African violets are beloved houseplants because they thrive in the conditions provided by most households and they bloom prolifically. Since African violets are considered a great houseplant for almost everyone, it can be annoying when your African violets won’t bloom.
After all, if African violets are supposed to be so easy, then why won’t yours bloom? You’re not alone if you’re having trouble getting your African violets to bloom. Even though they are considered to be easy-to-maintain plants, they do have a few specific conditions they need met in order to bloom.
Luckily, all these conditions are easy to implement. It may take some time, but if you create the right conditions for your African violet, it will begin to bloom again. Here are the most common reasons why your African violet won’t bloom and what to do to fix these problems.
Reason 1: The African violet is not receiving enough sunlight.
Lack of sunlight is the most common reason that African violets don’t bloom. If your African violet isn’t blooming, check that it’s getting enough sunlight each day before trying to fix anything else. African violets need at least 8 hours of sunlight a day to bloom; they are even happier when they receive 12 hours of sunlight a day.
During the winter, finding a location in your home that provides at least 8 hours of sunlight can be difficult depending on how many hours of daylight your area receives. African violets need bright sunlight, but direct sunlight can be too strong and burn your African violet’s leaves. The position that was best for your African violet in the summer may not work as the season changes.
In my home, the African violets that normally stay in my kitchen get moved to join the African violets in the living room window during the winter. This keeps them blooming almost the entire year.
You can either move your African violet to a new location where it receives more sunlight, or you can supplement the amount of light by using grow lights or fluorescent lights. If you use artificial light, do not leave the lights running for more than 16 hours a day. African violets need 8 hours of dark each day in order to produce healthy blooms.
Reason 2: The African violet is suffering from overwatering or underwatering.
Another issue with houseplants is keeping them watered correctly. It’s more common for houseplant owners to damage their plants by overwatering, but underwatering can also occur. Both of these problems can throw off the African violet’s flowering cycle.
Overwatering leads to root rot while underwatering causes the roots to die as well. In both of these cases, the damage to the roots can prevent your African violet from blooming.
African violets are a little like Goldilocks because they want their watering to be “just right.” African violets need to be watered frequently enough that their soil only dries out a little bit between waterings, but they do not want to be sitting in a pool of water all the time.
The best way to ensure your African violet gets enough water is to check the soil every couple of days. When the top of the soil feels dry to the touch, then it’s time to water. Bottom watering is a good idea for African violets. This allows the soil to absorb just the amount of water that it can hold. I find that bottom watering works well because African violet soil is slow to absorb water when I water from the top. When I water from the top, the water just runs directly out of the drainage holes and doesn’t allow the roots access to moisture as well as with bottom watering.
Reason 3: The African violet is incorrectly fertilized.
Another reason your African violets won’t bloom may be from the incorrect use of fertilizer. This can be one of two things: either you are not fertilizing your African violet or you are using a fertilizer that promotes foliage growth at the expense of blooms.
We’ll start with the first issue. African violets may need to be fertilized in order to have the nutrients they need to bloom. Because African violets are usually planted in small pots, they sometimes use up all the available nutrients quickly. Remember, houseplants have access to a much smaller amount of soil than outdoor plants.
If you have recently repotted your African violet, you may not need fertilizer, but if it’s been a while since you’ve placed your African violet in fresh soil and you’re noticing a lack of blooms, you should use fertilizer.
The second problem that occurs with fertilizer is using a fertilizer that enhances leaf growth but not blooms. You can solve this problem by choosing the correct fertilizer.
When choosing a fertilizer, look for one that’s balanced. You want to use a fertilizer that has an even ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which is referred to as the NPK ratio. If you use a fertilizer with too much nitrogen, you’ll see foliage growth but not as much blooming.
When fertilizing your African violet, begin with just a small amount first. Too much fertilizer can damage the plant’s roots. You can always use larger amounts later if needed, but it is nearly impossible to correct beginning with too much fertilizer.
I suggest using a liquid fertilizer as they are easier to handle. Simplify the process by using liquid fertilizer when you water!
Reason 4: The pot that you have the African violet in is too large.
You might think that a bigger container is better for your African violet, but they actually do better in smaller pots. If you recently repotted your African violet and it has stopped blooming, you may have placed it in a pot that is too big.
Select a pot that is about one-third of the diameter of your African violet. This means that some of the leaves will stick over the side of the pot. Although it may look odd compared to other houseplants, this arrangement works best for African violets.
When African violets have too much space in their containers, they devote most of their energy to expanding their root system; this means that they put less energy into blooming.
African violets should be repotted once or twice a year. You shouldn’t use a larger container each time you repot, though. If the African violet is beginning to become root-bound (meaning that you can see the roots beginning to form a tight circle around the edges of the container), you should repot in a slightly bigger container. Otherwise, just change out the soil with fresh soil and place your African violet back into the same container when you repot.
Reason 5: The temperature in your house is too extreme.
I know I said that African violets grow well in household conditions. However, if your house differs wildly from average conditions, then your African violets might be suffering.
African violets are tropical plants, which means they like temperatures between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and temperatures between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Most houses stay pretty close to these conditions, and African violets can handle some deviations from these temperatures.
However, extreme cold can stunt African violet growth, which affects blooms, and extreme heat can stress African violets, causing them to stop blooming.
Cold temperatures tend to be the most common temperature problem. Most of us don’t routinely have our houses hotter than African violets can stand. Even if your house is at the correct temperature, African violets placed near windows may become too cold during the winter. Try moving your African violet away from the window at night if you suspect that a drop in temperature is the issue.
Don’t worry too much about occasional extreme temperatures, though. Anytime my power has been out for a day or two and the temperature inside has been very cold or very hot, I haven’t seen any immediate issues with my African violets. So, it seems as if they only have a problem with temperature extremes that are more sustained.
Reason 6: The humidity in your house is too low.
Humidity is another area where most households already fall within the range that African violets require. In their native environment, African violets usually grow in areas that have 70 to 80 percent humidity. Thankfully, the most common houseplant varieties are able to live in conditions with much lower humidity levels.
African violets don’t seem to have any problem growing in conditions where the humidity is at 50%, so most households have humidity levels that are close enough that African violets are fine.
However, if the humidity in your house is significantly lower, then your African violets might be affected. In low humidity, African violets lose more water than they absorb, which causes several issues for the plant, including that its buds will stop opening.
You can solve this problem with a few different solutions. The easiest one is to group your African violets together if you have multiple. This creates a microclimate that can increase the humidity next to the plants by up to 15 percent. You can also place bowls of water nearby; the evaporation will help increase the humidity level.
If these two solutions don’t work, you might want to consider getting a humidifier. A decent humidifier isn’t excessively pricey, and besides, air that is too dry inside your home can also be uncomfortable for you too.
African Violet Blooms FAQ
Hopefully you’ve been able to identify the reason why your African violet won’t bloom and you now know how to fix the problem. Here are a few more questions you may have about African violet blooms.
How often do African violets bloom?
African violets can bloom nearly year-round. If you are able to provide the correct conditions, expect your African violets to bloom 10-12 months each year. Each bloom lasts for about 2-3 weeks.
What time of year do African violets bloom?
African violets can bloom all year long as long as they have the right conditions. African violets grown indoors need at least 8 hours of light a day in order to bloom. This means that you might need to supplement with artificial light if your African violets don’t have access to enough daylight hours during the winter. However, as long as they have enough light, African violets usually continue to bloom indoors throughout the winter.
Should I pinch off African violet flowers?
There’s no reason to leave African violet flowers on the plant once they have finished blooming. Removing the spent flowers allows the plant to put more energy into producing new flowers. It also looks more attractive not to have dead flowers remaining on the plant.
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