I have loved African Violets ever since I saw my first sun room full of beautifully groomed pale blue violets growing in white ceramic pots when I was about 10 years old. Those violets lined the sills of that room’s many window, looking for the world like a uniformed parade, all the same variety. I think they may have been the original Blue Boy.
Over the past 55 plus years I have grown many varieties. I have experimented with every means of propagation, except stem cell reproduction. There is a special thrill in taking a packet of microscopic seeds and watching them grow to blooming plant size.
It seems almost criminal to trash a leaf, knowing it will easily produce babies; those suckers give a quick supply of duplicate bloomers.
There was a time when I could get catalogs, but had to send away for them; they took a while to arrive, there were almost no photographs. The forced waiting time did cool the burning desire to have a certain plant somewhat.
Now with the internet’s easy access to suppliers and growers I am doomed. Who can resist those glorious color pictures of varieties that are instantly available with the click of a key?
It is so easy to become overwhelmed by sheer numbers of pottings!
This happens time and again. My collections begin with a resolve that I am going to keep everything under control. African Violets can become an addiction; after a while burnout sets in.
Like an overwhelmed father, I abandon my charges, divorce my faithful light units, and dally with the alluring charms of outside gardening interest. I know when I want to start over, that light unit will be there, ready to fill my life with beautiful plants once more.
I know this sounds heretical, many violet lovers are appalled by this admission. It is simply the truth. Violets are beautiful plants anyone can grow once a few VERY simple requirements are understood.
I can not help but smile when I hear people talk about being afraid to try growing them. The “I”ve heard” remarks let me know immediately, the greatest hindrance to enjoying these beautiful members of the floral kingdom is fear.
Folks, these are simply plants, they are not little gods that have to be bowed to with unquestioning devotion and coddled with expensive equipment or special potions.
In these pages I want to share my experience growing African Violets and their cousins as an enjoyable hobby.
My methods sometimes do not follow the gospel of the expert but they work for me. I have grown some beautiful plants that made me happy. I do not spend a lot of money either. I would rather do it myself.
You may find that you do want to start growing plants of show perfection. There is plenty educational material out there when that time comes; for now I want you to lose your fear of growing and just enjoy the beauty of the queen of flowers.