How to Balance pH for Violets: A Comprehensive Guide

Violets are beloved houseplants known for their vibrant colors and delicate flowers. However, to ensure their healthy growth and beautiful blooms, it’s essential to maintain the proper soil pH balance. African violets thrive in slightly acidic soil with a pH range between 5.8 and 6.2. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to create the perfect soil mix, test and adjust the pH, and provide the ideal growing conditions for your violets.

What Is the Ideal Soil Mix for Violets?

To create a soil mix that promotes healthy growth and maintains the desired pH range, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 3 parts peat moss
  • 3 parts perlite
  • 1 part vermiculite or worm castings

Peat moss is highly acidic, which helps maintain the ideal pH range for violets. Perlite and vermiculite improve drainage and aeration, promoting healthy root growth. When repotting your violets, always use a fresh soil-less mixture and clean, bleached pots and wicks. The frequency of repotting depends on the size of your plant; miniature violets may need repotting every 4-6 months, while larger violets can go up to a year between repotting.

How to Provide the Perfect Growing Conditions for Violets

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In addition to the proper soil mix, violets require specific growing conditions to thrive. Here are some key factors to consider:

Shade and Temperature

African violets prefer indirect light and temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C) during the day, with a drop of 5-10°F (3-6°C) at night. Avoid placing your violets in direct sunlight, as this can scorch their leaves and damage the plant.

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When watering your violets, use distilled or filtered water to avoid chlorine and other chemicals that can affect the pH and overall plant health. Let the water sit overnight to allow any chlorine to evaporate before using it on your plants. Water your violets when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, and avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.


Fertilize your violets with a fertilizer specifically formulated for African violets, containing equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K). Avoid fertilizers containing urea nitrogen, which can cause root burn. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for proper application and frequency.

When and How to Test the Soil pH for Violets

Testing the soil pH is crucial to ensure your violets are growing in the optimal range. You can use a 3-in-1 moisture meter or a soil pH testing kit to determine the current pH level. Test the soil pH every 4-6 weeks, or whenever you notice signs of stress in your plant, such as yellowing leaves or stunted growth.

What to Do If the Soil pH Is Imbalanced

violet 2Image source: Pixabay

If the soil pH is outside the desired range of 5.8 to 6.2, you’ll need to take corrective action to restore balance. Here are some methods for adjusting the pH:

Lowering the pH

To lower the soil pH, soak the soil with a limewater solution several times. To create the solution, mix 1 tablespoon of dolomite lime with 1 gallon of warm water. Apply the solution to the soil until it runs out of the drainage holes, and repeat the process 2-3 times over the course of a week.

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Raising the pH

To raise the soil pH, you have two options:

  1. Soak the soil with a vinegar water solution several times. Mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water, and apply the solution to the soil until it runs out of the drainage holes. Repeat the process 2-3 times over the course of a week.

  2. Sprinkle finely ground sulfur on the soil and water it in well. Use 1/4 teaspoon of sulfur per 6-inch pot, and work it into the top inch of soil. Water the plant thoroughly after application.

How Long Does It Take to Balance the pH for Violets?

Balancing the soil pH for violets is a gradual process that may take several weeks to a month, depending on the severity of the imbalance. After applying the corrective measures, continue to test the soil pH every 7-10 days to monitor progress. Once the pH reaches the desired range, maintain it by using the proper soil mix, watering with distilled or filtered water, and fertilizing with a violet-specific fertilizer.

Home Remedies for Balancing Violet Soil pH

In addition to the methods mentioned above, there are some home remedies you can use to help balance the soil pH for your violets:

  • Coffee grounds: Sprinkle used coffee grounds on the soil surface to help lower the pH. Use about 1 tablespoon per 6-inch pot, and work it into the top inch of soil.

  • Eggshells: Crush clean, dried eggshells into a fine powder and sprinkle it on the soil surface to help raise the pH. Use about 1 tablespoon per 6-inch pot, and work it into the top inch of soil.

  • Pine needles: Add a handful of pine needles to the soil mix when repotting to help lower the pH. As the needles decompose, they release acids that help maintain the desired pH range.

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Remember to use these home remedies sparingly and in combination with regular pH testing to avoid overcorrecting the soil pH.

By following this comprehensive guide on how to balance pH for violets, you’ll be able to create the ideal growing conditions for your plants, ensuring healthy growth and stunning blooms. With the proper soil mix, growing conditions, and regular pH testing and adjustment, your violets will thrive and bring beauty to your home for years to come.