is always better for growth than artificial light.

However, if your place does not receive sufficient light daily, then you can use artificial light to make your African Violets bloom.

The best artificial light you can use is LED light. If that is not available then fluorescent light works just as well.

Two 40W fluorescent lights or one LED strip light of 22W should be enough to make your African Violet bloom.

Place the lights 12 to 15 inches above the plant. At least 10 hours of light a day is required minimum for a good blooming African Violet.

Tips: Rotate your pot a quarter turn every week to help your African Violet grow an even crown.

2. Over or Under Watering

This is another essential requirement that most people fail to provide.

For a tropical plant like African Violet to thrive, watering takes practice.

Water too much, and the root starts to rot. Water too little, and the plant starts showing signs of drought stress and eventually dries off without flowering.

African Violets prefer to stay moist but not too sloppy. The soil needs to feel like a well wrung-out sponge which is the ideal condition.

If you find it hard to water your African Violet properly, follow the bottom watering process.

To water your African Violet, fill a saucer with about an inch of water and let the plant absorb it through the drainage hole in your pot. Let it sit for about an hour and throw out the excess water. Wait for a few days to let the soil dry off before watering again.

Tip: Always use tepid to warm water while watering your African Violets.  Avoid water accumulation on the leaves as it can cause leaf-rot diseases.

Check out this excellent video on how to water your African Violet properly.

3. Low Humidity

Your African Violets won’t bloom if the humidity of the room is low.

African violets need humidity of at least 50-60% to bloom properly.

For an average room, reaching humidity levels up to these percentages is challenging without any external source.

If you live in places where it rains in excess, then it might be possible for the humidity in your room to be enough for your plant to bloom.

But assuming that most of us don’t, keeping the humidity high through other measures is necessary.

There are a few ways to keep the humidity in your room high enough, which are:

  • The most effective way to raise the humidity of your room is to keep an electric humidifier that is readily available to find online on sites like Amazon.
  • Placing your plant over a pebble tray or a humidity tray can also help to retain its moisture.
  • Lightly misting your plants with a sprayer can also help to increase moisture to some extent.
  • Grouping plants together can help to maintain the moisture without using any external source sustainably. However, this is not a fool-proof method and should only be taken as a last alternative if nothing else is available.

Tip: Try growing your Violets in a clay pot. It absorbs the excess water and releases it as humidity to the atmosphere.

4. Temperature Extremities

Although your African Volet loves bright light, it can’t handle too hot a temperature. Similarly, too low a temperature can also harm your plant, preventing it from blooming correctly.

Here is the ideal temperature for your African Violets:

  • During Day-time: 70-80°F (21-27°C)
  • At Night: 65–70°F (18-21°C)
  • Ideal Soil Temperature: 65-75°F (18-24°C)

As a rule of thumb, if you think the room’s temperature suits you, it will also suit your African Violets.

There is not much when it comes to providing the right temperature for your African Violet.

Just remember to put it out of the direct line of heaters and air conditioners.

You can comfortably tuck it at the side of the room where it receives proper sunlight.  Avoid placing it anywhere with cold drafts.

5. Lack of fertilization

Your fertilization practices are another huge factor that determines whether your African violet blooms or not.

If you can’t provide the essential nutrients to your plant, it won’t bloom even if you optimally provide all the other requirements.

Fertilizers with a 10-30-20 ratio of NPK are an excellent choice for your African Violets to bloom.

Most gardeners recommend Jacks Classic No.4 10-30-20 Blossom Booster Fertilizer as a good choice for fertilizing African Violets. 

Jacks Classic No.4 10-30-20 Blossom Booster Fertilizer (Source: Amazon)

If you want to buy something from your local store, ask for a fertilizer that is low in Nitrogen content and has high Phosphorous.

If you are the kind of person who wants everything to be organic, then you can use worm castings, fish emulsion, blood meal, or compost tea as organic sources of fertilizer for your African Violets.

Fertilize once every 3-4 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer). Before fertilizing, water your plant well. 

Tip: According to the Optimara,  fertilizers with Urea content should be avoided as it can burn their roots. To determine whether the fertilizer contains urea , look at the Guaranteed Analysis on the label which lists the source of nutrients.

6. Improper Soil Mix

A light, fluffy, porous, and well-draining soil mix is appropriate for your African Violet.

The right potting mix for your African Violet allows proper moisture retention and aeration of the roots. It also prefers soil with a slightly acidic pH (5.8-6.2).

A proper healthy potting mixture promotes healthy root growth, which will help your African Violets bloom with ease.

A proper African Violet potting medium should contain

  • Two parts Peat Moss
  • 1 part Vermiculite
  • 1 part Perlite

Suppose you want to go the commercial route. In that case, Espoma Organic African Violet Potting Mix and Miracle-Gro African Violet Potting Mix are some of the best options available on the market. 

Miracle-Gro African Violet Potting Mix (Source: Amazon)

7. Wrong Pot Size

If you’ve ever bought a plant online, then you must know that the plant always arrives in tiny undersized pots.

While this is not just enough for most planets, it might be the perfect fit for your African Violets, even for months.

You see, African violets love to be snug in their pots in a slightly root-bound state.

If you happen to repot your plant to a bigger size pot, then it might be the reason why your plant stopped blooming.

Conversely, if the pot size is too small, you will see roots growing from the pot’s drainage hole and soil surface.

When choosing the right size pot for your African Violet, it will help if you choose a  pot that is one-third the spread of the plant. E.g., if the spread is 12 inches, a 4-inch pot is an ideal size. 

Different Sized Pots (Source: Amazon)

While repotting, choose a pot that is 1 inch larger than the current one. If you happen to keep it in a too large or small pot, it won’t flower properly and will result in uneven growth.

Tips: If you live in a place with too-hot climate, then using a plastic pot would be ideal to prevent too much water from drying off. If not, then a terra cotta pot is the best choice that will also help to maintain humidity levels.

8. Excess Crown or Suckers

African Violets tend to grow haphazardly. This is one significant drawback: excess crowns, suckers, and other random leaf formations.

This depletes the plant’s energy and interferes with its blooming ability.

To avoid this from happening, your African Violet should be pruned once in a while. It also helps aesthetically to keep the plant in good formation.

Well Pruned African Violet (Source: Pixabay)

Prune your African Violet to Eliminate Crown or Suckers

Try the following steps to prune your African Violets correctly:

  • Unlike other plants, African Violets don’t require sophisticated techniques or extensive tools for pruning. A sharp, sterilized scissor or simply using your fingers is enough for pruning.
  • Gently check your African Violet for dead, harmful blooms, and excess crown. These suck up the plant’s energy which can be used for new blooms.
  • Grasp the unnecessary parts and snip them off with clean, sterilized scissors carefully. Make sure that you don’t rip or tear as it can open diseases and fungus.
  • African violets grow from the crown out, which means that the leaves in the base of the plant are the oldest. Don’t hesitate to prune these leaves as they will be at the end of their life cycle.

Tips: Trimmed leaves can be used to propagate a healthy new African Violet plant.

Check out this article, if you want a more in-depth guide on the whys, hows, and whens of pruning your African Violet.

9. Wrong Genes

One thing that you can’t change despite all your efforts is genetics. Some African Violets bloom even without much care, while others struggle to bloom their whole lives.

You can do everything right and still not have a single flower in your African Violet.

However, if your flower has bloomed previously, there is hope that it will do so again. But if it doesn’t, it’s probably best if you don’t waste your efforts and buy another set of plants.

Healthy African Violet (Source: Flickr)

10. Pests and Diseases

Here are the most common pests and diseases that can make your African Violet suffer.

a. Cyclamen Mites

Cyclamen Mites are one of the most common and serious pests that can affect your African Violet. Due to your minute size, it can be hard to look for these pesky creatures.

Typically, once infected with these pests, you will notice symptoms such as:

  • Stunting of leaves in the center of the plant
  • Leaf curling
  • Greying of leaves
  • Failure to bloom

These pests primarily develop due to high humidity (80-90 percent) in the environment and temperatures less than 60 ° F. These pests are found in the center of the plants, where they hide from direct light.

Treatment
  • If the plant is valuable, you might save it by cutting out the mite-infested leaves.
  • Neem Oil is recommended to spray as an insecticide. Spraying the plant 2-3 times at three days intervals is required.
  • If all fails, discard the plant properly and start with a new one following the proper preventive measures.

b. Mealybugs

Mealybugs are the white, hairy tiny insects that roam around your African Violet.

They are mostly found on the underside of leaves, stems, and crotches of leaves.

Plants infested with these pests show symptoms like:

  • Stunted or distorted leaves
  • Yellowing of the leaves
  • Black sooty mold
  • Waxy deposit on plant

Mealybugs damage plants by injecting toxins into the plants while feeding.

These bugs can also be hard to identify and locate, given their ability to hide in cracks and crevasses of plants.

Treatment
  • You can eradicate mealybugs by dabbing them with cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol or spirit.
  •  If the infestation is severe, treat your plant with acetamiprid, cyfluthrin, or imidacloprid 2-3 times a day at three days intervals until all the bugs die.

c. Crown and Root Rot

It is what it sounds like. Once infected, you will see rotting of the crowns and roots of your African Violets.

The first symptoms appear as the crown and roots of the plants start to go soft, mushy, and smelly.

Old growth will grow limp as the younger leaves start to appear stunted, discolored, and eventually die.

Fungus: Pythium species and Phytophthora species

Causes: excessive watering, poor soil drainage, dirty pots, and plants that are deeply planted.

Prevention
  • Use sterilized potting mix and clean pots.
  • If you want to reuse pots from discarded plants, clean them thoroughly by soaking them in 1 part household bleach and nine parts water for 30 minutes.
  • Do not plant your African Violets too deeply.
  • Only water the plant when the top-soil is dry.
Treatment

If the plant is in a critical condition, the best you can do is throw it off and buy a new one. In case the disease has not spread much, follow the instructions below:

  • Remove the plant from the soil and cut off the mushy roots with sterilized scissors.
  • Repot it in a clean pot with fresh potting mix.
  • Water it after 2-3 hours only.
  • Place the plant in bright, indirect light.
  • Avoid watering your plant too frequently.

d. Botrytis Blight

The first symptom of this disease is soft, wet, rotten lesions on the underside of the leaves.

The plant parts start turning dark and developing a fuzzy greying coat on the surface as it progresses.

Fungus: Botrytis cinerea

Causes: wet leaves, dying plant parts, and injury.

Prevention
  • Avoid accumulation of water on the leaves of the plant.
  • Regularly remove dead plant flowers, leaves, and anything else.
  • Pest injury also results in Botrytis Blight. So, avoid pest infestation as much as you can.
Treatment
  • Provide better air circulation to your plant.
  • Place it in a location with brighter indirect light.
  • Start a bottom-watering routine and avoid making the leaves wet.

Should you trim dead blossom from African Violets?

Trimming dead flowers or deadheading is an important part of caring for your African Violets. This will help your plant to extend its flowering period and also encourage new bloom.

Before trimming the dead blossoms, keep your African Violet in a stable environment. Do it in a safe sterilized place without any windy drafts or excess heat.

There are two ways you can trim the dead flowers. You can either use sterilized scissors to make a clean cut or as some people do, you can pinch off the dead flowers with your forefinger and thumb.

Try to remove the flowers as close as possible to the base. Avoid any jerking or tearing motion that can damage the main stem.

Beautiful Blooms Of African Violet
Beautiful Blooms of African Violet (Source: Pixabay)

Conclusion

Now that you know the reasons your African Violets are not blooming, implement the primary care routine properly.

Considering how much beauty and value a single pot of African Violet can add to your collection, following these basic care tips won’t be more challenging.

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