When Grasshopper and I were reviewing the results of our recent survey at GardenersReach, we found that several of you wanted more On the Basics . With a couple of people locally here in Tampa and a family in Robbins North Carolina wanting more information on Violets, this presented a great opportunity to give you what you wanted.
I approached the Ladies of the Tampa African Violet Society, having previously approached them to ask if they wanted to be included in our Branching Out! Calendar of Events (which is available to Subscribers) and listing dates for them, they were more than happy to oblige and our thanks go to them. Please offer them your support by commenting on their articles as you read them. Also consider attending their AVS Events check them out on our Calendar if you are a Subscriber.
The Bio s of the two ladies Mary Lou Harden and Lynne Wilson who have written the article African Violet Basics are included below for your perusal. I also asked if they would write further articles in progression to aid in our learning s so watch out for more coming soon.
Mary Lou and Lynne will be collectively authoring the articles and on GardenersReach and will be using the pen name Violet! Well, what did you expect?
Mary Lou Harden
I ve been growing African violets about 30 years. Despite what some people say about violets being difficult to grow, at one time I grew several thousand. Now I grow about a hundred. I m a member of Tampa AVS, African Violet Council of Florida, Dixie African Violet Society and African Violet Society of America.
I’ve been growing African violets about 20 years and I’m also a member of the Tampa African Violet Society, the African Violet Council of Florida, the Dixie African Violet Society, and the African Violet Society of America. My African Violet collection is grown indoors and under fluorescent lights. I went to a show 20 years ago and became fascinated by the beautiful blooms and the range of foliage from the deepest green to the lighter variegated foliage. I needed to learn how to grow them and I continue learning and sharing with other growers.
Violets – Winsome
African Violet Basics
by Mary Lou Harden Lynne Wilson ( Violet )
The secret to growing beautiful African Violets is to give them what they want. What they want is the proper amount of light, the right soil mix, the correct moisture level, a good fertilizer, and a comfortable temperature.
Light can be from either natural light or fluorescent light. One of the reasons the African violet became one of the world s most popular plants is that they are an indeterminate-day-plant or a plant in which flowering is achieved with 12 18 hours of daylight. For the casual grower of just a few African violets, any window that has strong, bright light is good. Shield from the hot mid-day sun and turn the plants turn daily. If the plants reach upwards, more light is needed. If the plants are showing bleaching of the leaf surface, then move them away from the window until a happy medium is achieved. Most hobby growers use fluorescent lights and keep their plants 12 16 inches from the top of the pot to the bottom of the light tube. If the plants grow upright with long leaf stems, move them closer to the lights. If the plants are growing too compactly and the center leaves become hard and brittle, move further away from the lights.
Soil mix for African violets is a light and porous mixture. Packaged mixtures in the stores do not allow for the Florida humidity. I use 3 parts Pro-Mix BX, 2 parts perlite, 1 part vermiculite with cup of charcoal added to every 5 gallons of mix.
Moisture is one of the most important culture factors. Water that has been through a water softener or heavily chlorinated water can be detrimental to your plants. Check with your city or county water department to see what has been added to your water source. I use tepid water that has been filtered. With a large number of plants I have found wick watering saves a lot of time and energy. Many growers use acrylic wicking. Wicks can be cut from yarn, plumb line, and old panty hose. The wick is placed in the African violet pot and then allowed to dangle in a reservoir with water in it. This way the plant will absorb the amount of water it needs. African violets should be kept evenly moist.
Fertilizer should be well balanced. I use a 15-30-15 fertilizer at a rate of teaspoon per gallon during fall and winter, and in summer I cut back to 1/8 tsp. per gal. Too much fertilizer causes roots to burn and brittle foliage. Too little fertilizer will cause light foliage and just a few small flowers.
Temperature for the African violet would ideally be 65 70 degrees at night with an increase of 5-10 degrees in the day. Below 60 degrees the plant s growth slows. If too warm, the plants grow sappy and spindly. If the grower is comfortable, then the plants will be too.
The African Violet Society of America lists many affiliated clubs throughout the world. The website is www.AVSA.org. It is very likely there is a club near you with members happy to answer any questions.
Violet – Teen Chatter
Photographs Courtesy of AVSA Gallery