African Violets

Q. Can you suggest a remedy for African violets that don't bloom as often as they should?

A. Many African violets will cut down on their blooming during the winter months because so many of their cultural requirements are not being met: bright light, warm and humid air with no drafts. If you have had these plants for some time, perhaps it is time to repot them. Although they do prefer to be slightly "potbound," all repotting should be done in spring using plastic rather than terra cotta pots. Be sure to remove any side shoots that develop off the parent plant. Good light is essential — a south or east window in winter and a west window in summer. African violets demand high humidity and may decline in excessively dry air. Be sure to pinch off faded blooms, and fertilize monthly using a dilute 5-10-5 or 10-20-10 fertilizer.