Do African Violets Go Dormant?

Question:  Do African violets go dormant?

Answer:  No. Unlike some other members of the gesneriad family, particularly those that are rhizomatous or tuberous, violets (which are fibrous rooted) won’t go dormant, if good culture is provided.  If a good, consistent, growing environment is provided, a violet will grow and bloom nearly continually.

Most people visiting our shop (any many of you perhaps) grow their plants in windows.  Keep in mind that a window environment is not constant, so that growth of a plant in that environment is not constant.  Here in the northeast U.S., for example, we may not see sunshine for weeks during the middle of winter.  In addition, the day length can be as much as 6 hours less than in the middle of summer.  Less light, of course, means slower growth and fewer blooms–what appears to be dormancy.  This is why many hobbyists grow under florescent lighting, since the light provided is constant, day after day, which encourages constant growth and bloom.  If you do grow in a window, you may want to move plants to a brighter exposure for the winter months, or supplement the natural light with artificial light.

Another problem is that all houseplants tend to get the same care, if only for the grower’s convenience.  Though plants like Philodendron or Sansevaria will grow and survive in even the worst conditions, violets require, and deserve, better treatment.  They’re not “fussy”, but deserve more because we expect them to do more.  Sanseveria is expected merely to survive (though it does bloom), but violets are expected to provide a display–of foliage and blooms.  Though grown in the same window, each has different needs.


  • My violet has bloomed continuously for the 6 months I’ve had it, but now the flowers are much smaller than they were until now? Why is that happening and what should I do?

    • Would guess that there is some stress or change in environment to cause this. Would need to know more–higher temps might cause this, for example. It might simply be in dire need of repotting as well, if you haven’t done this in the last year.

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