African Violet Update

You might remember some time ago that I asked if any blog readers were interested in swapping African Violet leaves.  I have plants that needed to be repotted and I always lose a lot of leaves in the process so once I repotted, it would be a good time to swap.

The day before I planned the repotting I contacted the people on my list who had messaged me asking to swap leaves.  I also hauled all of my plants down and set up a spot to repot them at.

African Violets need to be repotted regularly.  I would say once a year for

If you look in the picture above you can see that some of the centers of the plants are no longer centered in the middle of the pot.  That’s because they need repotting.

If you check out this one below, you can see that the root is starting to show.  That’s a clear indication that it’s time to repot.  As leaves are lost, the plant center crown can no longer hold in the middle and they start to fall to the side.  If you’re wondering if you should repot a plant or not, seeing the root or seeing that the plant center crown is no longer centered is a clear indication that it’s time to repot.

As I was repotting, leaves would come off and I would set them aside.  Often plants grow unevenly putting more leaves out one side leaving the plant looking uneven.  In those cases, I picked leaves with the hope of evening out my plants.

I would wet a napkin or paper towel, lay the leaves on…

Then…wrap that in plastic wrap.

I had snack-sized ziplock bags so I put them around the bottom too.

From there I slid the leaves in between some cardboard for a little stability and hoped that would help prevent the leaves from not being crushed in the mail.

Here I cut some soda cases and used that cardboard.

I started out sending two leaves to the people who requested to swap.  I would repot one variegated plant and then repot a not variegated, package the leaves up to the next names on the list, and prep them for the mail.

What leaves people got was totally random.

I did it on a first come first serve basis.  It was a little challenging as I would get to a note from someone who would write, “I want a pink variegated leaf.”  Well sadly, I was done repotting my plant with the pink variegated leaf and all of the leaves had already been shipped out.

Once I was done with the people who had requested, I had more leaves left so I put a message out on Jo’s Country Junction Facebook group.  Now the leaves were all in a pile and I didn’t know which leaves were which.  Again I got requests saying, “I want the pink variegated leaf”.   Sadly I still couldn’t comply.  Now, I had no idea what color any of the plants would be.  Also, many Violet leaves have more variegation on leaves towards the center and can have almost none with the outer leaves.  So a leaf that looks plain might actually make a variegated plant.

Someone was unaware of how to start African Violets from leaves and I’m guessing others of you might not know either.  Here is Youtube video that shows you how.

I was able to send even more leaves out.  I think I sent a total of 23 packages.  WOW.  I had no idea I would have that many leaves from repotting.  Again, I did it on a first come first serve basis.  I was unable to fill all requests.

If anyone is looking for a specific plant, I suggested going online to The Violet Barn or Tropical World.  Etsy and eBay also have sellers.  There you can get all of the colors and all of the styles of African Violets that you’d ever want.

If you’re new to African Violets, I HIGHLY suggest using African Violet potting soil.  You can find that HERE on Amazon.   I used this brand.

Miracle Gro 72678430 8 Qt African Violet Potting Mix 0.21-0.11-0.16

I also recommend fertilizing.  I used this every six weeks.  Find it HERE on Amazon.

I HIGHLY recommend some type of self-watering pots.  There are many styles.  The ones below are nice.  You can see the water is put in the hole in the bottom.  Water collects in the bottom clear area.  There is a cord that wicks the water to the plant.

The amount of water that is needed is always there for the plant as long as you keep water in the reservoir at the bottom.

This style is awesome as you can visibly see if the plant needs water.

I know I’ll have some leaves coming in.  I’m hoping to set up a grow light in the basement…I really don’t have a lot of room in the house for plants, but oh my, I love them!!

I’m so happy my plants finally got the attention that they need.

I have one more fun thing to tell you.  Some time ago I gifted one of Karl’s friends some African Violets when she moved into her new home.  The other day Karl called me and said she was coming over for supper at his house and did I want to come for supper too.

She had read that I lost most of my African Violets after neglect during Kramer’s sickness and death.  She gifted me back one of the Violets I had gifted her.

I started a plant for Karl from this one.  I’m really thrilled about getting this one back though.  This plant is a prime example of a plant that if a particular left was picked, a person wouldn’t actually know if it was a variegated plant or not.

I’m excited to have this one back…THANKS so much!!

…and that’s my latest African Violet saga.

11 thoughts on “African Violet Update”

  1. Jo, I mailed leaves today. You should get them Wednesday! I received yours on Saturday. Thank you so much. Let’s hope we are both successful! Such a fun idea.

  2. The plants are beautiful. I love violets since they remind me of my grandmother who used to have many. If I had a place for them, I think after reading your blog, I would want to try one. Beautiful!

  3. Thanks for the update! I have been wondering how your new gift plant “babies” have been doing. After reading your previous African Violets blog, I became fascinated and immediately ordered four plants and an introductory book from The Violet Barn. ( I know nothing about them.and had never thought of trying to grow them before.) It as so much fun choosing! I also ordered a small timed grow light setup from Amazon along with some potting soil and fertilizer. I put the four tiny pots in a larger rectangular pot using white rocks for drainage. Like you, I was impressed by the packaging and service from The Violet House. The Violet Barn directions said to wait for awhile before repotting so I have not yet ordered any of the special drainage pots you describe. (That’s next.) For now they sit under their lights in a corner of my sewing room and I like visiting them every day. So far so good!

  4. Beryl in Owatonna

    Jo, thanks for talking about this!! I have a HUGE violet to re-pot. I must get it done. I will probably get 6 plants from it. I had never seen this color before…it is pale pink. All I have seen are in the lavender or purple family. this is from a special lady I used to visit once a week, she had many violets. I loved this one and asked her daughter if I could have one of the plants when she passed. She gave it to me! It has been split numerous times and has moved from Montana to Minnesota. My grandmother always had violets displayed on the top her treadle sewing machine! That is where I keep mine too, on her machine! I need to find a Gloxinia to make the display complete. Thanks again for spurring me on!! Tomorrow I will do it!

  5. Kathy Fransham

    My grandma (also from Iowa), used to grow African Violets and I learned how from her. I grew them when I was a teenager, many years ago. I think I will get some leaves and start some new ones again. Thanks for reminding me of these lovely plants.

  6. I was always told they have to be root bound or close to it in order to bloom. How do the rest of you feel about this? IN case my address does not come up: quiltyladyrr at gmail dot com. Thank You in advance if anyone responds to me.

  7. I love African Violets, and reading this has prompted me to look online for sellers here in the UK! When I first started working at a Garden Centre, we sold lots of different ones :-)

  8. I learn so much when you write about your violets! Very interesting and pretty plant. I love the connections made possible by sharing leaves. So sweet!

  9. RaeNell Parker

    I loved reading your messages about African violets. I lost most of mine during the winter a year ago. I have started some and gave some away to master gardener friends. My Mom had African violets and gloxinias always growing in the house. I can’t find any gloxinias anymore. Mom had miniature gloxinias, but they didn’t come back after my Mom passed away. Thank you for helping keep the “older” house plants around; brings back fond memories of Grandmas and Mom.

  10. Hi Jo! I just found your blog. I just wanted to share with you a place I have purchased African Violets that I’ve never seen before. They are shopped with extreme care. Her price is unbelievably affordable. I currently have 6 and definitely will get more. You may have already seen this place. I am growing African Violets and, orchids, unique ferns, succulents and a few other random plants.

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