Here, we will only talk about fertilizer requirements for an African violet plant growing as a houseplant and not those growing for show (as show plants require fertilizer during exact timed intervals and in different amounts).
Why do African Violet plants need to be fertilized?
Major components of fertilizer:
- The plants to require other secondary and micro nutrients in smaller quantities such as sulfur, calcium, magnesium, boron, cobalt, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. These are equally important to maintaining healthy plant growth.
Which commercial fertilizer to use for African Violet plants?
- I personally use a balanced fertilizer year round and do not change the composition; however, some do recommend changing the fertilizer ratio to induce blooms or variegation or if the plants are baby plants or if you are growing minis. Others recommend changing fertilizer ratios/brands once a year so that the plants are not bored with the same fertilizer. If you do change or rotate fertilizers, I would recommend trying out the new brand only on a few plants first.
How to apply / feed African Violet plants with fertilizer and how often?
What are the signs of over-fertilizing African Violet plants?
- On the rim of the pots a crusty white salt like texture will develop, this indicates excess fertilizer salts. Repot the plant if it hasn’t been re-potted in the past year and clean the old pot. Then water with lukewarm plain water for the next 2 weeks before returning to routine fertilizing.
- The leaves may develop dark brown spots on the leaf center or tips.
- Leaves develop an orange colored crystallization clinging to the leaf hairs, especially in the plant crown area.
- Leaves start to wilt, turn brittle and develop cracks or lesions which turn brown.
- If you see these signs, first remove the damaged leaves, add lukewarm plain water to the soil, remove/clean the crystallization off of the leaves. Then continue to water with plain water for the next 3 weeks before applying fertilizer.
What are the signs of under-fertilizing African Violet plants?
Safety points to remember while fertilizing African Violet plants:
- Wear gloves while working with fertilizers. Dispose the gloves immediately (if they are disposable ones) or keep them in a sealed bag/container for later use.
- Store fertilizer powders /liquids in a cool, dry and dark area away from pets and children.
- Keep the outside of fertilizer containers clean. Wipe away any residue fertilizer.
- Try to make up only the amount of fertilizer water you are going to use, keep extra for later use, DO NOT throw/drain this chemical water down the sink or in the sewage system.
- Use a designated watering container for adding fertilizer, do not use this for other household purposes, and keep it separate only for adding fertilizer to plants.