Growing African Violet

How to grow african violet: Standard Violets, Trailers, Miniature african violets etc.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Standard Violets

"Standard" sized varieties typically grow 10-12" in diameter when grown as houseplants, and will grow comfortably in a 4" pot when mature. When grown for exhibition, well-grown specimens can reach a diameter of 18" to 24", with leaves as large as one's hand. Keep in mind that these are show plants, given special care (most importantly, disbudding). Grown as a houseplant, they will not grow nearly so large--you need keep only 4-5 rows of leaves to keep your plant attractive and blooming.

Appearing from left to right...
Top row:
Ma's Almost Autumn
Ma's Blueberry Taffy
Ma's Crime Scene
Ma's Evening Sky

Second row:
Ma's Fruit Smoothie
Ma's Jamaican Farewell
Ma's Lily Pad
Ma's Moody Monday

Third row:Ma's Neon Lights
Ma's Prince Froggie
Ma's Blue Turtle
Ma's Corsage

Bottom row:Ma's Debutante
Ma's Country Boy
Ma's Bridal Bouquet
Ma's Grinning Grape

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

African violet - Trailers

Trailers are the same as other African violets in every way except one--growth habit. These are branching plants that have a naturally spreading habit. Because they grow multiple-crowned, they can produce huge amounts of foliage and bloom. Because of their growth habit, they are especially suitable for windows.
Unlike most other trailing varieties, ours are true trailers. All have a compact, natrurally crawling habit that requires little or no pinching. All are extremely profuse bloomers and are very highly recommended, especially for novices, since they require little maintenance to grow well.
The size of a trailing violet is determined by the grower. Because they are spreading plants by nature, even "miniature" varieties can grow into very large plants. Should you wish to grow yours smaller, simply keep the plant pruned-back by pinching the tips of runners to limit its growth.
Personally, we prefer to grow our trailers as ground covers. This is how the plant shown above was grown. As the plant spreads, place it into wider, but still shallow (no deeper than 2-3"), pots. Trailers have a shallow root system. Occasional pinching, pruning, and removal of foliage will encourage even more dense, lush, growth.
If you'd like to grow yours in a hanging basket, perhaps in a window, this can be easily done with trailers. Simply grow it in a somewhat smaller pot and let the runners crawl over the pot edge and "hang". Since a window tends to illuminate only the side of the plant facing it, it's important to regularly turn the plant, and to hang it low enough so that the top growth receives light.

Appearing from left to right...
Top row:Rob's Vanilla Trail
Rob's BoolarooRob's Galiwinku
Rob's Gundaroo
Second row:Rob's Humpty Doo
Rob's Lilli PilliRob's Miriwinni
Rob's Sticky Wicket
Third row:Rob's Wagga Wagga
Rob's Toorooka
Rob's WilliawongChantaspring
Spunky Trail
Teeny Bopper

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Miniature african violets

Miniature African violets are our "claim to fame". Our "Rob's" varieties are grown by serious hobbyists and collectors in every corner of the world. All "Rob's" varieties are proven, show quality plants that grow well and bloom readily, even under less than ideal conditions. They are bred to shape nicely, bloom continually, and typically will have unusually colored and larger than average size blooms.
When mature, miniatures grow to less than 6", semiminiatures to less than 8" in diameter. With proper culture, actual plant size usually is much smaller. Care for minis is the same as for the larger "standard"-size varieties--the only difference is size. Give them at least as much light (don't "hide" them underneath larger plants), and water and feed them the same. Grow in either natural or artificial light, and never use a pot larger than 2 1/2".

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

How To Grow African Violet

The African violet, or blue-eyed African violet as it is sometimes called, is a stemless herb from tropical Africa with sparse dusters of showy violet or lavender flowers whose beauty is enhanced by the brilliant yellow stamens. The leaves are quite hairy.
Sainipaulia likes a moist atmosphere and plenty of water around its roots, but will not countenance moisture on the leaves. Always water from the bottom. Direct sun does not agree with this herb, although it should have ample light. Growing conditions found in a terrarium are more suitable than other house locations. The African violet is not improved by summering in the garden; leave it in the house and supply abundant ventilation without exposing the plant to gusts of wind. Remove faded flowers and leaves, which have turned brown. Such leaves often indicate that too much water has stagnated the soil.
While this namesake of the von Saint Paul family is a perennial, it cannot be depended upon to grow as one in the house. It may thrive for a year, yet four to six months is the usual span of healthy growth-somewhat longer in a terrarium. New plants are easily grown from leaf cuttings, however. Cut fully developed leaves in March, each with a stem attached. Bury the stem in a propagating box up to the point where it joins the leaf. When roots are formed the cuttings may be planted in small containers in Potting Mixture 1 until large enough to place in larger pots. Flowers from rooted cuttings may be expected in 8 to 12 months.
With the exception of a small mite who occasionally attacks the leaves and flowers, Saintpaulia is agreeably free from insect troubles.