Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from miscricket. Show miscricket's posts

    Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    Up until about a month ago, I had never met an African Violet that I couldn't kill. It's not that I meant to, it just always seemed to happen. I have always loved these plants and for years would buy them only to have them die within a month or two. I never understood what I was doing wrong..up until about a month ago.

    A couple of months ago, I moved into a new office, a bigger one with two windows instead of one. It was exciting for me since my old office was, well the size of a closet..and this new one is the size of , well three closets. After I got settled in, I made a trip to Whole Foods and purchased several plants to decorate and couldn't help myself in purchasing a pretty, pink African Violet. I hadn't owned one in over 10 years..for obvious reasons.

    Well, a month later, all the plants in my office were flourishing, with the exception of my pretty pink African Violet which was no longer pretty or pink. The more it drooped, the more I watered it. Just as I was considering putting it out of its misery and chalking it up to yet another failure, along came a co-worker who gave me some great advice on how to care for it.
    Apparently, you are not supposed to water African Violets often (the once I week I was watering it was too much), second, African Violets don't like to be watered from the top and you should never get their leaves wet( something that no sense to me until I actually thought about the climate in Africa..lol) and finally, she told me that when I water it, to mix in a teaspoon of Amonia in with the water, then pour the water in the dish and let the plant soak it up from the bottom.  In fact, she had such little faith in me, my co-worker brought me in a bottle of amonia the next morning. So I followed her advice although I admit the first time I mixed in that amonia, I was certain it was going to kill the plant. Then I figured since it was already on life support, what did we have to lose?

    Well, I am happy to report that a month later, my African Violet, while not yet pretty and pink, is looking much better, much healthier and has lots of new growth. THis makes me hopeful enough to want to go out and buy a couple for home. Amonia...who knew...
     
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    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    Great news!  I hope he continues to flourish. :)

    And, I totally need help with this, too.  My grandmother, a huge African violet lover and keeper of many, passed away in January of this year, and the grandkids had been instructed to take them.  Well, mine isn't doing too well.  I knew from my great-grandmother (other side of the family) to never touch/disturb the leaves (that was hard for a 3 year old - they look fuzzy and fun to "pet"), but I didn't know anything else - what else did a 3 year old need to know other than "please, don't touch."  To add insult to injury, mine was blooming when I got it, but I was a total moron and ripped off the flower thingy when I was pruning a dead blossom - ripped the whole thing off from the base of the plant about a month ago.  And, it hasn't come back.  I did notice that when I forgot to water it the leaves perked up and got greener so I figured out it needed less water than once a week; who knew, indeed!  And, my dad gave me a tip about epsom salt.  1 tsp per gallon, feed/water with it once a month.  I think he watered it 2 other times a month with regular water.

    So, here I am, waiting patiently for the flowers to return.....is there any hope or did I ruin it?
     
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    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    They make African Violet food. It works. Yes, you need to water from the bottom, no direct sunlight [ie, don't sit them on a sunny sill], and don't fondle the leaves.  I had an African Violet that lasted 7 years and several moves. Then it got wet during a move. :-( Never heard of the ammonia or epsom salt tricks. 

    Oh yes, and only water when the soil is dry to the touch.  They do best in a mostly dry state.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    Will my flowers ever come back???  They seem like a "one strike, you're out" kinda plant...
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    What do you mean, come back? Mine didn't always bloom year round.  They tended to bloom at Eastertime.  That could have been it for your plant this year. As long as it's still green and glossy, there is always next year.  I pinch the flowers off w/ my fingernails or use scissors.  Don't pull hte flowers off. 
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from toytrumpet. Show toytrumpet's posts

    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    My mother had African violets for as long as I can remember.  She watered from the top, but put the nozzle of the watering can underneath the leaves, so as not to get them wet.  She bought African violet plant food and once a month would give them a dose.  I remember hers blooming most of the time - probably because of the fertilizer feedings - and she always pinched the dead blossoms off.  When I inherited them, I used tiny embroidery scissors to snip off the dead flowers.  My problem was when they grew and became leggy.  She used to take even a leaf and put it in soil and voila a new plant would start.  I didn't have that luck, and when they got to the leggy stage would give them to my son. he with the "Green Thumb".  I believe he still has one of hers, or a leaf transplant of, that is still blooming.  Hers were on one of those multi armed plant stands, and it was in front of a sunny window, tho not direct sun all day.  Sometimes I think a lot has to do with whether or not you have a gas stove.  Fumes from that stunt their growth, possibly?
     
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    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    I remember others in the family blooming all year 'round.  I didnt know there were some seasonal bloomers out there.

    Scissors.  Got it.  Embarassed
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Obbieite. Show Obbieite's posts

    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    In Response to Confessions of an African Violet serial killer:
    Up until about a month ago, I had never met an African Violet that I couldn't kill. It's not that I meant to, it just always seemed to happen. I have always loved these plants and for years would buy them only to have them die within a month or two. I never understood what I was doing wrong..up until about a month ago. A couple of months ago, I moved into a new office, a bigger one with two windows instead of one. It was exciting for me since my old office was, well the size of a closet..and this new one is the size of , well three closets. After I got settled in, I made a trip to Whole Foods and purchased several plants to decorate and couldn't help myself in purchasing a pretty, pink African Violet. I hadn't owned one in over 10 years..for obvious reasons. Well, a month later, all the plants in my office were flourishing, with the exception of my pretty pink African Violet which was no longer pretty or pink. The more it drooped, the more I watered it. Just as I was considering putting it out of its misery and chalking it up to yet another failure, along came a co-worker who gave me some great advice on how to care for it. Apparently, you are not supposed to water African Violets often (the once I week I was watering it was too much), second, African Violets don't like to be watered from the top and you should never get their leaves wet( something that no sense to me until I actually thought about the climate in Africa..lol) and finally, she told me that when I water it, to mix in a teaspoon of Amonia in with the water, then pour the water in the dish and let the plant soak it up from the bottom.  In fact, she had such little faith in me, my co-worker brought me in a bottle of amonia the next morning. So I followed her advice although I admit the first time I mixed in that amonia, I was certain it was going to kill the plant. Then I figured since it was already on life suppor, what did we have to lose? Well, I am happy to report that a month later, my African Violet, while not yet pretty and pink, is looking much better, much healthier and has lots of new growth. THis makes me hopeful enough to want to go out and buy a couple for home. Amonia...who knew...
    Posted by miscricket



    OMG....such a hilarious story that I am sitting here laughing out loud.  You certainly have a knack for creative writing!!  I have two African Violet plants that I haven't quite killed yet and am now on my way out to the store to buy some amonia to try to salvage them.  Thanks for the information on watering them too.  I hope that in about six weeks I'll have some good news to report. 
     
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    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    I had hoped that these plants were totally gorgeous given all the effort you guys are putting into looking after them, and the fact that people are willing to pass them on from generation to generation. I suppose my hopes were built too high when I went to google images for a look, thinking "is that it?!". 
    Maybe they smell nice or something. 
    For all that effort you should be growing orchids, really. Or something fun like venus fly-traps, or bonsai. LOL.


     
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    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    Plasko..they are pretty...lol.

    Obbieite..thanks...and re: the amonia...just mix a teaspooon to 8 ounces. ( I think I left that out..lol).
    Thanks for the additional tips everyone. It still offends my sensibilities to leave the soil dry...even today..knowing I would not be in the office for 3 days..I debated whether to leave it or put some water . In the end, I put a little water..

    Kargiver, I hope your flowers grow back. Mine have not yet, but there are all kinds of new leaves growing out of the middle and since this is a first I am happy to see the trend reversed..lol..but ultimately success will be the appearance of buds.
    I may go in search of African Violet food..I mean..truthfully..the amonia is working..but it does smell pretty bad until I mix it with the water.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    They are kind of plain, plasko, I have to agree.  BUT, sometimes when they are in full bloom they truly are "worth it."  I think they are more about the challenge imho.  And, for me, I'd feel guilty about letting Grammy's violet die.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from toytrumpet. Show toytrumpet's posts

    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    I guess those of us who like them think of them as those pretty little plants that just keep doing their "thing", blooming season after season, requiring little care or attention, and relatively pest free.  Once you have success with one, you'll find yourself picking up another of a different color and variety.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from Obbieite. Show Obbieite's posts

    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    In Response to Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer:
    [QUOTE]Plasko..they are pretty...lol. Obbieite..thanks...and re: the amonia...just mix a teaspooon to 8 ounces. ( I think I left that out..lol). Thanks for the additional tips everyone. It still offends my sensibilities to leave the soil dry...even today..knowing I would not be in the office for 3 days..I debated whether to leave it or put some water . In the end, I put a little water.. Kargiver, I hope your flowers grow back. Mine have not yet, but there are all kinds of new leaves growing out of the middle and since this is a first I am happy to see the trend reversed..lol..but ultimately success will be the appearance of buds. I may go in search of African Violet food..I mean..truthfully..the amonia is working..but it does smell pretty bad until I mix it with the water.
    Posted by miscricket[/QUOTE]

    My African violets were finally dry enough for me to water last Saturday.  In this short span of 3-4 days, although they haven't bloomed yet, the leaves have since come alive again....I hope to report soon that they are in full bloom. Thanks, again, for the hint of ammonia/water solution.  All is well with the world!!  Obbieite
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from miscricket. Show miscricket's posts

    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    Obbieite..that's great news..:-)
    Today, I saw a flower bud on mine so give it a few weeks. I think I am feeling confident enough to go out and buy another one..lol
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from Obbieite. Show Obbieite's posts

    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    In Response to Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer:
    [QUOTE]Obbieite..that's great news..:-) Today, I saw a flower bud on mine so give it a few weeks. I think I am feeling confident enough to go out and buy another one..lol
    Posted by miscricket[/QUOTE]

    One question miscricket:  Do I use this mixture EVERY time I water them?  I'd love to try it in my regular green houseplants but I know I'd kill them.  Obbieite
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from miscricket. Show miscricket's posts

    Re: Confessions of an African Violet serial killer

    Obbieite, for the first month, I added the amonia every time I watered it. Now I add it every other time and it seems to be working out just fine. I think it only works best for plants who like acidic soil..so before you try it on your other plants I would check to see what kind of soil they do best in. I don't use it on any of my other plants and they are doing just fine..I am a less is more person so if your other plants are doing well..I would just leave the status quo..
     

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