Sharing one of my favorite gift ideas featuring African Violet pots. These bright fun plants with their sweet cluster of tiny blooms surrounded by fuzzy round foliage are the perfect plant to put a smile on someones face. In a few simple steps you can create this fabulous African violet planter basket that is perfect as a birthday gift, get well basket or hostess gift.
About African Violets
As their name suggests, African violets (Saintpaulia) are native to East Africa, stemming from the tropical rainforests of Tanzania and Kenya. They come in shades of pinks, blues and purples with some varieties that are variegated (multi colored). They have tiny yellow pistal and stammen in the center. This popular houseplant can bloom nearly year-round with the proper care. Each healthy flower will last two or three weeks and a happy thriving plant can continue producing new blossoms regularly for 10 to 12 months out of the year. They are also fairly inexpensive and easy to find here in Massachusetts.
African Violet Care
African violets are typically easy to care for. Like many plants there is an acclimation period once you move the plant from one location to another. You may need to move the plants around to determine the best sunlight that works best. Here are some basic care tips to consider:
- Watering: Keep the soil lightly moist, but be careful not to overwater, as African violets’ soft stems are very susceptible to rot. It is suggested that you use room temperature water. The leaves on the African violet are susceptible to rot and fungal spots if kept in high humidity, so consider watering African violets from the bottom to avoid getting excess water on the foliage. Because they prefer bottom watering African violets would be the perfect plant for a self-watering wick system that utilizes a cotton rope.
- Sunlight: African violets plants prefer bright, indirect natural light. Avoid direct sunlight in an indoor space that is an east or north facing window, this gives them the best lighting. If the leaves become too thin and dark green and/or the stems too leggy it may be an indication the plant is getting too little light. On the other hand light green leaves indicates too much light. Many find success using fluorescent lights for their African violets.
- Potting: Typically an African violet plant comes in a plastic pot with drainage holes on the bottom of the pot. Often the inner pot sits inside an outer pot without holes so one could water through the root system by leaving a water reservoir. However I would caution that these plants do not want to sit in water. Soil should be a well-draining potting mix with peat moss as poor drainage can cause root rot. Repot only when necessary and go up only one pot size at a time. African violets that are a bit pot-bound (i.e squished in their pots) will flower better. One sign that your violet needs repotting is wilted leaves.
- Best Pots for African Violets: The best African violet pots are those that allow proper drainage. Consider using clay pots, ceramic pots or a terra cotta pot for your African violet plants. Plastic pots with drainage holes like the ones they are in when you buy them are less fancy but work well too. Self-watering pots that use capillary action are another option.
- Fertilizing: African violet fertilizer every other week is recommended.
- Deadheading: Be sure to pinch or deadhead spent blooms. This allows the plant to continue to put energy into creating new growth, beautiful blooms and healthy foliage.
The Perfect Gift Basket using African Violet Pots
I learned this planter gift basket trick while working at a florist years ago, we sold tons of them and I found it very interesting that the plants were not actually planted together, just placed together. This made for easy assembly and more flexibility for the recipient of the gift. Those who received the basket could either remove the plants or keep the basket intact – either way the presentation was beautiful! Using African violet pots for the flowering portion of the basket is one of my favorite designs.
Supplies to Make this Planter Basket
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- 3 African Violets in 4″ pots
- 3 green plants of choice in 4″ pots (I used 2 ivy plants and 1 spider plant)
- 1 package of Moss (I used green Spanish moss)
Steps for Making this African Violet Pot Basket
- Collect 3 varieties of African violets and 3 indoor plants. All should be in 4″ pots. If the violets come in self-watering pots, remove the outer pot leaving just the plastic African violet pots.
- Place the pots in the basket alternating violets and green plants.
- Pull apart the moss and tuck in and around the plants to fill in the gaps.
Frequently Asked Questions
My recommendation is to find a basket that is the same depth as the African Violet pots. If the basket is deeper, you may have to fill it with a box or kraft paper to lift the plants. You can choose round baskets, square baskets, different weaves and colors. When planning please consider the diameter of the pot, the size of the plants, etc. Using a ruler or a tape measure is a good idea.
Most baskets don’t do well getting wet. I recommend once a week bringing the planter basket to your sink, remove the green plants and give then a good soak on the top of the soil. This seems to be the best way to give them enough water while allowing them to drain. Then fill the sink to cover the bottom of plastic African violet pots to allow them to soak up the water. Remove plants from the sink and place them on a towel or paper towel to catch water drips. Then reassemble in the basket.
If available you could place a liner on the bottom of the basket to catch any water drips. You can also line the basket with paper. Otherwise water as mentioned above (out of the basket) and once the risk of water dripping is over, place plants back in the basket.
Locally here in Massachusetts you can find African violets at Home Depot, the floral department at a grocery store, garden centers or at a florist or anywhere tropical plants are sold.
How to Make an African Violet Pot Gift Basket
- 3 4" pots Assorted African Violet plants
- 3 4" pots Assorted green indoor plants
- 1 pkg Green Spanish Moss
- 1 Basket approx 8" x 12" – 4" deep
- Place kraft paper on the bottom of your basket. Another choice would be to fit a plastic liner in the basket. (This step is optional)
- Start by adding 1 of the African violets to the front right side of the basket.
- Next place an ivy plant behind the African violet.
- The second ivy plant sits next to the African violet, front and center.
- Place the second African violet behind the second Ivy. Back and center.
- The third African violet is next, front and on the left side of the basket.
- Place the spider plant behind the last African violet.
- Open the package of moss and gently pull the moss apart to loosen it.
- Place the moss around the plants to fill in the gaps.
- The completed project!
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Thank you for visiting the blog today for African Violet Pots (Plant Care and an Easy Gift Idea). I forgot to mention that as a bonus African violets are not considered poisonous and pet safe. I used some of these beautiful blooms on this cake!