|Basic African Violet Care: Potting
Most commercial growers use a mix that is comprised mostly of Peat Moss – a product dug
up from bogs that is 100% organic matter and acidic in nature. Peat is a fine brown substance
that holds a tremendous amount of water – which is why commercial growers use it. The less
a commercial grower has to water, the less expensive it is for them to grow the plant. The
down side to this product is that it is very easy to over-water the violets and they will quickly
succumb to root rot. Good air circulation and attention to the moisture content of the mix is
'specialists' (People who grow violets for show and as a hobby), us a mixture of Peat, Perlite
and Vermiculite. Each of these ingredients can be found at any quality garden center or
nursery. The most common ratio of ingredients is 1:1:1 - that's one part Peat, one part Perlite
and one part Vermiculite. This mixture is much more forgiving if you forget to water or tend to
water to frequently. That's not to say you can forget about watering for a while or you that
you can't over-water. This type of mix is just more forgiving if you do.
mix. Examples are: self-watering pots, wick watering and capillary mat watering. (Each of
these methods are addressed under 'Watering'.) By 'lighter', we mean a mix with less Peat
moss and more Perlite. Every grower has their own proportions and ingredients for these
various methods of watering. We suggest you join an African Violet Club in your area or one
on the internet to learn more about what other growers use.
African Violet Specialists, who grow plants for show, will re-pot their violets every 3 to 6
months. This keeps the roots from creating too tight of a 'root-ball' and stimulated the roots to
branch out and make use of all the potting mix in the pot - not just the mix on the inside wall of
the pot. We should take note of this, even if we're not growing for show. Re-potting often
benefits the average home grower as well:
1) Re-potting often allows us to 'lower' the neck of our growing violet so it doesn't look like a
2) Re-potting gets rid of old decaying peat and replaces it with fresh, clean mix which prevents
bacteria and fungus from infecting the plant and killing it.
3) Fresh mix is much more forgiving when over watering.
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