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).
Major components of fertilizer:
- The plants do 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. I would recommend optimara fertilizer (https://amzn.to/3oXUvCB).
- 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?
Foliar Feeding African Violet Plants:
- Foliar feeding involves gently spraying the African Violet leaves with a diluted mixture of plant fertilizer.
- For more information on how to foliar feed African Violet plants, can visit blog post, “Foliar Feeding African Violet Plants“.
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.
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