Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Update: African Violets and Watering House Plants
The rescued African Violet is blooming, just two little pink flowers, but it is enough bloom that I think the plant is going to make it.
If you're new to my blog, let me catch you up on this African violet. My sister and mom's long-time neighbors brought it over to my sister when they were moving a few months ago.
Immediately the African violet went into some kind of shock... cats mauling it, kids hollering and rough housing around it, my sister trying to protect it by putting it up on a bookcase, and then leaving it sit for several days in a saucer of water. Very traumatic for an African violet that lived for years in a quiet home next door.
Now it is doing fine and blooming here at the serene headquarters of May Dreams Gardens.
And I think in the time I've had it, nearly two months, I've probably only watered it four, maybe five times, and it never sat in a saucer of water.
I believe that the number one reason that house plants die is because we overwater them. Oh, yes, we gardeners mean well, and often want to water on a schedule, say "once a week whether the plant needs it or not", and generally it is "not".
But we go ahead with our watering schedule because it suits us, and then we leave the plant sitting in a big saucer full of water.
No, no, no.
Water when the soil is dry a good inch or so down from the surface.
Make sure the pot has good drainage.
If you can, take the plant to a sink to water it thoroughly and let all the excess water run through the pot before putting it back where it belongs. If you can't do that, make sure to empty the saucer of excess water after watering.
Just don't let the plant sit in a saucer of water for a long time.
Soon I'm going to take some cuttings from this African violet, root them, and give them back to my sister. She said that her kids would like to have some African violets to try and grow but she doesn't want to kill off the "mother plant".
In the meantime, I was looking through the book 1,001 African Violet Questions Answered by Twelve Experts, and started to read the biographies of some of the 12 experts.
Lo and behold, one of the experts is from my hometown! And she registered a variety of African violet called 'Lady Greenwood' and at the time the book was published, 1958, she was 'growing a very nice sport from it, 'Greenwood Holly'.
What are the chances I could find these two varieties of African Violets? Anyone ever heard of them?