Wednesday, December 23, 2009

African Violet blooms...

Well, it's hardly Christmas themed, but then that's 2 days off... I know I talk about cacti mostly, but I inherited Moms African violets. Not that I have any names for the things, Mom was violently opposed to name tags. And it's true that I tend to water on a Cacti / Succulent schedule... I grow these in a 50 gallon terrarium.

The origional purpose of the terrarium was to root cuttings of plants, which I could then take to the flea market to sell. These got stuck in there after I repotted them, and they got a little wilty. So I stuck them in the terrarium and treated them like cuttings. They promptly began blooming and they've been thriving ever since.

It breaks all the rules... They get water all over the leaves, (It's hard to water over a foot and a half tall piece of glass without splashing some) but they don't develop brown spots... I have no idea why. Maybe the higher humidity has something to do with it... someone suggested that the water on the leaves may be a problem because of it drying on the leaves, where the humidity in the case keeps it from drying. Sounds just as good as any other reason. I don't worry about it. It's working, so I ain't arguing about it.

This seems to be a semi-dwarf variety... the leaves are small, but not as small as a miniature, and it has lots of happy little grape colored flowers.


  1. How lovely - I have had an african violet explosion here , i started out with maybe 4 and then some cuttings , now I have and entire tall bookshelf full. :(

    My fave is this sweet little light green one with pink undertones on the foliage. Its also got ruffled leaves. I dont know any of the names either.

    They were my first plant , and I killed so many of them , now I have lots. How very odd for me.

  2. I of course won't be able to find the reference, but I found a botany paper somewhere that explained leaf spotting on genseriads as the consequence of cold water on leaves in high light. Tepid water and high light won't do it, cold and dark won't do it. This fits with my observations from work, at least approximately, so I think it's right.

    I'd be interested in whether or not this strikes you as plausible as well.

  3. Happy Hermit --- I'm a little amazed that they're doing as well as they are. Mom adored them, but I always considered them a bit too quaint, if that makes sense. They seem to be happy with my benign neglect though.

    Mr. S --- sounds entirely plausable to me... I never water with cold water, I feel that it would be a bit of a shock to the plant, so maybe that is the explanation. I've also heard that light refracting through the drops of water might sunburn the leaves, and cause brown spots... The terrarium is in extremely bright indirect light.

  4. One interesting fact... if you put an African Violet leaf in the freezer, after it's frozen, it will shatter like glass. Now, I don't know why you'd put it in the freezer to begin with, but there we are...

  5. The lone African Violet that I have is doing nothing. Still has a few leaves, that's it. I won't be trying them again. Your plant is beautiful. Have a wonderful Christmas and great New Year!

  6. Merry Christmas, Claude!!!

    I used to have AV's...all in my kitchen window and they did great. For some reason I got sick of them and gave them away! I have been seeing a few postings people have done regarding theirs, and I think I might like to have one or two again...but like you...I LOVE MY succulent watering schedule...near to never!!! LOLOL!

    That is an interesting fact about the frozen leaves! I would surely like to give it a try one day!