In this african violet soil guide I will cover everything you need to know to grow healthy, vibrant, large african violet blooms. I will outline the best soil type for growing african violets and highlight what the soil should contain so you maintain a healthy plant for many years. I will also point out the types of commonly used soils that you should never use for growing african violets.
Table of Contents
- African violets need special soil
- The kind of soil needed for african violets
- The problem with using succulent soil for african violets
- How to make african violet soil mix the right way!
African violets need special soil
With many houseplants you can simply use a standard potting mix, or even garden soil.
Once placed in a pot, and with the correct fertilization care, many houseplants will thrive.
When it comes to african violets though, this is not the case.
African violets require special soil.
African violet soil needs to be slightly acidic and should have a mix of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite.
Rather than using regular potting mix, I find that african violets will grow best in a special type of potting mix that has a slightly acidic pH value.
Unlike other plants that grow well in a regular potting mix, amaryllis being a good example, african violets require a special kind of potting mix.
Let’s take a look at the type of soil this plant needs now.
The kind of soil needed for african violets
Now that you know a standard potting soil mix is not the best choice for african violets as they require a slightly acidic soil, you need to know what soil is best for this little desert plant.
So what kind of soil do african violets need?
African violets thrive best in a potting mix soil that has a 50-25-25 mix of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite.
The potting mix should be slightly acidic with slow release nutrients.
Where regular potting mix will have a composition that promotes water retention, african violet potting mix should promote less water retention and more airflow.
African violets also require a soil with a more acidic pH value.
This is by far the best african violet soil in stores
So now that you know what type of soil you should use for african violets is there a specific product that I would recommend?
I have found that miracle gro african violet potting mix is the soil that produces the best results. It contains the best ratio of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite.
The potting mix is also slightly acidic which promotes healthy root growth and contains slow release nutrients for bigger, more vibrant blooms.
If you are a returning visitor to this website then you will know that I am a big fan of Miracle-Gro.
Although I don’t use it for all plants, when it comes to those plants that require a potting mix as a growing medium Miracle-Gro is my go-to soil.
Miracle-Gro’s regular potting mix works wonderfully well with most houseplant but, when it comes to african violets, we need a potting mix that has a slightly different composition.
Miracle-Gro are aware of the specific needs of the african violet and this is why they have produced a potting mix specific to this plant.
At this moment in time Miracle-Gro’s african potting mix is the best soil I have tried for growing african violets.
It’s important your african violet soil has the right ingredients
If you have been gardening for awhile or own a lot of houseplants then you will already know that, not only are all soils not the same, but not all soils sold as being the same product have the same constituents.
So what is in african violet soil?
The best african violet soil is a potting mix that contains peat moss, vermiculite and perlite.
A soil that has the correct mixture of these ingredients will be slightly acidic and and will also contain slow release nutrients.
The mixture of the three main components of the soil will be 50-25-25 of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite.
How african violet soil different from regular potting soil
African violet grows best in a potting mix but not all potting mixes are created equal.
So how does african violet potting mix differ from regular potting mix?
Where regular potting mixes have a well balanced pH value and are nutrient heavy, african violet potting mix is slightly acidic.
Standard potting mixes contain rich soil for better water retention while african violet potting mix has a mix of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite to reduce the amount of water retention and promote better airflow.
African violet potting mix is more grainy than regular potting mix and can has a closer resemblance to some types of bonsai soil than regular potting mix.
Regular houseplant soil, even a proper indoor potting mix, will contain too much peat moss (or similar substance) for african violets.
The peat moss promotes high water retention in the soil, thus restricting sufficient airflow for african violets.
An african violet potting mix will only contain 50% peat moss with the other 50% made up of equal parts vermiculite and perlite, allowing for better airflow in the soil.
The problem with using succulent soil for african violets
What if you grow a lot of succulents and have succulent succulent soil at hand … can you use that for your african violets?
Succulent soil is not appropriate for african violets.
Succulent soil is pH balanced and contains dry course ingredients.
African violet soil is slightly acidic and requires 50% peat moss for sufficient water retention.
I have found that using a specially formulated african violet soil produces the most healthy plants with bigger blooms.
I would not recommend using a succulent soil for african violets.
These plants require a potting mix with a blend of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite in order to thrive.
This mixture allows for just enough water retention while also promoting good airflow in the soil.
If planted in a succulent soil an african violet will not receive enough water and will be nutrient deprived which will show in the leaves and blooms.
So, just as it is not a good ideas to use a regular potting mix for your african violets, it is also not a good idea to use a succulent potting mix.
How to make african violet soil mix the right way!
Although I have had a lot of success with using miracle gro african violet potting mix I have also, on occasion, mixed my own soil for this beautiful little plant with fantastic results.
Don’t be afraid to mix your own soil, especially if you already have all the ingredients to hand.
Just be sure you use fresh peat moss as old soil will probably be deficient in nutrients.
If you plan to mix your soil for your african violets then you should do so to the following formula:
- 2 cups peat moss. 50%.
- 1 cup vermiculite. 25%
- 1 cup perlite. 25%
- Add an african violet fertilizer that contains nutrients and humic and fulvic acids to ensure you get the correct pH value in the soil. A standard fertilizer will not be sufficient!
The best fertilizer for african violet soil
African violets require feeding every 4 weeks during their active growing stage.
As you have seen in the section above, home-made african violet soil will need some fertilizer added to it.
Below are my two recommendations for
My fertilizer of choice is African Violet Focus but unfortunately it is difficult to get in the US. It can easily be acquired by our UK readers.
My next best choice is Miracle-Gro Blooming Houseplant Food which is easily accessible in America.