DIY African Violet Soil: Making A Good African Violet Growing Medium

Individually Planted African Violet Leaves
AV soil
(Image credit: erperlstrom)

Some people that grow houseplants think they’ll have issues when growing African violets. However, these plants are simple to keep up if you start with the right soil for African violets and the proper location. This article will help provide tips on the most suitable African violet growing medium.

About African Violet Soil

Since these specimens demand proper watering, you’ll want to use the right African violet growing medium. You can mix your own or choose from a number of brands available online or at your local garden center.

The right potting mix for African violets allows air to reach the roots. In their native environment of the “Tanga region of Tanzania in Africa,” this specimen is found growing in crevices of mossy rocks. This allows a good amount of air to reach the roots. African violet soil should allow water to move through while having the proper amount of water retention without cutting off airflow. Some additives help roots to grow bigger and stronger. Your mix should be well-draining, porous, and fertile.

Typical houseplant soil is too heavy and restricts airflow because the decomposed peat it contains encourages too much water retention. This type of soil can cause the death of your plant. However, when it is mixed with equal parts of coarse vermiculite and perlite, you have an appropriate mix for African violets. Pumice is an alternative ingredient, often used for succulents and other fast-draining planting mixes.

Mixes you buy contain sphagnum peat moss (not decomposed), coarse sand, and/or horticultural vermiculite and perlite. If you wish to make your own potting mix, choose from these ingredients. If you already have a houseplant mix that you want to include, add 1/3 coarse sand to bring it to the porosity you need. As you can see, there is no “soil” used in the mixes. In fact, many houseplant potting mixes contain no soil at all.

You may want some fertilizer included in the mix to help feed your plants. A premium African Violet mix contains additional ingredients such earthworm castings, compost, or composted/aged bark. The castings and the compost act as nutrients for the plants, as does decomposing bark. You will likely want to use additional feedings for the optimum health of your African violet plant.

Whether making your own mix or purchasing one that is ready-made, moisten it slightly before planting your African violets. Lightly water in and locate the plants in an east-facing window. Don’t water again until the top of the soil is dry to the touch.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.