I want to grow healthy violets

greylady_gardenerFebruary 6, 2008

Good morning everyone. I came to this forum a few days ago and posted 'in search of' as I was (and still am) looking for a Canadian source for achimenes bulbs. Since then I have been reading and looking at all the wonderful pics of your violets and am just amazed (and extremely jealous) at all the gorgeous plants!

I grew several violets, years ago, before moving to this house and I was always very proud of how well they did, even though I didn't know what I was doing. I had a huge east facing window (which I was told wasn't good for them)and they just grew and looked wonderful. When I moved here, I didn't have the same light and all of them kind of just gave up one at a time. I have tried growing them off and on over the years, but not much success. Several years ago we put a room on the back of the house with mainly windows on the east, west and south facing walls, so light shouldn't be the problem now. My neighbour occasionally gives me some babies from the ones that she starts (she will NOT through out a broken off leaf) and I try again. Right now I have one that is a couple of years old and although it is surviving, it looks nothing like the ones that I see here (or my neighbour's). I really love them , but have been refusing to buy any or take too many from my neighbour as I feel awful just bringing them home to die or suffer a sad, dull-leafed life.

Maybe since finding this forum and the wealth of knowledge that you all obviously have, I will be able to grow them and have them actually thrive and look good. The only real thing I do know about them is that they need to be watered from the bottom so as not to get the leaves wet.

My first questions are: Should I be fertilizing them right now and with what, and how do I make the leaves look nice and shiny instead of limp and dull looking?

Any tips or suggestions for how to care for my sad violet and the ones that I plan to bring home very soon, would be most welcome.



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The African Violet Society of America has a web site you might be interested in visiting - the FAQ section has a lot of basic violet care information. A lot of great pictures as well.
Hope this helps you!

Here is a link that might be useful: African Violet Society of America

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 12:44PM
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Hi, I'm new to growing African Violets too so I have more questions than answers! I've found a lot of helpful information on web sites like the African Violet Society of America (plus info on finding local clubs) at http://www.avsa.org/Faq.asp, Rachel's Reflections at http://www.rachelsreflections.com/, and The Violet Barn at http://www.robsviolet.com/plant%20care.htm. Forums like this one are super. You also have a great resource in your neighbor. She'd probably be willing to share her growing tips with you so the plants she gives you will be healthy and happy. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 12:46PM
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The best site for you to absorb a wealth of information is www.rachelsreflections.com.

Rachel just passed away yesterday, but the knowledge she shared on that site lives on and has helped and will help countless people.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 2:46PM
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Thanks, dragonfly,donna, and m3rmald, I will read all that I can. I would love to have my violet look as healthy as the ones that I see here. Once I get the hang of it and get this one looking good, I will not be so afraid of bringing more into the house.
donna, when I ask my neighbour how she gets them so healthy, she just shrugs and says "I just stick them in and they grow" ....that doesn't work for me! LOL

Does everyone fertilize their violets all year long?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 6:45PM
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I pretty much fertilize with every watering - I use a 20/20/20 formula - 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of water.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 4:48PM
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tweetypye(z8/sc AL)

I too fertilize with every watering. I use Miracle Gro liquid AV fertilizer. I don't bottom water, never have. When the soil feels dry if I poke my finger into it, and the pot feels light when I lift it, I take my violets to my sink, and water them with lukewarm water with the fertilizer added, until the water drains freely out of the bottom of the pot, and the pot again feels heavy. This may not be the "correct" method, but it certainly works for me.
When I was given my first AV years ago, the lady gave me printed instructions on watering, and this is how she did hers. She said that you need to use lots of water and flush the salt that accumulates from the fertilizer over time, out of the soil. I use a watering can with a tiny spout so that I do not get water on the leaves or in the crown.
At the same time, I groom my violets, taking off all yellow or limp leaves and spent blooms and stems. If they need to be cleaned, I use a soft artist paint brush to gently brush any dust or debri from the leaves.
I hope you have good luck with you AV's.
Happy Growing,

Here is a link that might be useful: Recent photos of my AV's

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 7:07PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Jan -

you have a fantastic collection of the most beautiful plants. Not only you do it right - you have a green magic in your fingers. Third from the left in a bottom row - is Rhapsodie Cora. Mine also came from the big box store - but it had a tag


    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 9:43PM
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Thanks everyone for the help/tips. I like the idea of the brush to clean up the leaves.
I will try and get it looking good and then post a pic of it when it is flowering.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 5:43PM
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Im truly sorry to hear Rachel has passed away. She left a wealth of knowledge for all to learn by. She will be missed enormously. Thanks Rachel for everything, RIP.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 6:50PM
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