How I care for my African violets

This post was written by Keith, who’s a Tree Surgeon from Manchester. He’s also a master gardener. And has a great blog where you can get great tips on how to improve your home & garden. 

Most gardeners shy away from growing the elegant African violet because they are intimidated by their numerous demands.

It’s true that these plants do have a few quirks, however learning about their proper care makes growing these marvelous plants less intimidating.

Growing African violets requires very little space; therefore you can grow them indoors in small pots for a showy display.



If you want your African Violets to perform well select the best soils. Make your own special mixes from vermiculite – peat moss and perlite in equal proportions is best.

A balanced diet in your soil will ensure cheerful blooms to grace your landscape. Consider also the soil texture and drainage ability. African violets will do well in well drained soils. If your soil is less drained, consider adding some sand in your mix.


These plants are very picky when it comes to water so be careful when watering them. Use tepid or lukewarm water that has been standing for about 48 hours. Watering African violets at the base is the best practice. Splashing water on the foliage will cause foliar spots and damage to the bloom. Never let these plants stand in water for too long or dry out for long periods. Water as soon as the soil feels a little bit dry to reduce or completely stop water stress.


Appropriate lighting for the African violet is essential for it to make a perfect bloom. Let the light intensity be bright to medium. Violets with very dark green leafs need more light compared to those with pale or medium foliage. Turn your pots regularly away from the sun to protect your bloom from intense sunlight. Place your African violets 2 feet from a south or west facing window for the right light intensity. If you cannot maintain this light for at least 7 hours consider supplementing with fluorescent lights.



Fertilize your African violets with a supplement high in phosphorus. Mix the fertilizer with one quarter strength and water every day. If your violets reduce their bloom or their leaves turn pale it’s an indicator that your African violets are not getting enough nutrient supplement. Apply NPK fertilizer if any of these signs appear and ensure a steady supply of this fertilizer for the best results.

Once blooms are spent, pinch them out to encourage more bloom and soon you will be the envy of your neighbourhood. Now that you have learnt how to care for African violets, try them indoors. There are several varieties are out there.

Go and grab yours now and in no time you will be enjoying their cheerful bloom. Or pop along to one of the society meetings when you get a chance. Just get in touch with us for a full roster of the meetings over the coming months.

Further Info

Here’s a couple of videos that found useful:


Plants in the office help you

This is an interesting read for those (like most of us) who work in an office.

Reposted from the daily mail.


How plants in the office help workers to flourish: Greenery in the workplace can increase production by 15%

  • Staff concentration and satisfaction increased once plants were introduced
  • This may be because foliage absorbs pollutants, dust and bugs from the air
  • Some studies suggest pot plants can reduce number of sick days taken

Putting plants in the office makes workers more productive, a study shows. Psychologists found that introducing greenery to spartan workplaces led to a 15 per cent rise in output.

Staff concentration and satisfaction increased and they said the air quality had improved. This may be because foliage absorbs pollutants, dust and bugs from the air.

Researchers from Cardiff University monitored two large commercial offices in the UK and Holland. After plants were brought in, overall productivity improved by 15 per cent within three months, they report in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

The study reported: ‘Data from the present findings indicate that a green working environment is consistently more enjoyable for employees, more conducive to concentration, and more productive for the business than its lean equivalent.

‘Indeed, simply enriching a previously spartan space with plants served to increase productivity by 15 per cent.’

Lead researcher Marlon Nieuwenhuis, from Cardiff University’s school of psychology, said: ‘Our research suggests that investing in landscaping the office with plants will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.

‘Although previous laboratory research pointed in this direction, our research is, to our knowledge, the first to examine this in real offices, showing benefits over the long term.

‘It directly challenges the widely accepted business philosophy that a lean office with clean desks is more productive.’

I agree with this wholeheartedly. I feel 10X better when I can work around plants and flowers. If you have a stale looking office I urge you to give it a try. It’s great mood lift.


How to Grow African Violets

African violets are purple flowers with a fleck in their centre. These sensuous and graceful flowers are from Africa, growing mainly in Tanzania, and other tropical ecosystems.

Even if you are a complete amateur in gardening, the basic techniques for growing and blooming African violets are not hard. Below I have outlined a step by step guide for growing these lovely little flowers and ensuring they bloom.

Continue reading “How to Grow African Violets”

Best fertilizers for fruit trees

May is now upon, and gardens around the United Kingdom now explode with life. Many of our members gardens contain fruit tress, therefore we though it would be prudent to share some fruit tree advice.

I have a good friend who’s a owns a tree surgery company, and he has helped me with this article. If I ever need advice about anything tree related to help my garden, i contact him. If you are reading this Keith, thanks for the help. The lemon trees you helped me pick have benefited greatly from you depth of knowledge and advice.

Anyway back to the article. Onward…

If your garden boasts a fruit tree, fertilizing it is an essential part of its care and maintenance. Not only does it encourage healthy growth, thus leading to the production of flourishing fruits, it gives your tree all of the vital nutrients it needs to stay stable and strong. Luckily, fertilizing fruit trees is a simple and easy task that, when done correctly, will give great results and ensure a healthy tree all year round.

Continue reading “Best fertilizers for fruit trees”

How to grow miniature African violets

Miniature African violets can be grown in 2 to 2 ½ “pots and attain a height of not more than 7 inches.

Miniature African violets are the smaller versions of the full sized African violets. They are characterized by small leaves and blooms, and spend most of their time in pots making them the best variety flowers to grow in small spaces. These miniature flowers require the same growing conditions as the full sized African violets.

Continue reading “How to grow miniature African violets”

Hedgehog Awareness Week 2016

This post has been reposted by me, as I’m a big fan of the BHPS. As most of us reading this are keen gardeners we need help our prickly endangered friends. We all have gardens so we can all do our bit.

Thanks to my friends at Leaf Tree Surgeons in Stockport for emailing me this. Otherwise I’d have forgotten all about it.



Hedgehog Awareness Week runs from 1st – 7th May 2016 and hedgehoggy events are being organised all around the country already!

Hedgehog Awareness Week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and takes place every year. It aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how you can help them.

This year efforts are focussed on strimmers and cutting machines – every year we hear of many terrible injuries and deaths caused by garden machinery. BHPS is asking people to check areas carefully before using any machinery. They have produced a sticker to be placed onto machines and are asking councils and tool hire companies to get in touch and request the free stickers for their machines.
As well as checking areas before cutting there are other things we can do to help too:

Ensure there is hedgehog access in your garden – a 13cm x 13cm gap in boundary fences and walls.

  • Move piles of rubbish to a new site before burning it.
  • Ensure netting is kept at a safe height.
  • Check compost heaps before digging the fork in.
  • Stop or reduce the amount of pesticides and poisons used.
  • Cover drains or deep holes.
  • Ensure there is an easy route out of ponds and pools.
  • BHPS Chief Executive, Fay Vass, Said “We are asking people to pledge to do at least one positive thing for hedgehogs during the week and if possible let us know, send us pictures of the hedgehog hole or home you create, or from the event you organise!”

Here are a few more ideas of how you can get involved:

  • Contact your local council or tool hire shop and ask if they will use the free stickers from BHPS on their machines.
  • Organise an event such as a cake sale, fun day, sponsored event, coffee morning or jumble sale.Display information (BHPS can provide) in your local Garden Centre, School, Library, etc.
  • Contact your local newspaper or radio station and ask them to help hedgehogs by printing a letter from BHPS (we can provide a letter to the editor on request) or by arranging an interview with us during the week (ask them to call 01584 890 801).
  • Post leaflets in your area letting people know how they can help hedgehogs (BHPS can provide leaflets).
  • If you are organising an event PLEASE let BHPS know as soon as possible so that we can keep a comprehensive list of events across the country.

We are hoping to raise £1,000 during Hedgehog Awareness Week 2016, texting HHOG16 £3 to 70070 will donate £3 to this appeal. (You can change amount to £1, £2, £3, £4, or £10 to donate those amounts).

Leaflets and posters are available on our website or we can post copies out on request.

Click here to view the Hedgehog Awareness Poster


11 Steps to Propagate African Violets

Despite the fact that African Violets are native to Tanzania, they have become a house hold name in homes across the world. These cheerful plants come in an array of colors, including: dusty lilac, light and deep violets.

They are commonly grown in pots, kitchen window sills and on tables away from direct sunlight. Just like any regular plant, African violets, will thrive in some conditions and perish bin others.

As you learn how to propagate African violets, it’s also important to ensure that they grow in the right conditions to achieve optimum brilliance and beauty.

Continue reading “11 Steps to Propagate African Violets”