A.V for office enviroment?

Dovetail(6b)May 7, 2013

Hello everyone,

I had a small African Violet plant a year or two ago and LOVED IT, unfortunately my ferret loved it too...

I now have a new job working as an office clerk at the city where I live. The office is bright, and open with a few windows and a long front counter. Each of us has our own desk. Mine is in the corner sort of away from the windows, but still with the general overhead lighting.

The office seems to be pretty temperate so far, but the supervisor happened to mention that the heating and cooling can be pretty odd. if they jack up the a.c to cool the back, we'll get cold up front, and vice versa. By "cold" I assume she meant "office cold" like 65ish.

I read once they like fertilizer, but I'm not sure what kind. I do have some perlite I bought from my old plant so that I could mix it with the potting soil to help it drain better (which might be why I had trouble keeping it moist?)

I have NOT ASKED if I can have a plant yet...since I only just started. I love plants though, and an African violet is small, beautiful and wont drip water everywhere since you water them from the bottom.

So, what I am wondering, is. Will an African violet flourish in an office environment? I assume at night it'll be dark, except for the window light, and the daytime will have typical office lighting.

I'd love a beautiful little plant for my desk, and my mind sprung to these cuties right away.

Furthermore, my last plant was from wal-mart (ick) and they were all a generic purple.

I know they can be propagated from leaves and I am interested in some of the more colorful varieties like pale blues or lovely pinks.

Do we have a leaf exchange, or somewhere I could get a lovely plant for an even lovelier price? (aka, just shipping? I would of course return the favor with sharing leaves in my own time)
I am student too, and so my budget is pretty much zip. I think if I could save on a plant I might be able to afford a nice pot to keep it in.

So, any thoughts and advice?

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irina_co(z5 CO)

D. -

I would say that the single violet you need should come from Walmart or Home Depot. These varieties are mostly Optimaras and they are TOUGH. Try to get there when they have a fresh shipment - you will get a choice plant - and they are really inexpensive.

To get your plant growing successfully without good light is impossible. You want it to bloom. If yo have a large enough desk - you can get an inexpensive table lamp and screw a CFL bulb - the one that looks like twisted noodle and are sold with "23 wt will work as 100wt incandescent.) Under this lamp - it will bloom and be happy =- you can get a timer for it- Walmart has them for something like $5 - so it will turn your light on for 12 hours. Or just turn it off when you leave work.

I recommend a 4" Oyama pot for your violet - it is a self watering neat looking contraption which will keep it watered for a week. But a regular plastic 4" pot with a saucer will work too - or you can get an neat cachepot to put the the inner pot in. Just make sure you do not overwater it ever. Soil - you can get AV soil in a bag - and split it with 1/3 perlite.

Best AV fertilizer in my experience is DynaGrow - 1/4 teaspoon per gallon to use every time you water. Optimara also sells their fertilizer - excellent - I would use it 1/8 of a teaspoon per gallon. You can order both from Internet. They are not cheap - but they will last.

I understand that you are on a budget - but there is no such thing as an absolutely free lunch. AV is a living organism - and it needs certain conditions to be happy and make you happy. Otherwise it will wither and die -and it is a bad karma.

I think you can grow an Av at home if you put a
hanging pot - and use it as a cachepot - so your mischievous ferret won't get into it.

My cats do not touch violets - but they found the plant they practically mow down - it is Callisia fragrans.

Good Luck


PS you see - it is like buying the horse - you get one cheap - but it is an upkeep that gets you.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 12:50PM
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FYI- African Violets do NOT have to be watered from the bottom. It is just a method that some find easier and more convenient. Think about it-in their natural environment are they watered from the bottom?


    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 1:00PM
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Here is an image of my desk,
I think I might try a store variety and if it does well maybe I can get a fancier type (I've been eyeing Lyon's fireworks)

Do you fertilize with the water? Or do you mix it in the soil?
Also do you the think window there will be bright enough?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 9:26PM
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I think that window is plenty bright enough. If you sit the plant near or in front of it. You can make a 1/4 strength fertilizer mix and use that to water each time.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 7:40AM
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Do you have any idea what direction that window faces ?

You don't want to mix fertilizer into your soil. I wouldn't use a fertilizer at all for few weeks. Then, use it whenever you water at about 1/4 strength, as has been suggested.

If you purchase a plant from a store, it may be wise to keep it from blooming for about 6 wweks, to starve out any thrips which may be in hiding.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 12:28PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Aegis - you cannot starve thrips this way - this is an urban legend. They feed on young leaves as well and one of their stages - is in a soil - so you can reduce the amount of them - but not kill them. But - reduction helps - for a time.

D -the file cabinet near the window is a good place, wooden desk doesn't have enough light, it is not bad - left corner of the desk is the best. what you can do = keep it on your corner until it is pass the bloom = and then move to the window to recharge.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 7:29PM
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I believe the window faces west/south.

I bought a little cutie called "little Cheyenne" from lowes (it wasn't labeled but the optimara site had. Look up page) it came in a double pot, with a wick installed. The inner pot is tiny, about 2" or so.

It's been rainy all day so I couldn't get a good light shot. I have some neem oil to mist the plant with, if you think it needs it, to kill any thrips or buggies.

If I buy a gallon of distilled water and just keep it under my desk could I mix the fertilizer into the jug? I've read the violets like room temperature water?

Here is the link to its optimara page: http://www.myviolet.com/varieties/87

This post was edited by Dovetail on Thu, May 9, 13 at 21:06

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:02PM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

When I used distilled water my plants began to get pale leaves. My tap water has a lot of chlorine, so I either use Brita filtered water or else let a jug of tap water sit overnight to evaporate the chlorine.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 12:48PM
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I use rainwater as much as I can with most of my plants.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Thank you everyone for your advice! I brought my little guy home per the weekend and have been keeping it under the fluorescent on my counter and ill bring it back to work with me tomorrow. Since we're closed on the weekends I didn't think it'd get enough light. Lowes gets their truck in tonight so I'm going to go tomorrow early in the morning and try to grab another choice cutie!!

I added a photo of my little guy in the morning sun at work

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 9:41PM
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