Can an African violet live long? Easy and hard types?

jerome(z9 CA)September 15, 2011

I know someone in the Chicagoland area who has an African violet that's probably 14 years old or more. Is this normal? Do they love that long usually? Also, I've read here that some varieties are "cast iron" and others tricky. Would love to hear more on that subject.

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irina_co(z5 CO)

Jerome -

there is a specimen plant of "Superman" somewhere around 55 years old.

So with good culture - you can do it no problem.

I am thinking that most of them are pretty hardy. The hybridizer selects the strongest plants from the day the seedlings hatch. There are picky ones - but not that many. I know that a Russian variety "Ataman" is nogo for me, I had it 3 times - and 3 times it croaked. The flowers are exquisite - but I just cannot grow it right. Some of older minis - just go into massive suckering for me no matter what.

I would say that some plants are better for keeping indefinitely - and some are better for restarting every so often. There is super beautiful variety "Blue Dragon" - but in my experience the young plant always looks better and blooms better. In a year -year and half - at least for me - the stem becomes thumb thick and the leaves start growing sidewise. You can "refresh" it buy cutting the crown off and rerooting - but the young plant started from a leaf performs better.

Irina

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 1:30PM
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suecirish(6 SE MA)

I have a beautiful sparkle blue-purple NoID African Violet that is over 12 years old. It was in the basket at my father's funeral in April 1999 and I have had it since. It is large, strong and healthy, and blooms reliably. I recently just cut back the root, which had gotten a bit long, and trimmed off a couple outside rows of leaves. I have no reason to think it won't continue to live and grow for a long time yet.

This photo was taken just a couple months ago
From African Violets

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 1:44PM
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ima_digger

Sue, that is one beautiful violet. Love the color.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 2:02PM
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jerome(z9 CA)

Thanks Irina and Sue. Beautiful photos! Whoa...55 years old, that's older than me by 5! Amazing. Well, my little rescue thing seems to be thriving, even though I realize I put it in too big a pot after I got it. Beginner's luck, perhaps. I see all these li'l flower buds coming up out of the center too, which is neat. Don't know what color it'll be.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 5:03PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Jerome -

the main thing is not to keep them too soggy. With a big pot it is harder to keep it under control because the plant doesn't utilize that much water the big pot can hold. If you keep an eye on this matter - it will be OK. In big pots plant takes longer to start blooming - because it has so much territory to grow in and get big. Small pots - like 3 oz solo cups - the starter fills the pot soon = and sends you a bloomstalk - so you can see what it is.

But - it is a learning curve.

Irina

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 12:39PM
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jerome(z9 CA)

I am being careful not to water too much. Actually, I hardly have to water at all, as I have it sitting in a tray on moist gravel (the water level is not to the top of the pebbles, so it doesn't touch the pot). It seems to be moist enough. I am amazed at how much the little thing grew from purchase time. When I got it it was so dry I thought it was a goner - bone dry and wilting. It has grown by about 1/3 in just a short time. I will try to post a photo, but I don't know if I remember how to do so. We'll see. Thanks for all your advice. I appreciate it a lot.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 1:03PM
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