How to Separate and Pot African Violet Babies

I CAN ASSURE YOU that African violets are very easy to propagate. Just stick a stem in damp soil, provide abundant humidity, and in eight weeks time you'll be greeted with numerous new plants. What the babies look like, and how to separate and pot them successfully: Read more »

African Violets: How to Achieve Constant Bloom

I LOVE AFRICAN VIOLETS (Saintpaulia ionantha) and can never have enough of them. They sex up my windows. They provide dazzling decoration for my tabletops and mantels. They even provide gift-plants, because a single leaf will produce multiple babies. To keep the plants in constant bloom, I give them everything they want: Read more »

Eye-Candy for the Winter Weary

I'M GRATEFUL for the plants which are willing to bloom with summer exuberance in winter windows. Take, for instance, the 'Fiesta Pink Ruffle' pictured above. I bought this Impatiens wallerana last spring, nurtured it in a pot all summer, and then brought it to the window in my upstairs bath in autumn. Although the plant receives only weak morning sun there, its fully-double, rosebud-like blossoms have formed in constant profusion. The only pampering the plant requires is daily water with a little high-phosphorous food mixed in. And here's more eye-candy for the winter-weary: Read more »

No Violet Left Behind?

IS THERE A 12-STEP PROGRAM FOR AFRICAN VIOLET ADDICTS? I only ask because yesterday, after struggling to find new quarters for the violets that lived on the fluorescent-lit shelves in my study (I needed the shelves for my big tomato sowing venture), I then drove to Albany, attended the Capital District African Violet Society’s annual… Read more »

The Window Garden in Autumn

THIS WEEK I had great fun producing an “autumn scene” for the window in my upstairs bath. I even photographed the garden (above; click to enlarge), and shared it on Facebook. There, some readers felt the window looked cheerful “as is,” while others thought the middle shelf required two more plants. Would you like to… Read more »

Highlights from 2010 African Violet Show

WHAT FUN I HAD attending the Capital District African Violet Society’s annual show in Guilderland, New York, this weekend. One of the first plants to grab my attention there was ‘Ma’s Blue Spinner,’ pictured up top. This chimera, grown to perfection by Margaret Califano, has sumptuous, semi-double blue-purple blooms, and handsome, medium-green leaves edged in… Read more »

‘Tis the Season for Saintpaulia

We all know the beauty that African violets, or Saintpaulia ionantha, bring to a window garden, but have you considered their value for Christmas centerpieces and mantel displays? The picture above (click to enlarge) shows a “tower” of African violets that I crafted from various silver objects: a round tray, an inverted vase, a wine… Read more »