Soil requirements for African Violets

African violets need light and porous soil that provides the roots not only with water, but also with air.

Violets will not grow well for long in regular potting mix or dirt.

You can purchase bags of pre-made African violet potting mix from several big stores in New Zealand. The mixes that I saw in the shops already had long-acting fertiliser added. That is something I personally try to avoid, as it is hard to determine when the long-acting fertiliser is used up.

I prefer using fast-acting liquid fertiliser for greater control of my plants’ food intake.

Because I haven’t seen any mixes without fertilizer already mixed-in, I make my own mix. Here are some recipes that I tried and they worked OK:

AV mix #1:

  • 1 part perlite
  • 1 part vermiculite
  • 1 part sphagnum peat

AV mix #2 (for wick-watered plants):

  • 60% coarse perlite,
  • 20% coarse vermiculite,
  • 20% sphagnum peat, Tui Superlight Potting mix or moistened peat from a jiffy pellet

AV mix #3 (for wick-watered plants):

  • 60% coarse perlite,
  • 40% moistened peat from a jiffy pellet

Violets need to be planted in a pot that’s roughly 1/3 of the diameter of your plant’s leaf span.

Don’t be tempted to plant your violet into a large pot thinking it needs the extra room. It doesn’t.

Your violet will bloom better if the pot is slightly tight.

Adequate drainage is a must, so make sure the pot you choose has holes in it.

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