Are you thinking of growing African violets outdoor? Before you decide, you need to ask this question: Can African violets grow outside? If yes, what factors will influence their growth outside? Let’s find out.
In general, African violets cannot be grown outside as these plants need a specific living condition to thrive. The outdoor environment changes rapidly, which can hamper the growth of African violets. However, it is possible to grow African violets outside if your area has all the conditions right.
African violets plants are fussy about their care and needs and will only grow well if provided with the right growing conditions.
African violets can grow outside for a short period. But they won’t survive in regions that are too cold or too hot, too wet or too sunny or have varying humidity levels.
They can survive outside only in those places where they will get pleasant temperatures, protection from the sun, and a humid atmosphere.
This article will explain whether you can grow African violets outside or not and will explain the factors that will affect them if kept outdoors.
Can African violets grow outside?
African violets are pretty hardy plants, but in most cases, they cannot survive outside.
They come from the rainforests of Tanzania, where the jungle canopy provides pleasant temperatures, a humid atmosphere, and protection from harsh sunlight.
They can’t grow in those places where the climate is too hot or the regions that are too cool and dry.
However, there are certain places where African violets can grow and survive. African violets will do well outside if the daytime temperatures are between 70-90°F and night temperature between 65-70°F.
They will require protection from the direct sunlight and high humidity levels around them for surviving outdoor conditions. But the outdoor environment is too unpredictable to provide the conditions these plants need to thrive.
African violets should be kept outside only if they get everything in moderation and won’t get shocked by specific changes. It’s always preferable to grow these indoors since it will be easier to maintain their growth environment as per their needs.
How long can African violets survive outside?
African violets in pots can be grown outside for a short period or part-time. By part-time, we mean when you place your plant outside only for a few hours every day and bring them back indoors.
In favorable conditions, these plants can thrive outside during the daytime or when warm weather sprinkles. You can easily care for your plants if kept outside for a certain period in three ways.
You can keep your potted African violets outside for a few hours every day. In this way, you will allow them to get fresh air on a warm summer day. You should bring them indoors in case of sudden temperature changes.
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Outdoor plants have to face problems like too much rain. African violets do not like getting wet. But you can keep them outside in light rains to help them refresh the soil and clean their leaves.
You must bring them indoors before the bright sun comes out after the rain to protect them from sunburn.
Pests are a severe problem for outdoor garden plants. African violets are prone to many pests and diseases, and you have to be careful if you keep them outdoor.
You must keep them off the ground, inspect closely for invaders, and keep them away from the other plants while bringing them indoors.
How long should I leave my African violets outside?
At the very first, start placing your potted African violets outside in the early morning hours. These plants can tolerate direct morning sunlight for 1-2 hours outside. But it’s always preferable to keep them under a shade even in the morning time.
When the sun starts to get stronger and brighter during the daytime, bring your African violets indoors to protect them from harsh sunlight. Avoid moving them outdoor in the winter seasons to protect them from cold drafts.
Why are African violets challenging to grow outside?
African violets are grown as indoor plants with enough space, light, and the right temperature for them.
If we suddenly introduce them to the outside environment, then this may not prove beneficial for them. They can go in a state of shock due to sudden changes in their growing location.
Growing African violets indoors is always a better option because it will be suitable for them in many ways.
If grown indoors, you will be able to protect them from excessive sunlight and inappropriate temperatures. You will be able to maintain humidity using a humidifier. You can also keep them away from pests and diseases.
Whereas you won’t manage your plant’s growth as per their needs if kept outside, it can even create stress in them.
Keeping them for a few hours outside won’t harm them, but keeping them outside for a more extended period will bring signs of distress.
What factors will influence the growth of African violets outside?
African violets will be able to survive outside only if the external conditions suit their growing requirements. But before keeping them outdoor, you have to consider the external conditions.
Let’s now carefully analyze the factors that will influence your African violets when kept outside.
Some key factors you must look at are:
- Watering routine
- Pest and diseases
Let’s discuss each point in detail.
African violets require bright but not direct light for growth.
They cannot tolerate hot and direct sun as their leaves can easily get scorched by the direct sunlight. They will have brown spots on the leaves and fewer blooms due to too much sunlight.
They can tolerate direct sunlight only in the morning or evening, and at other times they should be protected from the direct light.
What would be the ideal spot for African violets outside in terms of sunlight?
You can keep your African violets in a shady spot or in an area in your garden where they will get soft morning sunlight and filtered, indirect light throughout the day.
1 to 2 hours of direct morning light would be enough for them. Bring them indoors when the sun gets harsh during the daytime. Placing African violets under the shade of a big tree is a suitable option for them.
During winters, try to provide as much sunlight as possible. Also, rotate the African violets once a week so that they receive an equal amount of sunlight on all sides.
African violets generally prefer warmer temperatures, and they will develop problems in low temperatures. They thrive when the temperatures are between 70 to 90°F during the day and 65-90°F during the night.
A sudden fluctuation in temperature can severely affect the plant by giving them shock and stress.
High temperatures will cause the plant to get dry, and their flowers will drop off, whereas the lower temperatures will stunt their growth, causing leaves to wilt, and they will become more vulnerable to pests and diseases.
What should I do to protect African violets from sudden temperature changes outside?
If your African violets have been exposed to excessive heat outside, you must bring them indoor and increase their watering frequency, promote higher humidity around them, and avoid fertilizing them.
In an extreme cold situation, immediately move your plant to a warmer area in your house. Allow your plants to receive more sunlight in winters by increasing the duration of sunlight they receive when placed outside.
African violets prefer moderate to high humidity levels. They need 50-60% humidity on average. Poor humidity in the outdoor region will allow them to lose more water through transpiration and dehydrate them.
The plant growth slows down, and the leaves turn dry and desiccated due to the low humidity level outside.
Also, the plant won’t tolerate temperatures below 60°F. If the temperature and humidity fall below their tolerance, bring them indoors to save them from further damage.
How can you increase humidity for African violets outside?
African violets don’t like dry air and so to increase the humidity level around them, you can group them with other humidity-loving plants in your garden. Or, you can mist the leaves of African violets with water sprays.
You can also fill some bowls with water and keep them around the plant to raise humidity. The water will evaporate and will saturate the air with moisture.
African violets’ watering is considered the most challenging part of their care. They generally prefer moist, well-drained soil. If the soil is very wet, the roots can rot, and if the soil is too dry, they will not grow well.
The water requirements may change if you keep them outside, and they will require more water in the spring and summer seasons.
The best method of watering African violets that are placed outside is by using a watering can. While using watering cans, make sure that you water the soil and not the leaves.
Another method of watering them is placing a saucer under the pot. Do not allow the African violets to sit in water after the soil has taken up what it can hold, and after 15-20 minutes, drain off the excess water from the saucer.
How often should you water African violets outside?
There is no proper time interval for watering African violets. Before watering, always check the moisture content of the soil. African violets prefer neither too wet nor too soggy soil, a slightly damp soil.
Water your African violets whenever the top 2 inches of soil feel dry to the touch. They can experience both underwatering and overwatering issues, so always observe the soil before watering.
Apply normal room temperature water to them and avoid using cold or chlorinated tap water.
Pest and diseases
African violets are prone to common pests and diseases, and keeping them outside will increase their chances of getting infected by them. Pests such as Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and thrips feed on them by sucking plant nutrients.
In case of pest infestation, you may notice fuzzy, cottony areas or dark spots on leaves, and sometimes the leaves can turn yellow and become droopy. Diseases like powdery mildew and Pythium root rot are most common in African violets.
Pythium root rot causes the root to turn mushy and dark brown, whereas powdery mildew will cause the leaves and flowers to die.
Pests and diseases are problems that need to be addressed as quickly as possible before more damage occurs to the plant.
How can I prevent pests and diseases on my African violets?
To prevent pests and diseases on African violets, you must carefully observe the plant and search for any signs of infections.
If your African violet is affected with diseases, apply fungicide to protect the remaining healthy tissues. Avoid high temperatures and high humid conditions for the plant.
If your plant is affected by any pest, you have to apply the specific pesticide according to the type of pest it is infected with and spray it on the plant regularly for a few weeks. You can also use neem oil solution if you want to opt for an organic solution.
Prune the damaged and infected parts of the plant to save them from further infections.
So these were the few factors you must keep in mind before you think you can keep your African violets outside.
- African violets are indoor plants, and in most cases, they can’t survive outside if the region doesn’t support them with proper growing conditions.
- African violets will survive outside if they get favorable temperatures, a humid atmosphere, and protection from the sun.
- You can keep the African violets outside for part-time, and it won’t harm them.
- You can keep your African violets in the most shaded area of your garden that will provide filtered or indirect light to them.
- Do not allow your African violets to stay outside when there are temperature fluctuations.
- Always consider the external factors first before you decide to bring your African violets outside or grow them in the garden.
Source: Wikipedia, African violet: Classical breeding, African Violet Society of America, In vitro propagation of African violet, University of Florida, North Dakota State University, The University of Georgia.