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Top 2 Ways To Prune African Violet Leaves

Have you wondered how to prune African Violet leaves? Believe me, these native African perennials detest delays in trim schedules!

To prune African Violet leaves, remove 3-5 old foliage from the bottom of the plant by pinching them off with fingers or using sterilized scissors. Repeat the process every month and cut out spent blooms to save energy for the plant.

Listen to this article here.

However, you must carefully trim your plant without hurting its growing points.

Avoid such mistakes by learning to prune African Violet leaves from the article below.

Should I Prune My African Violet Leaves?

Periodically trimming African Violet leaves is a way to provide nutrients, light, and air to the developing plant.

An African Violet usually grows best with 12-15 leaves. Overcrowding the plant will make it less productive in producing blossoms!

Image represents bushy growth of African Violet
Leaves of African Violets grow from the bottom of the stem, resulting in a bushy growth habit.

Here are a few reasons for cutting African Violet leaves.

  • African Violets feel shrouded when the overwhelming leaves cover the entire plant.
  • Too many leaves will quickly draw energy from the plant, leaving it empty for the next blooming season.
  • The dead blooms and old leaves will attract pests and diseases.
  • It produces new leaves from the center, pushing dry older leaves below, which may look unattractive.
  • Old leaves may prevent the blooms from getting enough light and air.

When To Prune African Violet Leaves?

You can trim African Violet leaves at any time of the year, unlike many other houseplants requiring seasonal trimmings.

Since African Violets grow quickly, you should prune their 4-5 bottom leaves monthly.

However, African Violets bloom for up to 9 months per year (spring-autumn), so avoid trimming the leaves during winter, as it needs to rest.

Also, you can trim the leaves when deadly pests and diseases crop up on the plant or if the plant gets too leggy.

Quick Tip!

If the bottom leaves are still vigorous, but it’s time for a trim, consider propagating the African Violets using suckers, which shoot out from the axils between the 2 leaves.

How Do I Prune African Violet Leaves?

The longevity and frequency of bearing healthy leaves by African Violets rely on how often you trim them.

Let’s learn 2 leading methods to cut African Violet leaves.

A. Pinch Pruning

Prune African Violet leaves using your finger with these easy steps.

  • Inspect for old, wilted, or yellowing leaves.
  • Grab the leaf between your thumb and forefinger to pinch it outward.
  • Cut the leaf as close to the stem stalk as possible.
  • Trim the bottom outer leaves first, then those closest to the soil, and, finally, suckers.
  • Avoid ripping or tearing intact leaves, as pathogens or pests may enter the plant.
  • Compost or burn the old leaves and propagate using healthier leaves.
Image represents the pruning process of African Violets
While cutting the leaves, secure a 45-degree angle and trim at the base.

B. Pruning with Scissors

If you aren’t comfortable pruning the leaves with your fingers, use sterilized scissors.

  • Inspect for dead, dying, and unhealthy leaves.
  • Next, snip the leaves with scissors as close to the stem as possible.
  • Make sure you don’t rip or tear the healthy leaves.
  • Burn the old and wilted leaves. Use healthier leaves for propagation.

Do You Know?

Check for spent flowers and follow any of the 2 methods to trim away old blossoms to make way for new flowers similarly.

You can also check the following video to learn the process of pruning.

Common Problems With African Violet Leaves

African Violets are low-maintenance houseplants, but that doesn’t make them problem-free.

In African Violets, slight temperature changes, inconsistent watering, light unavailability, and high humidity may wilt the leaves and prevent green leaves.

Here are a few common problems seen with African Violet leaves.

1. Long & Narrow Leaves

African Violet leaves get extensive and narrow when it fails to get sufficient sunlight or when the temperature falls below 75oF during the day and 65oF at night.


  • Provide a temperature of 75-80oF during the day and 65-75oF at night.
  • Relocate plants to a spot that receives diffused daylight.
  • Avoid placing them in high humidity.

2. Bleached or Paler Leaves

Direct bright light can cause bleached or paler leaves.

When the older leaves closest to the soil appear pale or wilted, it’s time to prune them to encourage new leaves.


  • Relocate the plant to a place with low light for a few days.
  • Keep the plants near an east-facing window.
  • Use curtains to shield them from the blazing sun.
Image represents African Violet plant placed near a window
African Violets prefer dappled sunlight from an east-facing window to support their foliage growth.

3. Leaf Spots

Spots are visible, brown, yellow, or faded patches on the leaves caused by the water droplets left on the leaves post-watering.


  • Consider watering close to the root and soil to avoid getting water on the leaves.
  • Employ bottom watering using a pebble tray for 20 minutes.
  • Water early in the morning so the leaves stay dry for the rest of the day.

4. Lack of Foliage & Rusty Leaves

These issues arise from nutrient deficiencies or irregular fertilizing, and rusty leaves are caused by overfertilization.


  • Fertilize your plant with a high phosphorus feed every time while watering.
  • Dilute the fertilizer as instructed per pack to prevent overfertilization.
  • Cut back on fertilizer in fall and winter.

How To Care for African Violet Leaves?

African Violets require perfect conditions to grow healthy leaves year-round.

  • Provide 14-16 hours of dappled sunlight daily for lush leaves.
  • Ensure the potting soil dries between watering.
  • Cast off any dust or debris from the leaves using a soft-bristle brush.
  • Use special plant food to feed your plant every 2 weeks in spring and summer.    
Image represents dried flowers of African Violet
African Violets expend too much energy on spent blooms, so pruning them at the base of the flowering stem is the best option.

FAQs About Pruning African Violet Leaves

How do you fix a leggy African Violet?

To avoid lanky growth in African Violets, repot the plant to offer wider legroom.

What happens if you accidentally cut healthy leaves off African Violets?

To settle the healthy leaves, propagate them in an equal mix of vermiculite and sand.

Ensure the petiole is 1-1.5 inches long from the base of the leaf.

From Editorial Team

Use the ‘Bottom-Up’ Pruning Approach

In African Violets, rows of leaves at the bottom die first.

So, it’s appropriate to remove them asap and focus on the diseased leaves.

Along the way, save some suckers to plant for next season!

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