Yikes! What have I gotten myself into? :)

DanaInNewOrleansJanuary 3, 2012

Hi Everyone,

I've always loved African Violets but I was always too chicken to even try to actually keep one alive. I've never been successful growing much of anything. Long story short -- I've finally had to stop working due to my Multiple Sclerosis and I decided I wanted to spend my time doing things I've always wanted to do. So far Painting and African Violets have won out. I went crazy when I found out there are such a thing as miniature AVs-- I'm a sucker for anything miniature-and bought like 12 online without having any idea what to do with them. Well, needless to say I am now obsessed with keeping them alive. Some are blooming a little but those are the ones that arrived with some buds on them. Those seem to be doing pretty good. The ones that did not have any blooms still do not have any blooms. I've been reading and reading and mostly I've just gotten more confused. It seems there is so much minute and subjective information about AVs requirements and ideals--I was hoping for hard and fast rules I guess! How much Light, How close the light should be, Florescent vs Incandescent vs LED, Crowns,Suckers, Repotting vs keeping them in tiny containers, Temmperature, Water, Food, Don't get the leaves wet vs Its ok to get the leaves wet if it is not cold water.....Distilled Water vs RO Water ( I didn't even know what RO water was) vs Springwater..... my head is spinning!!! LOL....

Now I'm wondering what the heck I got myself into. I'll be heartbroken if one of these darling little things die....

That's it, I just wanted to share my apprehension. I'm going to keep reading and hope I can keep these babies alive!

Thanks to everyone for sharing your expertise and experience here on this forum!!


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irina_co(z5 CO)

Dana -

stop obsessing. There is a learning curve - and we all went through it and we lose a violet every so often anyway. So even if one croaks - it is not the end of the world. You can take a leaf from each of yours - recut them with a sharp blade - stick them in a reconstituted jiffy peelts - and keep them in a plastic show box away from the direct sun. It is your insurance. If one dies - you have 5 babies of the same variety.

There is a store "Bayou Violets" in Metairie. Make a trip there, ask questions. They have supplies and know-how besides the violets.

I didn't find a club in NO. There is an AV club in Baton Rouge - you need to contact them and check if they know somebody who lives closer to you - so you can actually see how experienced growers do it.

The cheapest setup is fluorescent tubes. 12 is not that many - you can go to Walmart, get yourself 2 24 inches above the counter T8 light sticks - and attach them to something 8 inches above your plants.

Good Luck - and for you to know. The AV clubs are getting progressivly older - and they will be welcoming a young (whatever less than 80 is very young) enthuastic new grower.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 4:39PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Here are a few simple suggestions I hope help:

Don't buy any more violets no matter how tempted. If you do, you will be truly overwhelmed. Winter is not a good time to ship, anyhow. This will give you time to learn about them and to make your mistakes. As Irina said, there's a learning curve and we all lose violets; even those who have had them for years.

Unless you've already repotted, leave them in the pots they came in for a while (I usually go six weeks). They can then adjust to your environment.

Don't over-pot or your AVs will spend time growing roots instead of leaves and blooms. A rule of thumb is the pot should be 1/3 the leaf span. So a leaf-span of 3" should be in a 1" pot; a 6" span in a 2" pot. Others are more up on the largest pot in which you should put a mini or semi.

When you do repot, you can cut regular AV soil with perlite (coarse is best; I get mine online or at the local co-op). 3:1 is the ratio with perlite being the bigger number.

If you received blooming or ready-to-bloom plants you were lucky. Most aren't shipped that way and it could take the others a month or two before you see the first bloom.

And most important of all: If you need reading glasses, WEAR THEM when you repot. :-D

Happy Growing!


    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 7:11PM
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Welcome to the forum and I hope you find much success and joy with violet growing.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 7:54PM
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