Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I love my African Violets!

I love African Violets! I took this picture of one of my plants with my handy dandy new digital camera (which I still love). (Note the little cute "extra" in my plant. I have "extras" like that in almost all of mine.)

I have heard that this is a hard plant for people to grow and it may be, but mine have almost always thrived and bloomed throughout the whole year. I don't necessarily do exactly what "they" say to do, but here is the care I give mine.

  • It really needs to be in a window sill, preferably facing the east (or at least a window that gets a lot of sunlight). That brief period of time ten years ago when one of mine didn't bloom was when I had it on the piano two feet from the patio door (again, east), but two feet was too far.
  • I have several other types of plants to care for as well as my violets, so I just water all of them once a week. They say violets like to be in moist soil, but the most important thing is to not over water them or let them sit in water. Once a week works for me because I can remember to do it once a week. "They" also say to water from the bottom, but I don't. I just water from the top because it is easier for me. I don't end up having "water spots" on my leaves.
  • I pluck off the dead flowers, dead leaves, and yellowing leaves whenever I get a chance (probably not often enough, but whenever I think about it and have a few minutes). This lets the plant focus its energy on the flowers and healthy leaves.
  • It is probably also a good idea once or twice a year to give your violet a little violet food, which puts the nutrients back in the soil that your violet needs. If you don't do this, it will still be okay. I'm good if I remember once a year. The spring is a good time to do it because at that time, you can also remember to add a little soil to the ones whose soil is getting low and/or transplant some out of a pot that is getting too full (sometimes you can end up having five or six separate little plants in the same pot and it just gets to be too much for one pot and you'll end up with a plant with a lot of leaves that aren't a bright, healthy green).
  • These plants are also extremely easy to start a new plant. Simply pinch off one of the leaves plant it in a pot with potting soil in it. Remember to try to keep this pot moist to let your plant get rooted (I'd say try to put water in it at least twice a week--if you put them where you can't overlook them, you won't forget!). It honestly takes around three months before you start seeing new little green leaves poking up from the soil. I think an African Violet makes a nice gift--especially one that you've taken the time to grow for someone!

There you have it. I've had this same plant for twelve years and I look forward to many more years with my violets. I especially love looking at them in the winter when everything outside looks so dead (although we know it is all just dormant until spring). Just gives me that splash of color I need to keep on going. If I had more east facing windows, or even windows that faced west, but were high enough out of reach of children and dogs, I'd have more violets. As it is, all available window sills have at least two pots of violets on them, with the max being four to five which is all I can fit!

I wish you success with your African Violets and may their beauty brighten your life like they do mine.

No comments: