Nurturing African Violets
the # 1 American house plant
I would say the African Violet is the # 1 house plant in America! It was at my home while growing up and still seems to be, some seventy years later... Everyone just makes over my wife's flowers, and yet her violets receive the least attention of all our houseplants it seems. I know everyone cannot grow them, they say or maybe they're not willing to sacrifice their time -- while others tend to grow them from a single leaf.
Sometime back (that's just 'country talk') I read an article in Country magazine where this gentleman wrote that his mother's sister grew the most fabulous African Violets in Northern Michigan and went on to say she raised them in the Northern part of the home, with a florescent light as a light source "and they seemed to bloom forever..." Yada, yada, yada. My mom always placed hers in the West facing windows using natural filtered (by sheer drapes) sunlight. Presently, my wife uses the East side catching the early morning light (filtered also). My sister grows them in both the East & West windows of her home, I'd say some ladies grow them in the South facing windows also so it must be something other that just which side of the house they're on.
Maybe the source of light is not the most important factor though important none the less. The trick to proper care I believe is to water from the bottom of the flower pot and not from the top where you might accidentally get water on the stems or leaves. I hear this is a No, No with African Violets since the leaves and stems are somewhat fragile and prone to disease and or infection. My mom used to use a good liquid fertilizer also every other time she watered. My wife uses a Miracle-Gro plant spike every six months or so, but still always waters from the bottom. She says, "why change when it's proven to work so well in the past".
My wife plays nurse...
Ever so often I'll notice my wife coming in with a seemingly dead plant; tossed aside because someone didn't have a green thumb or time to nurse a sick plant back to health and more often than not the plant would recover under my wife's 'nursing' and she would just add it to our 'jungle.'