While the African Violet may not be the first flower that pops into your head when thinking holidays, few flowers have an association with as many holidays and traditions. They are a little finicky to grow, but with tips from the Master Gardeners at Cornell Cooperative Extension you can bring on the purple..

When it comes to love most people think Roses. Mothers? most think Mums or Carnations. And at Easter, Lillie's seem to get all the attention.  But the African Violet is associated with all three.  And purple is associated with passion and royalty.  Of course you can find them in other colors too.

African violets are among the most popular indoor plants, but do require some tender loving care.  Here's some tips on the proper temperature, light and humidity; as well as adequate moisture and the right soil.

  • For best results, avoid placing your plants where temperatures are above 90 degrees F. or below 60 degrees F. To avoid leaf burn, avoid placing plants near drafts, or having the leaves touching glass windowpanes.
  • To insure continuous bloom, a southern or western window offers the best light in winter. During warmer seasons, consider moving the plants to an eastern or northern exposure. Consider trying fluorescent lights.
  • Humidity is very important. Consider placing your plants on a tray filled with water and pebbles to increase humidity. Maintain a shallow level of water in the tray and do not allow the pots to sit in water. Misting is not recommended because the leaves can develop water ring spots.
  • Soil moisture and proper watering are critical. Touch the soil surface with your fingertips and if it feels dry, add room temperature water. Do not allow the soil to completely dry out or the plant will wilt, which can cause root damage. You can water from the top or the bottom. If you water from the top, move the leaves aside so that water is not splashed onto the leaves.

Get more tips on keeping indoor plants healthy with CCE's online fact sheets or talk to a Master Gardener at the Horticulture Hot Line, Wednesday’s and Friday’s from 9 a.m. to noon, at 315-736-3394.

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