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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Saintpaulia Anyone?

With both winter and houseplant sales in full swing, anything in bloom catches the winter-weary eyes of gardeners.  African Violets (Saintpaulia) are ever-blooming plants that, along with Christmas cacti, seemed to appear on every grandma's windowsill. 

Native to Tanzania and Kenya in eastern tropical Africa, these plants were introduced to the U.S. in 1894.   No interesting folklore, just sweet little continually-blooming plants.

I remember growing a few of these in my room under a fluorescent grow light when I was in high school.  I still have that grow light, a Christmas gift from my eldest sister.  However, the African Violets are long gone. 

Picotee-flowered plants always draw my eye for some reason and I was tempted to take some of these home but they don't really like drafty old houses and, unlike cacti and succulents, they don't respond well to weeks of neglect.

Do you grow them? 


For a great deal of good information about these sweet little plants look here





None came home with me but I'll continue to enjoy them at nurseries, grocery stores, and other people's windowsills.

Have a blooming beautiful weekend all!

17 comments:

  1. Every time I see them I think I should give them a try again. I once had a plant that did very well living on a windowsill with limited light and lots of neglect. Currently giving all my neglect to a Boston fern.

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  2. They were some of my first houseplants too, along with Christmas cactus. I'm afraid now, like you, I'd kill them, but probably with kindness. I sure do like that red and white one.

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  3. Putting all my effort into the garden, I successfully resist house plants these days. I agree that African Violets are the sweetest of house plants and temptation to grab one (but which one to pick?) is always there.

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  4. I had a large collection in high school and again between college and grad school. I wonder how they would do in my lath house? My indoor plants are sadly neglected but the lath house is, at present anyway, lavished with attention.

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  5. Beautiful colours!
    Believe or not I had also several on my windowsill when I was in high school age!
    Unfortunately I have to confess I am not so good with indoor plant. But they look so sweet I think I should get some soon. Do they need a lot of water?

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  6. These are beautiful! For some reason, I do NOT do well with houseplants. I've had African violet before and they bit the dust after awhile. :-(

    Have a great weekend Peter and thank you for you kind comments and encouraging words.

    FlowerLady

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  7. I currently have three of them, in three different locations. One has re-bloomed. I'm afraid they don't like my house all that well either, but they are still healthy looking so I'll keep hoping.

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  8. They used to be so popular, but I think they have fallen out of favor. They need a warmer house than I can provide, alas. Your examples are lovely, I do think they have merit for those who can cater to their needs.

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  9. I had some of these when I first started getting interested in plants. They didn't stay with me. My affections shifted to begonias. They seemed to be less needy. Every time I see an african violet I think of my Mother-in-law. She loved them and once raised and sold them.

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  10. Very cheerful, but alas - I do not grow them any longer. Used to...but they are still lovely to look at on a gray January day.

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  11. Those African violets are gorgeous. I don't grow them, or any house plants. Plants despise the dry air in my house. The only houseplants I have are Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus that come in when it dips down in the 20s.

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  12. They always died inside my house but thrived outdoors during spring and summer, in winter my mother kept them under the veranda and many of them survived.

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  13. Beautifully photographed! I never had much luck with them.

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  14. Hello, I love the saintpaulia, I have one who is many years old. These you show are so pretty
    espesially the "fluffy ones"!
    And I agree with your profile; do what you want with your garden, grow what YOU like­čîŞ
    Have a lovely sunday,

    Ida

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  15. Amazing how fancy they all look now. I keep thinking I might buy a few just to keep out on the porch over the summer, but with my watering skills they might only make it a few weeks, tops.
    I was so proud the first time I grew a new plant off a leaf cutting. I thought it was the most amazing thing that you could do something like that.

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  16. I love those little plants, but "weeks of neglect" is exactly my style.

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  17. I do grow 2 saintpaulias, Peter, of bright red and white- blue ones. I used to propagate them, I take a leaf and plant it in a small pot, then cover with a plastic bag. They grow slowly.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.