African Violets

Yes, I have a new hobby – and it’s growing African Violets. Well, to be honest, it’s growing plants, in general, but I’m particularly fascinated with African Violets at the moment because they’re so easy yet so hard to grow and take care of!

It all started sometime in …. 2016 (yes, I’ve been into this for almost 2 years), when Selena, from work, gave me one of her mature plants to take home because she already has too many. Somehow, that plant (which has now gone to African Violet heaven, thanks to me over-watering it) got me into this activity. Next thing I knew, I was nipping little leaves from her collection at work and trying to grow them myself! I have a whole bunch of them now, and allow me to introduce each one to you.

Selena

Selena
Received as a mature plant with established roots

I really can’t claim ownership for this plant because Selena, the main African Violet Supplier (and I call her that with much affection), gave this to me because, as with the above, her plant on her desk had grown too big for the pot. From what I remember, she split the plant at work and handed me this section with the roots encased in wet tissue paper. I brought it home and re-potted it and voila … about 6 months (maybe more) later,  it’s still alive and it’s flowering! To be honest, it wasn’t really that hard because by the time I received this from Selena, I already had enough experience growing (and killing) African Violets – so I knew that I shouldn’t be too generous with water, and that it’s often best to just leave it alone.

Lorraine

Lorraine
Grew these from a leaf! Excuse the dirt.

As mentioned in the caption, these three mini plants all stemmed from one single leaf cutting. It’s taken about a year for these to grow but they seem to be doing well. They were all bunched up in one small plastic pot for a while, and then I noticed some of the leaves at the base of the plant were becoming transparent – which freaked me out (leaves are supposed to be green, not paper white) so I took them out of their original pot, split the plants based on their root system and re-potted them in this red container. It’s been a fortnight and they are looking much much better than when they were squished together.

Kay

Kay
The most prolific of them all!

I also grew this highly prolific plant from a single leaf!  I snipped it from my mum-in-law’s plant and just left it to grow. I’d water it, from the bottom, of course but other than that, I just let it be. Last  year, it gave me a bunch of those lovely purple flowers and I couldn’t stop taking pictures of those! I didn’t think it would bloom again this year, but it did! And it gave me twice as much blossoms too! I re-potted it a fortnight ago (same time I  re-potted Lorraine and a few others – you’ll see them later) and was worried it would wither because of root-shock and that it would not survive or adjust to its new environment – but obviously, my worries were all for naught.

Bruce

Bruce
Grown from a leaf too! Excuse the dirty leaves.

These four plants came from one leaf as well. Although Kay is the plant that gives the most flowers, Bruce was the first to be re-potted. This plant just GREW! One day it was a leaf in potting mix, the next day it was very healthy and robust – and needed its own container! When I removed the plant from the small pot, I was quite surprised to see four sprouts! I planted the main one in the middle of the new pot, the two smaller ones next to it and the 2nd to the largest growth on the other side. Now I have four healthy plants with two already flowering and one with small buds about to grow.

Destiny’s Child

Destiny's Child
The strongest of them all … A Survivor!

This is actually the very first plant I grew from a leaf, from the first batch of cuttings from Selena. I had managed to grow this into a fairly big plant but, in my excitement, I over-watered and most of the leaves rotted away. I was crushed so I left it alone, even when the potting mix looked quite dry, and waited until all the rotted stems dried off. It’s finally starting to grow leaves again, and it looks way healthier than it did a few months ago, but it’s still small – especially compared to the others above. I won’t be re-potting this for a while yet – I’ll wait a bit longer until the plant is bigger.

Baby 1

Penelope
Competition Entry (came 1st in its category)

These are Baby 1. They both came from one leaf cutting from African Violet Supplier, Selena. You see, we had a little competition at work where three of us snipped off two leaves from Selena’s mature plant, put them in our individual containers (of the same size, of course) filled with the same potting mix, and these three plants were all placed side by side on the window sill. Jenny won the category of “Most Leaves” as hers had a massive profusion of leaves, Helen took home the prize for the “Biggest Leaves” category because even though one of her leaf-cuttings died, the one plant that sprouted from the surviving leaf had MASSIVE LEAVES! I won the “Most Growth due to Cheating” category. Hahaha. I put in another leaf (from another African Violet plant also at work) in my container about a year into the competition – just because.

Baby 2

Baby 2
Growth from the extra leaf I put in

These are Baby 2. These came from the extra leaf I put in during our competition. These, together with Baby 1, Lorraine and Kay, were all re-potted at the same time. I was most worried about these little ones (especially the two that are in the separate container, photo on the right) because their root systems weren’t particularly established yet. I honestly thought these two with perish within like … a week! Thankfully, they all survived! Still monitoring them though.

Making Babies

More Babies
Hoping to grow these into plants!

Before I left my former place of work, I snipped off a leaf from the little African Violet garden we have in the department. I’m hoping I manage to grow these into proper plants as well. I’ve already killed off one (top centre pocket) so I hope that’s the end of it. My fault really, the leaf I chose was a younger leaf (thinner stalk) so it was more susceptible to rot due to over-watering. The rest seem to be doing okay.  There’s a bit of resistance now when I gently tug on the leaf, which means they have rooted (at least I hope they have). Watch this space (meaning, come back after a year – I’ll have little growths by then)

So there you have it. My whole African Violet Collection and a little background history about each one. Fair warning, since I don’t travel as much as I used to, I’ll most likely be posting about my hobbies and perhaps some scenes in Wellington in the future.

Until next time!

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