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Thu Apr 21, 2016, 02:59 AM

Anyone here grow African Violets?

I have owned an occasional African Violet over the years, but never really took great interest in them. Last fall I decided I needed a way to dig in the dirt without wasting my back and shoulders. My outdoor gardening was getting more and more labor intensive than my old bones could handle. I also dread the winter months when nothing is happening in the yard/garden.

So...I bought a few NOID violets from the grocery store and started reading on the 'net about how to raise them. I repotted them and groomed some leaves. I put the groomed leaves in little pots and sure enough, with some trial and errors, was able to get little baby violets. The repotted adults are beginning to bloom now that our days are longer. So I took the plunge and bought leaves from 8 different plants. The kind lady sent 3 of each plant plus an additional 12 leaves from plants I had also expressed an interest in. They arrived in the mail yesterday, a bit limp but none the worse for wear. I have soaked the leaves to firm them up and will pot them all up this morning. I am labeling each pot and starting a record on each one. These are special to me and I hope my beginner's luck with rooting leaves doesn't run out on me!

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Reply Anyone here grow African Violets? (Original post)
alfie Apr 2016 OP
ebayfool Apr 2016 #1
alfie Apr 2016 #2
ebayfool Apr 2016 #3
beac Apr 2016 #4
shireen May 2016 #5
alfie May 2016 #6

Response to alfie (Original post)

Thu Apr 21, 2016, 04:33 AM

1. Ooooh, you're gonna be in trooouble! You be messin' with garden crack!

It's an addicting hobby! At my worst, I had over 350 different named varieties. And it all started with a few innocent leaves rooting so sweetly for me. LOL - it's a terrific way to expand your indoor varieties. I could never have been able to have such an expansive collection if not for the leaves being so much cheaper to purchase. I'd like to get back into it after my next birthday rolls by - Social Security kicks in, so I'll have more 'me' time. I will still have to work, just not as hard.

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Response to ebayfool (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 21, 2016, 05:48 AM

2. I for sure am in the early stages of addiction

Right now I have 9 adult violets and a couple dozen babies waiting for me to pot up. If I can get one of each of the different 12 plant leaves to make babies, that will put me up to 21 that I definitely plan to keep. I will try to raise current babies plus all I get from her leaves because I need the experience, I am still in the trial and error stage. Once they are up and blooming I hope to give away what I can. My sister and I have a booth in an antique mall (and also sell on eBay). I will rotate some of the plants into the booth because blooming flowers seem to catch shopper's eyes. I'll put a few bucks on them in case someone wants to buy one, but don't expect that will be a big seller for us. Space is very limited in my townhouse, so I can't have anywhere near 300 plus plants!

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Response to alfie (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 21, 2016, 06:20 AM

3. Yeah, my kids used to kvetch about the pots being everywhere!

But now, they've all left the nest so I gots lotsa room! Seriously, I kept it going for years though. But when I moved my 93 year old grandfather in with me to take care of in his final months, I let it all go. Priorities. Alzheimers = full time attention. He was my priority while he was alive. We had almost a year of westerns and chocolate cake together, irreplaceable time!

Since I got chickens, my outside gardening has took a bad hit. Little buggers eat everything! I need to get those carpentry skills cracking on a big coop so I can get to planting again! Plant any thing and they just say "for moi?" and dive in.

Come May 1st, imma gonna start dabbling with the AVs again. I never made a lot reselling, but it helped with the electric bill. Those plant lights added up. I got real good at building plant shelves - growing vertically. Who knew, I got carpentry skills!

Funny story ... had a cop knock on my door, looking for a neighbor. He was drawn to the plant lights, and joked about me being a "grower". He went home with a box of babies for his wife. Yes, we dealers love to spread the plant crack!

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Response to alfie (Original post)

Thu Apr 28, 2016, 08:58 AM

4. I never knew you could propagate them from leaves.

My mother has a very healthy one. Maybe I will grab a leaf or two next time I visit her.

Would love to see some pics of yours when they bloom.

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Response to alfie (Original post)

Mon May 9, 2016, 03:52 PM

5. i used to have an addiction

At my peak madness, I had seven 4ft wide x 6 ft tall freestanding wire shelf units with lighting, that included rare AVs. Then, I had my first major attack of cyclamen mites about 5 years ago, and it's been downhill ever since. I did my best to save them using expensive pesticides, but lost most of them. I'm now reduced to two shelves in one shelf unit. It's so sad thinking of all the plants I've lost. I'm rebuilding my collection but going to keep it manageable and concentrate on minis and micro-minis (and perhaps a few chimeras).

Meanwhile, in the basement, a jungle of succulents is emerging! AArghhhh!

Edited to add:
Moral of the story is isolate all new plants from your collection for a couple of months.

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Response to shireen (Reply #5)

Mon May 9, 2016, 05:28 PM

6. Bummer on lost violets!

I have isolated the only two new violets since I got my first ones. Good thing, I got one with mealy bugs. Fortunately I saw them right away and treated it. I haven't seen any more but it is still in isolation and will be for a few months more. I am going to repeat the treatments one more time and repot it. If it still looks clean I won't treat it again, but will still watch it for a while before it joins the general population.

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