How To Grow African Violets As A Hobby

The value of indoor gardening as a health-preserving and rest-promoting hobby is inestimable. It can supply necessary relaxation and ease mental tension in these trying times.

If you’re not already an indoor garden hobbyist, you’ll find it worthwhile to start a window gardening venture this fall when your outdoor garden needs less attention. More than any other house plant, the saintpaulia has been responsible for the present-day interest in window plants.

Growing African VioletsPin

These responsive plants are of easy culture and adaptable to many growing conditions. Anyone can learn to grow, care for, and bloom African violets successfully.

They keep interested in kern pitch by offering variety in color, size, and shape of bloom, as well as unusual foliage, all this in addition to their willingness to flower almost yearly.

Another reason for the continuing interest in growing saintpaulias as a hobby is the ease with which they may be propagated. An African violet leaf cutting may produce a flowering plant in 6 or 7 months.

My African Violet Plantings

A close look at the picture of my large window at the left will disclose I am not only fond of African violets but other plants as well.

I have several ivies, fern, two varieties of hoya, an episcia, aeschynanthus (trichosporon), philodendrons, and a little Chinese tree.

African violets, dominate in my window because they make such a beautiful show of bloom. I have long grown saintpaulias in bubble bowls and feel them almost ideal.

I hope some of you will try a nice big bubble bowl and like it as well as I do. Use one of your choice small or medium-size varieties of African violets in it. 

The pine plant box stands opposite my plant window at the other end of the room.

My 17-year-old son made it from scrap lumber so that it looks somewhat antique. A covered wire-mesh chicken feeder fits into the box and is used as a reservoir.

Each clay pot above it has a thin glass wick extending down into the feeder.

Multiple crown plants are used in this because the broken leaves (more apt to happen with them) rarely show.

Plants are also allowed to grow toward the window since the several plants in the pot fill out on the opposite side.

A window garden may be any size, large or small, but if it is built around an African violet collection, it should be well lighted, preferably by a northern or eastern exposure.

Most plants need plenty of light, especially African violets, but they do not want direct sunlight. 

However, a little winter sunlight is beneficial and will promote growth for all the plants and encourage the African violet to bloom more profusely.

Extremes in temperature are not desirable. If the room is hot and the air dry. the plants will not prosper.

African violets also tend to drop their buds prematurely under such conditions or if the air is stale. A room temperature range from 65° to 75° degrees Fahrenheit seems excellent.

I have more consistent success when all the plants in my window garden are potted in the same general container style.

In this way, they all need watering about the same time, and I give them more regular care.

Related: Grow African Violets

For Beauty’s Sake

Decorative pots are used, and each is equipped with a wick. For several years now. I have used wick watering exclusively.

First, probably because I am a little lazy, and second. because my plants seem to like it. Then. too.

I am often away from home for several days at a time, and my wick-watered plant’s art is then more easily cared for by someone less familiar with their needs.

All there is to water them is to fill the little reservoir under the pot.

If you decide to try wick-watering, allow the soil to dry a little now and then, and water from the top every so often to wash out any accumulation of fertilizer salts.

There are several good wick watering type pots on the market, but you can also purchase glass wicks and make your own.

If you use ordinary pots rather than wick-watered containers, proper watering will have much to do with the success of your garden.

For best results, water regularly with tepid or warm water, never cold water, and pour the excess water from the saucer.

Plants should be inspected daily, and the soil kept only slightly moist to the touch.

Any loose, porous soil with a high organic content may be used with good results. I added some “Sponge Rok” and chicken-grade charcoal.

This will provide better drainage and aeration. Don’t use too fine or too heavy soil, for it will pack down when you water, as it will be a soggy mass.

Whatever the pot or soil, plants should be well fed to produce luxuriant foliage and good bloom. Feed a reasonable amount of any well-balanced, completely soluble fertilizer at the top of the soil every two weeks.

Your window garden will remain beautiful and be a constant pleasure.

“Why a window garden?” is a question I often ask. “Don’t you want to grow petunias? zinnias or roses in the yard anymore?”

Garden Spots

Of course, I do, for I have a small back-door garden spot I love where I work many happy hours.

Then when I am tired, I enter the cool shade of our enclosed porch and enjoy my plant window.

I am content to sit, to forget the hot sun, the worry about watering with the hose for hours each evening, the struggle with bugs, and many other trials and tribulations I have weathered in my years of outdoor gardening.

A window garden has much to recommend it for; as an armchair gardener, you can have all the thrill of growing things without the real hard work.

And a window garden may be completely redone anytime the arrangement is not pleasing.

You do not have to wait for fall or spring; you can start remaking or rearranging it anytime the urge overtakes you.

It seems all necessary to have a successful indoor garden is a careful selection of plants that will live happily in the exposure you wish to grow them in.

It is a good idea to know your window first, then plan the type of window garden that will give the most successive bloom and growth throughout the year.

Why a window garden? Because its joy is constant, the plants growing there will provide freshness and color during the drab days of winter as well as the hot, sunny summer.

Window plants will bring hours of pleasure and contentment. The seasons change, and outside flowers come and go, but a window garden filled with attractive plants and African violets will bloom on, come snow or slimmer showers.

43530 by Alma Wright