African-violets must be grown warm and moist and given a relative humidity of 50 per cent. Light has special significance in their culture for strong, healthy foliage and a profusion of continuous blooms, plenty of light but no direct sunlight is essential. If light intensity is too great, tight growth and bleached or burned foliage will be noticeable. If light is insufficient, plants tend to be leggy and produce fewer flowers. Flowering African-violets can be produced from seed in 6 to 7 months, or from leaf cuttings in 8 or 9 months. Seed does not always reproduce true, however, so to assure duplication of a certain variety, propagate from leaves.
Pot in a mix of sterilized soil, sand, peatmoss, and well-rotted manure, or in a commercial African-violet mix. Water from top or bottom, but avoid splashing water on foliage and thus avoid leaf-spot. Use tepid water if possible. Complete liquid fertilizer should be applied every 3 to 4 weeks, in diluted strength to avoid burning delicate roots. As an added precaution, never apply fertilizer to dry soil. Avoid drafts; African-violets do not like sudden changes in temperature.
They seem to adapt themselves to one particular location and grow best when left undisturbed except for an occasional turning of the plant to assure even distribution of light and balanced, symmetrical development of foliage. If you grow many African-violets, you must be constantly on the watch for pests and diseases that could raise havoc with your entire collection: mildew, crown rot, nematodes, mealy bugs, and cyclamen mites.