Blooms in November?

My African violet has started to bloom again!

I’m told African violets (botanical name saintpaulias) lie dormant for 3 months and bloom for 9; that sounds about right, as after a long summer of producing nothing but leaves, suddenly, tiny white flowers are beginning to unfold and stretch toward the light.

My grandmother had lots of African violets. She filled her sunny back porch with them, placing some under fluorescent grow lights, some on shelving, some on the windowsills. They were a profusion of color — pinks, whites, blues, purples — and they provided an eye-popping greeting for any guest entering her house. In fact, she gave me my first violet and told me how to care for it!

That plant is long gone, but I’ve since replaced it with two others. Truth be told, one of the two is looking pretty shabby and probably isn’t long for this world. My white one, however, is going to be splendid and just in time to rival Christmas poinsettias!

African violets are easy to care for, as long as you remember:

  • Water from the bottom with tepid water, taking care not to get the leaves wet
  • Place in bright, filtered light or grow lights — inside, not out
  • Fertilize as needed
  • Pot them in African violet soil, not peat moss
  • Snip off the dead flowers to make way for new blooms
  • Keep your temperature between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (if you’re comfortable, it will be, too!)

There you have it! You can find more in-depth discussions about African violets online or at your local library or bookstore. Don’t be afraid to try your hand at growing these lovely and rewarding plants!