Light

     Light is the most important factor in bringing violets into bloom and keeping them blooming. It is more important than fertilizer, pot size, or soil. If the light isn’t bright enough for a long enough time each day violets can’t produce flowers. Within 18" of an East, South, or North window can be successful. Usually if your plants are across the room from a window the light will not be bright enough to cause blooming although low light will at least keep a violet alive. To decide if your window has bright enough light to keep your violet growing flat (not reaching for more light) and flowering regularly, place a piece of white paper where the plant will be grown. With your hand 4" from the paper, cast a shadow on the paper. Ideally this shadow should be only slightly blurred. The longer the light is bright enough to cast such a shadow the more bloom your violet is likely to have. Avoid direct sun for more than one- half hour between 10 AM and 4 PM as it may burn or bleach the foliage. One good clue as to whether or not the plant is getting sufficient light is to observe the leaves and stems of the plant. If the light is too weak, the stems will be long and reaching upwards for the light. If it’s too strong the stems will be short and the leaves will grow down around the pot. With most plants correct light levels keep the stems approximately horizontal. Be aware that not all violets react the same to the same growing conditions. Some require brighter light, some lower levels.
     Window light will not produce plants of such perfect symmetry and abundant bloom as fluorescent grow lights because these lights provide more perfect light for longer periods of time each day than even the best window. Fluorescent lights should be positioned 10 - 12" above the top of the violets and left on for 12 - 14 hours per 24 hour period. The plants do need at least 8 hours of darkness each day. Many experienced growers find that a combination of 1 Gro-Lux Standard and 1 Gro-Lux Wide Spectrum tube (by Sylvania) in each fixture give very good results. Several sizes and styles of table model and free standing floor model plant stands with built in grow lights are available from The Violet Showcase, as well as grow lamps (bulbs) sold separately. The technology of the lighting industry continues to evolve. New types of fluorescent lamps are much thinner, brighter, and more energy efficient. These new lamps are identified by the part of the light spectrum they emit. Use of lamps rated as 6400 K work well for growing African violets.

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