African Violets

“Keep calm and grow African Violets.”

If you live in a small home or apartment, there’s a compact plant that is easy to care for and can cost under $5.00. This colorful flowering plant with clusters of small, fuzzy-leaves originated in East Africa. Thanks to Baron Walter von Saint Paul-Illaire discovery around the 1890s of the Saintpaulia ionantha, now known as the African violet, it grows in homes and offices around the world.

Hardy enough to grow outdoors, the African violets are grown almost entirely as houseplants. There are approximately 10 different species. A full-sized plant typically measures 6 to 9 inches in both height and width. With dark green, thick fuzzy leaves and star-shaped blossoms of white, pink, purple or blue, the African violet makes a boring shelf, coffee table, credenza or desk top more joyful.

African violets are fairly easy to grow. They prefer nighttime temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. While daytime temperatures should be in the 75- to 85-degree F range. They can also bloom continuously as long as they are healthy. Just be sure to pinch off wilted flowers at the stem to encourage blooming.

The water needs of this hardy plant are simple. Although, over watering can kill this delicate little plant. I prefer to plant it in a container that has drainage holes at the bottom. Then, I place that container in a shallow tray or decorative pot and fill the pot with about an inch of water, allowing the water to gradually move its way up through the soil. I also never water the top of the plant, to avoid letting water touch the leaves, as this will cause leaf spots and weaken the plant’s system.

During hot summer months, I check to be sure the plant has plenty of water. Usually, I only add water as it evaporates from the bottom.

With minimum care, my African violets blossom throughout the year. Currently, I have three plants and they are one of my favorite indoor flowering plants, the African Violets.

Shine On

Pothos Plants

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap,
but by the seeds that you plant.”
Robert Louis Stevenson

If you’re one of those that believes you don’t have a green thumb, buy a pothos plant and you’ll be surprised to find out how green your thumb can become.

The pothos plant is believed by many to be a great way to get started caring for houseplants. The plants care is undemanding. This hardy plant is an easy way to add some green in your home. They can tolerate low light as well as direct sunlight.

What I love about this plant is its versatility to be grown in water or in dry soil. That’s why propagating them is so easy. Just take a snip off one of the leafy vines, place it in a glass of water and within a week you will have new roots. You can either leave it in the water, as I do sometimes, or plant it in potted soil. The only downside to pothos is they’re poisonous. So, be sure to keep them far enough away from children and animals.

All my plants have been flourishing lately. So much so, that I’ve been propagating a few overgrown ones. Five years ago, I started with one pothos plant and I now have five. Mostly likely by the end of the year, that will grow to half a dozen hardy pothos plants.

Shine On