First african violet

Ashley927(6)June 16, 2013

My grandmother passed away and my aunt said I could have her african violet. I've never had one before and would appreciate some help on how to care for it. It looks like there are 2 plants in that one pot and my mother said she could never get the plant to bloom. Should I separate the 2 plants and do you think I could keep the plants outdoors for the summer? I live in central Jersey.

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katmitx(8a)

It certainly looks healthy! I've had single plants grow 2 crowns. You can easily divide it for two plants. Did your grandmother have it outside? I do know they don't like direct sunlight. I keep mine in a bright indoor room and they usually bloom once in a while. I water them with african violet food included (measured on the weak side). You may have issues with bugs outside. I don't know what you'd do to make sure it's "clean" before bringing it indoors. I'll let the more experienced folks weigh in on that.

Here is a link that might be useful: AV FAQ

This post was edited by katmitx on Mon, Jun 17, 13 at 0:34

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 12:25AM
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Linda

Ashley,

I'll try to give you the basics and then if you have any questions come back here. There are many experienced growers here and all are willing to help.
First-African violets do not do well outside unless you live in Africa-their land of origin. Pests and weather will take a toll on them. Keep them inside.
Light-AV's need a bright area with no strong sun. I find this confuses many people. Think of a window in your house that is East-facing. The morning sun may come in but it is not strong, The rest of the day the window area is light with no direct sun. East windows are usually ideal. However any window is fine as long as there is no strong sun, This will burn the leaves.
Water-Try to keep your plant moist. When you water, water well and then let the soil go almost dry. Too wet-the roots rot. Too dry-the plant dies. It does not matter if you water from the top or bottom. Some will swear by one way; some by another. Your plant does not care where you water from. Be careful not to get COLD water on leaves as this will spot them. Not a major problem; just unsightly. (I went to Italy last September and forgot to tell my daughter this. They are still growing out). Again, many will tell you not to wet the leaves. Experienced growers and show-ers routinely wash their AV's. (I did mine tonight). If there is water on your leaves, let dry out of the sun and don't let water remain in the crown. Use a paper towel to mop it up.
Pot-Your pot should be 1/3 the diameter of your plant: a 6-inch plant goes in a 2-inch pot. Resist the temptation to go bigger. Violets bloom much better when root-bound. Also, too much soil (please don't refer to it as dirt-pet peeve) and the plant can't take up the water fast enough and roots rot. Not good.
Soil-should be light. Think fluffy. Most growers use a mix of 1/3 peat, 1/3 perlite and 1/3 vermiculite. (You will see this referred to as a 1:1:1 mix). If you only have one or a few plants, buy potting mix and add perlite to it. Potting mix, even specifically for AV's is too heavy, (Root rot).
Fertilizer-weekly, weakly. Use non-urea based, balanced fertilizer. Check the label. It will say if the nitrogen is from urea. (Root burn). The numbers will be something like 10-10-10.
If it were me, I would get my care basics down before attempting to divide your plant, It's not a difficult process but the after-care can be a bit tricky. I think you'd have much more success if you were a little more practiced. Also, since this plant has sentimental value I think it's one more reason to wait. Your plant will not be harmed by having multiple crowns. It's how they grow in nature: limiting them to one crown is an artificial ideal imposed by growers to show their plant to an advantage.
I think this should get you started. It might sound daunting but it's really not. I have hundreds of violets and I started out with one-just like you!
Here's a great site:http://www.rachelsreflections.org/
Have fun!

Linda

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 2:58AM
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Linda

On another note-the pot looks much too big. Maybe this is why it hasn't bloomed.

Linda

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 3:44AM
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Linda

More advice-Your violet needs to be washed. Leaves have pores, (stomata), through which they perform a gas exchange. If these are clogged the plant can't 'breathe'. Below is a good site.
Notice the size of the pot in relation to the plant. It's just right.

Linda

Here is a link that might be useful: Washing African Violets

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 1:09AM
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