by Ruth Syron
Good grooming will help keep your African violets looking beautiful for nine months out of the year. (African violets rest for three months. The rest period is usually January through March, but it can be December through February.)
Here are nine tips to keep your African violet looking its best:
- Any leaf with a dried edge or a spot should be removed.
- Keep the leaves free of dirt and dust by brushing with a soft makeup brush as dirt becomes visible. A dirty leaf cannot make food for the plant as the sunlight is blocked.
- Remove any blooms that are past their prime. Discard them unless you are saving the seeds.
- If you’re saving seeds, leave the bloom on the plant until it is dried, then harvest the seed and old bloom at the same time.
- Water once a week with a fertilizer that is made for violets. Do not over fertilize. Unlike people, violets do not get bigger when they have more food. Too much food over time may burn, damage and even kill African violets.
- Water only once a week. Over-watering is a prime cause of violet failure, causing the roots to rot and eventually killing the plant.
- Water from the bottom up by using the saucer method to keep water from making unsightly spots on your leaves. Saucer method of watering: Place the pot onto a saucer. Pour water (with the fertilizer mixed in) onto the saucer. Allow the water mixture to be drawn up into the roots through the hole in the bottom of the pot.
- Keep your African violets warm and out of drafts. If your violets got cold in the window this winter, they will take a long time to recover despite being warm again.
- All violets should be repotted at least once a year to provide fresh soil and to relieve the toxicity of built-up fertilizer salts that may have accumulated over the months. Repotting your violets now may help them recover.
In a future issue, we’ll explain how to repot a violet.
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Canning what you grow is increasing.
Ruth Syron is a gardening enthusiast and regular contributor to the Medina Journal Register and Albion Advertiser.