OLG Old Lady Gardener #41 Persnickety plants

The flower below is beautiful!? Yes! Well, yesterday I threw out three of these plants! I repotted four little babies plants that I am worried will not make it. It leaves me sad but it does free up space in the house.

Here is the back story!

This is an African Violet (AV). Many years ago I found my Aunts African Violet (AV) pots in the garage. They are special pots – one fitting inside the other. African Violet are picky plants and like to be watered from the bottom. These pots reminded me of Aunt Harriet and her rows of blooming violets. They were in her dinning room window facing south. As I remember there was a screened in porch running along that side of the house looking over a small corn field. Very Lovely! It provided bright light all year but not direct sun. I even wrote a blog post about her years ago. She has been gone a long time and I thought it would be nice to bring these pots out and use them. They were beautiful and my AV plants bloomed and look great for a time. BUT… (were is always a but isn’t there)

I learned that the clay in the pots was holding more of the water and these plants were not thriving. They just were not getting what they needed or wanted.

To make a long story shorter I put the pots away and then went back to plastic or regular clay pots that I could easily see how much moisture they were getting. They did ok and I did not think much about them. They, like my other house plants, were just plants that bloomed every once in a while and I was happy with that. I water them and like how they made things look but I did not fret over them.

Then this year comes along and a friend gives me a leaf to start from one of her plants that blooms white. Exciting! I decided to try and propagate a few of mine as well. I get on Facebook’s AV site and start reading about them. I learn I have the wrong soil, wrong pots and mostly the wrong water and maybe the wrong light. Below is when I was doing everything wrong according to the experts.

Remember I told you these were fussy plants.

So I buy the right soil but learned later you need to add perlite. Now why do they sell AV soil that does not work if you don’t add perlite I don’t know. Geez! Well, with the new soil but no perlite added I repot my little starts. I repot my big plants because they say they should be repotted every year. I had not repotted mine for many years.

I set up all the plants in I way I thought was right. My nicely growing AV plants begin to look funny. I realized the tiny leaves in the crown of the plant were dead. This is where the AB plant grows from. I panic and repot with perlite. Breath a sigh of relief to find the next day they are even worse.

I fret and worry and then just Stopped. These are plants! I think I was better off when they were in plain dirt clay pots water with sink water and sitting on a table in my office. No special anything!

I do not need this kind of stress over flowers. So with the three larger plants, that I had left, it was clear they weren’t going to make it so into the compost they went. The little AV starts were repot with perlite and put in tiny pots with plastic bag tops to keep moisture in until they are larger.

I gave up! Sorry Aunt Harriet you were a better plant grower than I.

I do not have the time or patience to fiddle with

special water

special soil that needs to be amended before use

special pots

special fertilize

special light

This list goes on but you get the idea! I love the look of these flowers and there are folks who have rooms in their house set aside to grow these plants. (I don’t get it because no one sees them in these rooms but the grower if they are squirreled away due to special needs.)

I do wish I could grow them but I have come to realize I am a gardener! An outdoor gardener with mud boots, larger tools and sunshine. I need to feel the wind and sun on my face. I need tough plants that know how to grow outdoors.

I will see what happens with my four little guys but if they don’t perk up it is fine. They can go join their friends in the compost and I will make room to start an another outdoor plant.

Now I have these little guys and I have no idea what color they will bloom if they do. They could be white, pink, purple, white with pink edges or something very different.

Tell me do you grow African Violets?

Do you have any luck with them?

Now I have to tell me friend my story of loss with the Violets. Maybe at least one of these little starts will turn out white since that is the color she gave me. Wish me luck!

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to OLG Old Lady Gardener #41 Persnickety plants

  1. Never grown them myself… but remember older relatives/friends who had them years ago when I was a child. I remember those who grew them had lots of pots (clay) and lots of blooms. I thought they were pretty and old fashioned.Seems like maybe they were in some stories I read, too, though I don’t remember any specifics.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s