Why Do African Violets Get Leggy? (Causes and Solutions)

If you’re growing African violets and you’ve already noticed that your plant is becoming leggy, then we’ve got good news for you! Read this article fully and you will know the reason behind this problem as well as how to solve it.

African violets are beautiful plants. They grow in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. But unfortunately, this plant has a tendency to get leggy and crooked if you don’t provide it with the right care.

To help you avoid all that, I decided to write this article and share with you my personal experience and the strategies that I use to identify the causes behind my African violet’s leggy and crooked posture.

In the following paragraphs, I will show you also how to fix a leggy African violet as well as how to prevent this problem from happening again.

Sounds good?

Let’s dive in…

African violet getting leggy

Why Is My African Violet Plant Leggy and How to Fix It?

Lack of light is one of the main reasons why African violet gets leggy. This plant requires a lot of light to grow properly. If it does not receive enough light, it will stretch its stems as a response to try to capture the light. As a result, the plant will grow leggy and weak stems.

There are other factors that can cause this issue such as overwatering, lack of pruning, and over-fertilizing.

Let’s go over all the factors that cause African violet to get leggy and explain each one of them in detail.

The plant does not get enough light

Leggy African violets are often a symptom of low light conditions. In fact, plants need sunlight to turn food into energy. When they don’t have much natural light, then they stretch the stems up so that they get more light.


To fix an African violet that became leggy because of low light conditions, you should provide it with, at least, 8 hours of indirect light per day. To achieve this, you can place your plant near a north- or east-facing window. 

If you don’t have access to 8 hours of sunlight a day, you can place a fluorescent bulb above your plant to provide it with the energy it needs. 


Water is an essential element for plants growth. However, too much water can cause African violet to grow leggy. This is because excess water can collect around the crowns, causing the stems to swell and even bend. As a result, the plant will make a number of adjustments in order to keep itself upright.

One of the most common African violet responses to excess water is to stretch tall and straight to get away from the water. This is known as “splaying” and results in a plant that has a strong stem but is usually slightly leggy.


If your African violet is getting leggy because of overwatering, then you should immediately repot it into fresh potting soil. To do this, start by removing the plant from the pot. Then, clean the rootball and get rid of any damaged roots or stems.

Next, disinfect the pot and fill it with fresh potting soil. Finally, place the plant in the pot and make sure to keep the soil moist but not wet.

Lack of Pruning

Another factor that can cause your African violet to become leggy is not pruning them. In fact, overgrown plants are more prone to this problem because their leaves are not able to support their growing weight.

If you want to grow a healthy, strong African violet, you should trim its foliage regularly. This encourages new growth and shapes the plant into a good-looking garden design


To prune an African violet, you must cut just before a leaf node. You can cut the plant at any time, but we recommend pruning African violet every three months. This will help keep the plant healthy and vigorous.

Remove the dead leaves first. Cut off any leaves that have brown spots or are starting to die back. You should also remove any old flowers that are no longer producing seeds. Once all of the unwanted leaves have been removed, give your plant some water and let it dry out again.

Click here to check our latest article about soil acidity preferences for an African violet.

Excess fertilizer

When a plant gets lots of nutrients, it will start to grow quickly. This will cause the stem to grow out of proportion. As a result, the stem starts growing outwards and becomes very leggy.

In the case of African violet, fertilizers with an excessive amount of nitrogen can cause this issue. Nitrogen is an essential element in plant metabolism and is used to make amino acids and nucleic acids. But the excess nitrogen will make these plants grow in random directions and become leggy.


If your African violet is getting leggy because of overfertilizing, you should stop fertilizing it and start increasing the amount of water that you provide for the plant gradually. Within a few weeks, the excess fertilizer will drain away and the plant will begin to look strong and bushy again.


As they age, African violet will have a tendency to get leggy. And this is due to many reasons. First, as this plant grows older, its leaves begin to lose their ability to produce chlorophyll. When this happens, the plant will struggle to produce food and will start growing leggy.

Second, as this plant matures, it begins to lose the ability to store carbohydrates and energy in its cells. This cause the plant to run out of energy and leggy growth starts to take place.


As your African violet ages, it can easily get stressed. In this case, you should provide it with optimum growing conditions to maintain healthy growth. By this, I mean maintaining temperature, humidity and lighting within the optimal range.

The ideal temperature for African violets is 65°F to 80°F. Keeping room temperature within this range will help the plant stay healthy and bloom well.

African violets need a humid environment. So, if you want your plant to stay healthy while it ages, you must make sure that the humidity level is around 80%.

Finally, you should provide your African violet with enough light by placing it in a sunny spot or near a south-facing window.

Are you interested in using LED lights for African violet? Read this article before doing so.

How to Prevent My African Violet from Becoming Leggy?

There are many tips that can help you prevent you African violet from getting leggy, let’s go over all of them one by one:


African violet does not like to grow in overly wet soil. Therefore, you should water this plant only when the soil feels dry to the touch. This will prevent your plant from becoming leggy and help it to grow strong.

Also, when watering this plant, try to do it from the bottom up because this will help it develop strong roots and avoid damaging the leaves and stems.

To water your plant from the bottom up, firstly, place a saucer over the pot containing the plant. Then, fill the saucer with water and let your plant soak up the moisture.

Light Exposure

Another preventive measure that will help you to keep your African violet from getting leggy is providing it with adequate and enough light. This plant grows best in bright indirect sunlight and requires a minimum of 8 hours of sun exposure.

Try to avoid direct intense light, as this may burn the leaves of your plant.

If you can’t provide your plant with a view of the sun, then you can use grow light to provide additional light.

Exposing African violet to bright indirect light to prevent it from getting leggy


Regular pruning is another important factor that can prevent your African violet from getting leggy and help it grow strong and bushy. You should prune this plant whenever it starts looking unbalanced.

To prune your African violet without causing any damage, try to use a pair of scissors and cut off the leaves as close to the stalks as possible. This will help the plant to stay upright and grow in the proper shape.

Adequate Fertilizer

The best fertilizer that can help you grow African violets fast without causing any side effects is a liquid or soluble fertilizer with a 14-12-14 NPK ratio. This kind of fertilizer gets absorbed by the plant quickly and won’t have a chance to run off.

Apply this fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks during the active growth of the plant. This will promote rapid growth and prevent plants from becoming leggy.

Try to avoid fertilizing this plant when it goes dormant as this can disturb the balance of the plant and cause it to grow slowly later on.

Did your African violet change color recently? Here is a quick explanation and fix to this problem.


African violets are easy to grow and care for. However, certain mistakes can make this plant leggy and unattractive.

When growing African violet, some of the conditions that can cause them to become leggy are improper watering, excess fertilizing, low light, and lack of pruning.

To prevent leggy growth, you will want to mimic the native environment of the plant. Try to avoid shady areas in your home and keep the light exposure to your plants to around 12 hours per day. Also, ensure that the soil dries between waterings. And finally, try to use an adequate fertilizer and prune the plant whenever it starts to look unbalanced.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article, and please feel free to contact us at any time if you have questions about your African violets or any other plants. We will be more than happy to assist you!

If you found this content helpful, Click here to read our article about how to fix yellowing African violet

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