Sunday, April 07, 2013

Growing African Violets

Rebel's Night Breezes African Violet
It's always a mistake for me to visit Home Depot. I grab the cart and push off quickly, determined to by-pass the flower department. With blinders on, I make a beeline to the more mundane departments, such as plumbing, or electrical.

I like to pair micro-mini roses with the violets. Such a pretty combination...
Though, that rarely, if ever, works. Some little pretty catches my eye and this time it was the Violets. I need another African Violet like I need a hole in my head but, somehow, two more of them found their way onto my window sill.

I'm justifying this by composting the old Violets, in favor of some new fresh blooms... because older Violets run out of steam. They flower less profusely and the leaves get kind of ratty.

Ness Ruffled Skies African Violet
Growing Tips:

African Violets grow perfectly for 2 types of people:
1) Residents of Tanzania
2) Indoor gardeners with a lot of time on their hands

If you don’t fall into those two categories, you’re probably an African Violet serial killer... like me! And, Sandy... and, pretty much everyone else I know. Come springtime, stores tempt us with these darling little house plants though the average life expectancy in my home is about 6 months.

Lyon's Spun Sugar African Violet

* The quickest way to kill them is by over watering. Water when soil is dry to the touch.

* Another good way to do a bad job is to water them from above. They absolutely hate getting their leaves wet. Set them in a saucer and let the roots slowly take a drink.

* East windows, with morning sunlight and bright light for the rest of the day, is ideal.
√ If leaves start turning brown, the plant is getting too much light.

Tommi Lou African Violet
Give them highly diluted 10-10-10 organic plant fertilizer, once a month. Spend the extra dollar on African Violet soil. It does make a difference.

Strawberry Sundae African Violet
Or, better yet... don't re-pot them. For indoor flowering plants, it's not always a good idea to re-pot them; they flower best when root bound. Have you ever noticed how the plant is super cheap but then a ceramic pot costs a fortune and special soils are pretty spendy? The flower is the hook to get you to spend tons of money on accessories you may not need. But, then, I'm a cheapskate.

These pretty, little flowers grow wild in one small place on the planet, the rain forests of East Africa. Make them feel at home by creating a humid environment.

Bob Serbin African Violet
Put a layer of stones in a deep saucer, fill with water, and place your flower pot on top of it. (Pot should sit above the water level.)

The water will slowly evaporate upwards, creating the perfect flowering environment for your African Violet. Which, incidentally, is not a violet at all. But, that's a story for another day...

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Rilly said...

You just gave me more info about violets in this one blog than I ever knew before. I received one as a gift a few yrs ago and it did beautifully for about 4 yrs. then one day it just up and died. It was in a perfect location but I had divided it a year before and all the new ones died. I also watered it from above. I loved them so think I'll try again and follow your rules. Thanx!!! ;)

corita said...

my loving daughter does not like my two light stands full of african violets...sigh. I like them, what can I say!

Janie said...

I love African violets, but I'm one of those serial killers. Only once in my life did I have the perfect window and a successful plant. It's all been downhill from there.

kacky said...

So pretty- African Violets remind me of my Granny. She always had them and I loved to look at them. I have never myself tried to grow them but have always admired- I know they are not easy....

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why propagating African Violets is so difficult in high altitudes? I have planted over 40 leaves with no success. The leaves turn brown and die, or they get root rot. There's no in between. Any advice?