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African violets or Streptocarpus/Saintpaulia are a popular choice due to their multi-coloured clusters of flowers and its fifty years life span.
They are grown as indoor plants but in certain areas, people are cultivating their varieties as outdoor plants as well.
African violets make the great houseplants, but you can grow them outside if you have high humidity levels and the temperature lies above 60 Fahrenheit in your area. With the perfect potting mixture and water routine, you can have your desired results.
But on the other note, African violets are normally kept as indoor plants. But with a few techniques, you can grow them outside. But if you have an annual temperature below 60 F then you may need to winter them or take other precautions.
Let’s discuss each of the factors to know whether you can grow African violets in your garden or not.
Can African Violets Live Outside?
Naturally African Violets live outside. African violets are native to the tropical areas of East Africa. More precisely, they are found in the Tanzania forest.
They grow under the shade of big trees and get the high humidity to thrive impeccably. Winter and summer in Tanzania doesn’t bring any harm to the African violets.
They get enough water from the rain that is needed for the growth. Similarly, the soil is enriched with the nutrients that African violets never lack. So, technically, if you’re living in Tanzania, you can grow them outside.
But the more likely answer to this query is “No”, you cannot grow African violets outside but it depends where you live. The outside’s harsh weather and the continuous climate change will destroy your plant.
The harsh light, temperature, low level of humidity, and other natural factors will affect your plant growth.
But the tragedy behind the question is whether you can grow African violets outside? The answer is between Yes and No.
To find out the right answer, you have to look into your weather and environment. So, let’s start with the different areas of the world.
Can African Violets Live Outside in USA?
The USA has different temperature USDA zones. Some areas of the US have lower than temperatures of 50-degree Fahrenheit. While others have more than 70- degrees Fahrenheit.
In case, if you are living in or near Hawaii, Florida, and Puerto Rico, then there are chances you can have perfect multicolour flowers with the thick and fuzzy green leaves.
In this case, you should be able to grow African violets outside if you get the other requirements correct.
On the contrary, in the USA where the USDA zone is below 10, then it will be hard to grow African violets there. In USDA zone 10, you can try to grow your African violets outside but the results can’t be guaranteed.
Can African Violets live Outside in Australia?
It is very troublesome to make African violets live outside. But if you have the required temperature in your area then you can give it a try.
In Australia, many areas have an annual temperature between 60 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Such as Melbourne, Sidney, Brisbane, and many others.
So, if you are living in such climates then you can go for this option. With little care, you will get the results.
How to Grow African Violets Outside?
It is demanding to grow African violets outside but the result can make your effort worth it. African violets for most people are indoor houseplants.
To add this plant to your garden collection, you need to deliver a few things for this plant. Let’s discuss each of them in detail.
Temperature and Humidity
It is impossible to maintain the healthy internal and external mechanism of African violets without the actual settings of temperature and humidity level.
African violets require 60 F to 90 F, along with up to 80 percent humidity levels. If the temperature goes down, then it will stunt the growth of the flowers, and plants will suffer from the cold.
A temperature higher than this will burn the leaves and cause discoloration in the whole plant. The fuzziness of leaves will be distorted. On the other side, the Plant will show growth but it will not be the desired one.
As an indoor plant, African violets don’t enjoy direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will damage the whole plant. African violets need bright light but not directly.
If you are going to set the African violets outside, then you need to find a place where it will be out of direct sunlight. It is favorable to grow them under a big trees, in fully shaded pergolas, or under the other shaded areas.
When you are going to grow them outside, it might need extra care.
First of all, never let the soil dry out between watering. Add water when you feel dry soil up to two inches from the surface. Now, how to add water?
Add water directly to the soil, also make sure that you are not adding extra water at one time that it appears that the plant lives in water.
Always add a sufficient amount of water that fulfils the requirements of the soil and water does not float over it. Most importantly, do not let your leaves get wet.
When you set your mind to grow African violets outside, you must not consider digging them into the ground.
Because sometimes, weather changes occur abruptly and harsh climates will tie you up with the extra care.
So, it is favorable to set your plant in a wide pot. Use a well-draining soil mixture so it does not become water logged in the pot.
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Pros and Cons of African Violets Living Outside
There isn’t a doubt that the pros of the African violets outweigh the cons. Let’s bring them out one by one. The pros of the African violets outside are:
- Neither you nor your guest can pass through them without noticing them. The alluring attraction lies within the flowers of the African violets which cannot be denied.
- Adding the magnificent exterior décor to your garden. Your garden will be the most enchanting with those blooming.
- Only take a small place in your garden and leave a large space for you and allow you to enhance your creativity in your garden.
- It shines throughout the year. With little care, you will have the glossy multicolor flower and thick and fuzzy green leaves.
The cons to growing African violets outside are extra care and attention. The water routine will be different outside. You have to keep an eye on the weather updates and careful with the pest and other diseases.
Can African violets Stay Outside in Winter?
An African violet can not stay outside in the winter. African violets have no tolerance for the winter temperature.
If African violets are introduced to temperatures lower than 60 F in the long term, it will cause frost bites and many other problems with the plant.
The best way to maintain the aesthetic beauty of African violets in winter is to bring your plant inside and place them under the fluorescent or artificial lights for up to 6 hours a day.
Place the artificial lights above the African violets and the distance between them should be 16 to 18 inches. Those lights will be enough for plant growth.
Moreover, you can also use humidifiers to control the humidity levels around your plant. In winter, do not add water like you were adding in summer.
Reduce the frequency according to the need of your plant. The mature African violets might need more water as compared to the young ones.
While, in the first year of taking care of African violets, you need to be very careful with the water. The low, as well as high levels of the water, will damage the plant completely.
Can you put African Violets Outside in the Summertime?
You can put your African violets outside in the summertime.
Place your African violets outside in the summertime (temperature should be between 60 to 90 F), it will boost the growth and also enhance the internal structural performance of the plant.
Now, what’s the best time to put your African violets outside in the summertime? Technically, the early hours of the day are the best for the plant.
You can consider the afternoon time as well. But in some areas, this is the time when the sun is at its peak. It means that the sun’s rays are too powerful for the plants to bare their heat.
There isn’t any doubt that African violets love to thrive in a warm environment, but the high level of heat can also damage the plant. You can simply follow the weather forecast of your area to choose the best time for your African violets.
While placing your African violets outside in the summertime, you have to keep a few things in mind. First, put them under shade.
Do not expose it to direct sunlight. Second, in the rainy seasons of the summer, you have to keep it away from the rain.
The rain will damage the leaves of the African violets. Lastly, if you have a very low humidity level in your area, then it’s not a good idea to put it outside in the summertime.
African violets can live outside if you will introduce them to the required conditions. But the pests will not allow your African violets to live outside alone.
Cyclamen mites and Spider mites are the worst you will meet in this scenario. These pests will never allow your African violets to have a healthy life.
In the case of cyclamen mites, you cannot remove them easily, you have to remove the part of the plant affected by this pest.
Moreover, once your African violets become familiar with the outside environment, it will become difficult for them to move inside.
First of all, they become acquainted with the outside temperature. Secondly, they are accustomed to organic matter, and other beneficial parasites that will be hard to handle if you move them inside.
African violets make a good addition to your inside and outside plant collection. It will enhance the beauty of your house as well as your garden.