If you were creating a new indoor garden from scratch, one of the plants you'd surely choose is an African Violet. It's simply one of the most popular houseplants plants in the world. With good reason: it blooms continuously, producing beautiful flowers, and is easy to care for. The strange thing is, it's not a violet at all, though its flowers are similar to what we sometimes see in our yards outside.
It doesn't take much to keep an African Violet happy. It likes lots of bright, indirect light (not direct sun), a temperature of around 70 degrees (and protection from the hot and cold blasts from any nearby register), and moist but not waterlogged potting mix. One other thing to keep in mind: getting water on the leaves of your African Violet can create spots or rings on them, and weaken the plant. To avoid leaf damage, you can water from the bottom up, which means you fill a saucer with water and let the potting mix absorb it through the drainage holes in the plant's container. Give the plant about 30 minutes to absorb a saucerful, then add a little more if needed.
Some experts caution against using tap water on African Violets. The reason is that some tap water may contain too many salts for African Violets, especially softened or highly chlorinated water. If your tap water is heavily chlorinated, let it stand overnight before using it to allow the chlorine to dissipate. Bottled distilled water is another alternative if you don't have too many plants to water. Water from your dehumidifier is a good alternative as well. Always make sure your water is at room temperature, since cold water can shock the roots and cause the leaves to droop.
When you bring your African Violet into the house for the first time, you may want to transplant it to an attractive pot. First, be sure there are drainage holes in the bottom. Then add a potting mix especially formulated for African Violets, such as Miracle-Gro® African Violet Potting Mix. This mix of sphagnum peat moss and perlite creates a slightly acidic environment that allows the plant to thrive. Just fill the bottom of the pot with your potting mix, then insert the plant's root ball. Fill the container with more potting mix and press lightly. Water thoroughly and allow the pot to drain. After 30 days, give your plant a boost with plant food, such as Miracle-Gro® Liquid African Violet Plant Food, that contains important micronutrients. Then, just sit back and admire the beautiful blooms.