Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Slowest Way to Kill Your African Violets

 The petals sparkle in the sunshine. It's the #2 reason why I keep trying to grow them.
They'll bloom forever. That's #1.
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 Janet.. and pretty much everyone else I know. 

I am not a pro on these pretty little flowers ~ but they tend to bloom, every month. Perhaps you can learn from my mistakes!

I blame the local supermarket for my African Violet obsession. Every spring, they tempt me with these darling little house plants though the average life expectancy in my home used to be about 6 weeks. 

* The quickest way to kill them is by overwatering. 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 soak up the water. 

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.

My M.O. generally involved placing them in a hot, south window where they literally curled up and died.


More Tips & Tricks:

  • Spend the extra dollar on African Violet soil - they need light airy soil, with plenty of nutrients. 
  • Give them diluted plant food, once a month. 
  • These 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. 

* Put a layer of stones in a deep saucer, fill saucer with water, place your flower pot on top of the stones. (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...

Good to Know:

When planting instructions say: keep soil moist, that does not mean saturated. Potted plants, with roots sitting in water, will perform very poorly.

* 'Healthy soil' is loose enough to allow oxygen in between soil particles. When the soil is constantly wet, air pockets disappear. With a limited oxygen supply, your plants can't breathe, it's hard to grow and harder, still, to flower..

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