Category Archives: African Violets

I Caved In…and am Glad I Did!

Remember I said I wanted to get a red African Violet….well, I caved in and ordered.  I don’t remember which blog reader but someone mentioned the Violet Barn in a comment.  Well ever since then if I have a spare few minutes I’m over there checking out African Violets.  I’ve held off and held off knowing that if I buy on violet, I’ll like keep clicking “add to the cart” until I have lots.

Well…I did cave…and I did get several.  I was a little apprehensive wondering how they would ship but the company says if I wasn’t satisfied, they would work with me so…would I be satisfied?


I opened the box and so far, so good.


Care instructions were included….lots of cushion type packing for the plants too.


Here’s my sneak peak at the new little babies….. Continue reading

Ask Jo: African Violets

I’ve been getting more and more questions about my African Violets.  I do not claim to be an expert.  I can only tell you what works for me. One of the first question I got was: What are the flower pots that I have in my window with the starter plants?


I purchased these through Amazon.  When I originally purchased them the pots were white and that’s what I prefer.  I was kind of sad when I saw that they are now only available with terra cotta colored planters. (here is a link for them)

Each little pot for started plants has a “wick” like this.

Part of the wick goes into the water that is in the bottom of the clear container that the pot sits in and the other part goes up into the bottom of the of the pot holding the plant.  This wick allows the small new plant roots to suck up the appropriate amount of water that it needs. One of the reasons I am successful with growing my African Violets is that I use these pots.  My little starts always have the right amount of water. There are white 2″ pots that will fit the clear cups that I will likely order next time.  I like the look of the white in my window better than I like the terra cotta.

Next up I get asked about pots for the larger plants. Well I have come up with my own self watering method for them.  I save all the containers I get when I purchase a violet.  The ones from Wal-Mart are especially useful.  They already come with a pot inside a pot which is what self watering is.

I end up with a problem though.  I have trouble once the plants are larger in lifting the inside pot out.  Here’s what I do to remedy that.  I place a recycled plastic lid in the bottom of the outside container.  That prevents the inside container from going to the bottom of the outside container.  I put water in there and the plant can get it and I can still lift the inside container out without damaging the plant.

See how the recycled lid lifts the inside container higher? Continue reading

Meet a Reader: Debbie @ Fox Trot Farms

A bit ago I got an email from a blog reader, Debbie from Fox Trot Farms.  Prior to this Debbie was unknown to me.  She wrote offering me a trade…some of my African Violet leaves for some of her homemade soap.  It’s hard for me to get to the post office but I had my week when I was off for my thyroid testing so I said sure if she could wait a couple days.  I clipped some violet leaves, did my best to wrap them and sent them on their way.


I had never done this before so was a little nervous about shipping the leaves.

A short time later I got and email from Debbie.
Thank you for the AV leaves! I’ve got them planted right away. You did a GREAT job of packing them and they weren’t damaged at all…perfect condition! 

I’m going to wait till after my latest batch of soap cures on the 22nd to send you some. I made 65 pounds! I make it with our honey and beeswax from our own apiary. We have customers who won’t use anything else now! I really enjoy making it for our farm market. 

Bob got me the Bernina Q20 after I drooled over it for 2 years. I got a set of rulers and have a class coming up next month to learn how to use them, but there are lots of YouTube videos, of course. Now if I only had more time to use it! Lambing season is here and I’m hosting a quilting retreat at the end of this month for 20 gals, and I know YOU  know what it takes to do that…and I don’t have a daughter to help me!

Thanks again for the AV leaves and be on the lookout for your package after the 22nd!

A few days later Debbie wrote, “Hi Jo! I’m sending you your goody box today. I FINALLY am caught up…state journeyman beekeeping exam the Saturday before last, that big farm event we did this past Saturday, and now I’m getting things in order for the next big deal, which is the SC educational TV Making It Grow program coming to tape a show here tomorrow. We’re excited about that!

 Friday my cousin from NJ and a good friend from FL are arriving, and Saturday begins the week long quilt retreat I’m hosting. There are 18 enrolled with maybe a few drop ins throughout the week. You know that thread manufacturer YLI? Well, they are located about 45 minutes away from me and one of their reps is coming to the retreat to give a presentation on thread weights and fibers and needles to use, and they will have a lot of variety for us to do some shopping while they’re there. I’m really happy to include an educational component AND shopping to our retreat out here in the country!

 You might be interested to see where we are having our retreat. Here are some pictures from some past retreats.



We have space for 16 sewing stations and each gets a whole 2×8 table! There’s a commercial kitchen attached to this room, and we have lunch here, and supper at the B&B for just $8/person. It’s a GREAT venue!

 Here’s the website for more pictures of the B&B. It’s just 12 minutes from our farm. They are a wonderful southern farm family. Check it out!  I know you also host retreats, so you understand all that goes into one. I’ll be ready for a vacation after the retreat!  

Anyway, watch for my little goody box for you. Thanks again for the AV leaves.

Wow.  doesn’t that look like an wonderful retreat space?  I want to go!!

Well the package came!…look at her wonderful handmade soaps!  See?

Continue reading

My African Violets

My African Violets are looking just awesome right now.  I thought I’d take some pictures and show them off.

This is my favorite by far.  A little over a year ago Kayla bought this for me at the Camp Courageous Garage Sale in Manchester, Iowa.  It’s really a thrift store and only open spring through fall.  When she brought it to me I had little hope for it.  It was in a Styrofoam cup with regular dirt and little rough looking from lack of water.  I transplanted it within a day and hoped for the best.


The picture doesn’t do this beauty justice at all.  It is so lush and full!!

Well it went from yuck to WOW really fast.  It blooms really often and the leaves on this are absolutely amazing.  There and many leaves and they blooms form under and the leaves and are so full that they push the leaves up.  It’s gorgeous.

I like variegated African Violets too.  Last year when I ordered a few online I was hopeful that these would make it and they have done marvelous.  This one in my kitchen window is ready to bloom for the first time.

This pretty purple one is blooming now.  It only has a simple single purple flower.


When I used to buy violets I based my purchases on the bloom color or fullness.  I don’t do that anymore.  Yes I consider that but most important to me is the organization of leaves and how the leaves look….after all, the plants aren’t blooming ALL the time but they do have leaves all the time.

This is another variegated one…purple too.  The bloom is a little prettier but I don’t like the organization of the leaves as well.
This one was gorgeous but had a little set back in the last repotting episode.  It is coming back though.  I can’t remember the color this one blooms.  I guess I’ll have to wait and be surprised all over again.

This next one is just getting ready to bloom.  It’s the first time it’s blooming for me.


All of the variegated violets that I’ve shown came from ebay last year at this time.  Kayla and I had ordered some together for a treat for me for Mother’s Day.  They are doing so good.  Most have bloomed a couple times already.

As nice as those more expensive ones are, don’t underestimate the beauty of a Wal-Mart African Violet.  This one is from Wal-Mart.


This one Kelli got me last year for Mother’s Day.  There were actually two plants in one pot.  I split them and have two exactly the same and both are blooming now.


All of my plants are only a year or year and a half old.  They will fill out and be looking better each season.

The baby violets in the my kitchen window are doing really good.  Hubby and I couldn’t be more impressed with how they took off once we put the plants in the window.


Oh…I’m propagating violets too.  See the little sprouts coming at the base of the leaf on the right?  That’s baby violets.


I already have this whole plate of leaves that were propagated and need to get moved into their own little containers.  These are all from the first plant I showed that I love.


I so adore violets.  I really don’t have room for them all but I’ll still be picking up a new plant from time to time.

People always ask what I do for lighting.  Typically east and west window are best but I have limit windows that face that direction.  I do have more south windows.  My south windows have the shade of the neighbor’s tree so I think that makes the south sunlight more tolerable.

I will admit that last time I wrote about African Violets a blog reader sent a link to a place called The Violet Barn.  I’ve been over there looking a time or two.  I’d like to find a Violet that is reddish.  I’m just afraid that once I click to buy one, I’ll suddenly have seven in the cart!!