Friday, November 2, 2012

The Amazing African Violet




I never thought I would own an African violet. For some reason, I thought of them as an "elderly ladies" plant. One day, at the florist where I worked, I was asked if I wanted to take one home. It was not faring very well and I thought I'd see if I could revive it. I knew they thrived being in a north-facing  window, and I had space in one of mine, so I took it home.  Thank you, Scott!

It has turned out to be one of the most interesting plants I've ever owned.  It blooms so easily when the light is just right for it. It can look half-dead and will recover wonderfully.  You can even start a new plant from just a leaf placed in potting soil or vermiculite. 

As it matures, it will produce new plants out of it's crown. The young sprouts can then be gently separated from the mother plant and planted in its own pot.  Although the new plants have no roots, when placed in a fresh pot of new potting soil. it will take root quite readily. When rooting new plants, you must be vigilant to keep the soil moist on the surface. When it feels just slightly moist on top, that is the time to add more water.

I've truly come to appreciate these charming beauties.   

They are members of the Saintpaulia family and natives of East Africa, as thier name implies. African violets are the easiest of that family of plants to grow indoors. The other varieties are best recommended for those with some plant experience and an attentive nature.

You can order plants and flower arrangements almost anywhere in the world from:


Care instructions--
  • Sitting in a north facing window is the very best place for them. Otherwise,very bright indirect light or some morning sun, works too. Direct afternoon sun is too strong.
  • It's been recommended for ages to water them from the bottom,  meaning put water in their saucer or a bowl and let them absorb as much as they will take for about 15 minutes. I've found they do not mind being watered from the top if you are careful not to damage the leaves. 
  • Water as soon as the top is dry. 
  • Fertilize with African violet food regularly. Schultz Instant African Violet Plus works beautifully.
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**To see other plants on this blog click here:   The Indoor Garden blog
***For a variety of  video clips on houseplant care from my 90's TV series, click here:The Indoor Garden TV show