How to Grow African Violets – Produced by Tagawa Gardens, a partner in PlantTalk Colorado
Hi, I’m Luan Akin, with Tagawa Gardens here in Centennial, Colorado and I look at flowers like this beautiful plant and I instantly think of my grandmother. So there’s a real memorial component to this, emotional component, and that’s one reason that I love to hang out at Tagawa’s House Plant Department. The head, the supervisor of the Tagawa’s House Plant Department is Dee. These are not my grandmother’s African violets. No, their not. What’s different? I know it’s a big family. Start over here with these beautiful…Right the whole Gesneriaceae family, or genre is your streptocarpus, your gloxinia’s and your chirita’s, which is the yellow one, and then all of your different varieties of African violets. All one big family, these are probably the most common. What we think of as African violets. In a resurgence? Yes, it’s amazing even the African violet society is seen a resurgence. People are collecting them, there are thousands and thousands of different varieties of them. And thousands, how hard are they took care for? I think they’re extremely easy. What people tend to do is they kill them with kindness, and especially with the over-watering department. They are succulent, they live in relatively dry conditions, but they do like a little bit of humidity. And then that’s where people get mixed up. They keep them too wet, and then they rot. But they do need a little extra humidity, and that’s why we use the self-watering containers. How does that work? There’s a reservoir in the bottom of the container that we put water in, and then the plant sucks up the excess water from the base, but it gives you that extra humidity on the undersides of the leaves. So for that plant in that little pot you would never overhead. I believe it ought, there’s a misconception on that. Okay. What they don’t like is cold water on their leaves. So when you do water ice I believe watering from the top and leaching through, especially in the self-waterers, people keep putting water in the bottom, and then siphoning up and then that top part stays bone dry. I advise watering from the top and leaching through and then adding water to the reservoir when it dries out. So as long as it’s not sitting in water, it’s okay. Alright. Definitely just use lukewarm or room temperature water and try not to get the leaves wet. Okay, this guy looks like he could use a haircut. He’s needs a little deadheading. And the white varieties tend to show it more, but you can see that all the flowers are starting to fade, and I kind of like the two-tone, but once they start turning brown you want to pinch him with your fingers, or a good pair of scissors. How far back along? I pinched him to where it’s attached to the next set of leaves, or flowers. If the whole thing is looking bad then I advise removing the whole thing all the way down to where it’s attached to the plant. But I first do what’s called deadheading, where I remove the flowers and then if all I have is an empty stem, then I take it all the way back, but that resurrects the plant. It’s putting a lot of energy into this, and if I remove that then it’s going to concentrate on more flowers and it will bloom a lot longer. If you leave them on there then it tends to bloom out and then you don’t have anything. You have one that you want to transplant here. Why do you know, and how do you know that it needs transplanted? Well, for one this one’s drying out too fast, for my watering schedule. I’m unable to keep up with the watering. Plus, you can see it spread out it’s it’s still putting out buds, but it’s not blooming like it normally, and there’s a lot of extended leaves. I want to get it into a one size bigger pot that she’s about two inches larger in pot size. Okay show us what you suggest. Same old, same old. We’re going to put a coffee filter or a weed barrier fabric in the bottom of the container. Which needs to have drainage. Yes we want to hole in the bottom of the pot. I want to make sure my pot is glazed, the lip of a pot, if it’s not glazed that, like I said this plant gets cold, and if this leaf sits on the edge of the pot it gets cold, and it will kill it. So we want glazed edges. Snd then I don’t want to bury the plant, I don’t want to keep it or put it in too deep of a pot, so I’m going to put about an inch and a half to two inches of water, or not water, soil, in the bottom of the container and then I’m going to just set it like that to see if it’s the right height. If it’s too high, then I’ll remove a little bit, so that’s right on the money. Then I’m going to, then I’m going to remove all the older leaves. These kind of that look a little out of proportion. They do. And this is going to help the plant recover quicker, by removing the leaves. I’m not going to remove them all, but I’m going to just remove those the outer ones that are sticking out. Plus, I can propagate these. Those will root. Oh they will root either in water or soil. And I’m going to flare the roots out, just a little bit. As you can see they have very tiny root systems, so you don’t need to re-pot them all, all the time. My mother had one that was in a pot that was maybe a little bit bigger than this, and the plant was massive. Okay so they can easily be over potted. Oh they can, they can, and then, they tend to multiply on you. You’ll get multiple plants and then they don’t look good, so you want to keep that one plant in the pot. Then I just lift up the leaves, and I do let the plant get a little dry, so get soft. Oh so your not breaking it. Exactly. Because it is a succulent, the holds, stores water …Exactly. And I just lift up the leaves, give it a turn, and I’m trying I want to make sure that soil level stays the same as the old soil level is. So it’s not deeper, it’s higher. If anything, you can kind of lift it up look that will allow that soil to go down the edges, push out any air bubbles, I’m not trying to jam that soil in tight, I want it loose, I want to allow… Tucking it ina little bit. Yep, exactly and that’s pretty much about it. And what kind of light will it need to perform well? It does need a little bit of direct sunlight, I advise at least two to four hours of morning or afternoon sun. Ok. I’ve grown these and had them bloom in a northern exposure, but they tend to stop blooming in the winter, because the sun’s clear on the other side, so I tend to flip them around. It’s so much fun to have something flowering, pretty much all the time, indoors. To really boost your spirits midwinter. Dee is full of great ideas about African violets, like gloxinia, other things you can really impress your friends and family and they’ll think you’re absolutely a botanical genius. Come see us at Tagawa’s. We would it be happy to help you be green and grow.