Keeping Things Simple- Propagating African Violets

African Violets are one of the most loveable houseplants — packing lots of beauty in such a small plant. Gardeners love having them as a reminder of spring or summer indoors, while the seasons outside might be a little dreary. They seem to want more and more of them every year.

Save money and take your gardening skills to the next level by propagating them. It may sound intimidating to propagate an African Violet in the first place, but it is actually really simple – even beginning gardeners can do it.

Propagating African Violets from leaves

1. Choose a Leaf

Look for a leaf that is healthy and fresh, but has been established on the plant. You want to be sure the leaf is still full of life and not old and tough. Keep the petiole attached to the leaf.

Optional Step: With a sharp knife or razor, trim off the top of the leaf blade. This will encourage faster production of roots by sending all of the energy back into the soil and not into leaf growth.

2. Cut Leaf Petiole

Trim the petiole (the stem) to about ½ to 1 inch in length for best results. When trimming, be sure to cut it at a 45 degree angle to encourage root and plant growth.

3. Plant your Cutting

Find a small container and fill it with Espoma’s Organic African Violet Potting Mix. Make a shallow hole, using your finger or pencil. Place your leaf cutting in, stem side down, and firm the soil around it. Moisten the soil to lock in the cutting.

4. Give it Sunshine

Your cutting needs humidity and sunshine in order to grow. Place it in a clear covered container or put a clear plastic bag over it to provide humidity. Place this in a bright place without being in direct sun. Try to find a window that provides moderate temperature.

5. Plantlets Sprout

Patience is key here. At about 3-4 weeks, roots should begin forming on the petiole. In another 3-4 weeks, your new leaves will start to sprout. When the sprouts get 2-3 leaves on them, which is around the 2-6 month mark, you will need to repot.

Keep maintaining your sprouts and plantlets to nurse them into full grown African Violets. Keep your fully grown African Violets happy and healthy with Espoma’s Violet! liquid fertilizer.

How to Decorate for Thanksgiving With Plants

Plants are the perfect décor for any holiday occasion, especially Thanksgiving. Houseplants fit in perfectly with the magnificent fall colors and magical feel of autumn. Use plants to transform your holiday table this Thanksgiving into something truly beautiful. What’s even better is there’s a style for every personality!

Use these easy steps to get the perfect look.

1. Pick a Focal Point

Select a plant that will draw your eye and establish the look for your centerpiece. A popular choice in focal plants is the croton, due to its exceptional color and texture, which brings autumn to the table. Crotons come in bright yellow, rich gold, flaming orange, deep red, and burgundy purple which, paired with its height, will brighten the table. Any houseplant with a full autumn palate is perfect to be a focal point.  Keep the plant well-fed with our Indoor! liquid fertilizer to ensure your plant stays full of color all season long.

2. Dress it Up

To make a beautiful centerpiece really feel complete, find a fun container for your plant. If you are using this as a temporary focal point for Thanksgiving, any container will do. Otherwise, if you are looking for a more long term arrangement, be sure the container has proper drainage holes. Another option is to keep it in the original pot and wrap a seasonal cloth around the container to dress it up. Really stretch your creative mind and find a unique container, like a holiday turkey vase or a cornucopia to fill with a houseplant.

3. Accessorize

Be as creative as you’d like by adding supportive accents and characters to your table. Autumn themes accents like pinecones, colorful leaves or various gourds to compliment your focal point plant. Yellow and orange chrysanthemums placed in a smaller container will keep within the Thanksgiving vibe.

The thing to remember is to have fun with it and make something truly unique for the holidays.  Be sure to remember to monitor the light, water and to feed with Indoor! liquid fertilizer as directed for a long lasting beautiful plant.

Need more autumn inspiration? Check out Garden Answer’s make a fall succulent DIY!

 

Winter Garden Plants that Dazzle

Jack Frost is starting to nip at our noses and cold fronts are coming in. Summer and fall colors have come and gone and gardens are left with cut back perennials and the anticipation of spring blooms. But your garden doesn’t have look lack luster due to the cold! Some blooms thrive in the winter.

Plant these hardy, winter thriving plants and watch them dazzle even in the snow. They will add color even in the dreariest months of the year.

6 Dazzling Plants for Winter Months

Hellebore

This winter-loving plant will impress any holiday visitors. Also called Christmas Rose, Hellebore will show off beautiful blooms from mid-December through early spring. It grows tall enough for its blooms to poke out even after a good snowfall. The colors of the flower come in white, green, pink, purple, cream and even spotted. Hellebore grows well in zones 4-9 and in partial shade.

Witch Hazel

Keeping its fall color through the winter, witch hazel is bright and beautiful against the white snow. This shrub can be massive, growing more than 12 feet tall in some areas. Witch hazel puts out red and yellow clusters that look like little suns. It fits well in woodland gardens or can be used as a focal piece in a garden. Witch hazel grows well in zones 3-9 and in full to partial sun.

Winter Heath

Mounding, soft needle ground covers that provide color in the winter is a must-have in the garden. Winter heath brings dainty purple flowers that bloom in December and last through April. It only grows about a foot tall, but it will spread twice the height. Depending on the variety, winter heath grows well zones 4-8 and in full sun.

Camellia

With sturdy foliage and rose-like blooms, camellias are often found in the South. Some varieties will surprise you with their hardiness in the snow. These varieties come in colors from white to pink. They grow well in acidic soil, using Espoma’s Holly-Tone to fertilize will set them up for success. Camellia grows well in zones 6-9 and in partial sun.

Winterberry

Winterberry provides year-round interest with beautiful greenery in the summer and bright, lipstick-red berries in the winter. Mirroring the traditional holly, the bright berries make the shrub stand out in a winter holiday setting. Winterberry grows well in zones 3-9 and in full to partial sun.

China Blue Vine

This evergreen is hardy and dependable. In the spring, it produces lovely, fragrant bell shaped flowers in a variety of colors ranging from ivory to mauve. The foliage stands out year-round by being thick and shiny. It holds the foliage lower so it will not topple over in the snow.  China Blue Vines grow well in zone 7-9 and in full to partial sun.

Give winter plants their best chance by planting with Espoma’s Bio-Tone Starter Plus.

Need tips on how to prepare your garden for winter? Check out this blog!

Boost African Violets by Repotting

African violets need to be repotted about once a year to keep them growing big and beautiful. It is best to inspect them first to see if their leaves and roots are healthy.

If your African violet is happy and healthy, but needs room to grow or is fresh from the garden center and needs to come out of the plastic pot, transferring it, adding fresh soil and Espoma’s Violet! liquid fertilizer will keep it healthy and prevent it from getting leggy. Plus it will give you an opportunity to really interact with your new (or old) plants and give them some love.

houseplant care, potting soil, indoor plants

Steps to Repotting Your African Violets:

  1. Find the right container for your African violet. Keep in mind that the roots grow more out, not down – a shallow wide container will work better than a narrow tall container. Also, you want to find a slightly bigger container than the one it is now – never smaller.
  2. Fill the new pot with enough of Espoma’s Organic African Violet Potting Mix so the root ball will sit just under the lip. This will allow your plant to have the correct drainage, pH level and nutrients that it needs. African violets don’t like sitting in water, so keeping them in well drained soils will prevent root-rot.
  3. Take your African violet out of the previous pot by gently wrapping your hand around the plant and slowly removing it. Give the pot a squeeze or a small shake if the plant needs help coming out.
  4. Place your African violet centered in the new container. You want the root ball to be below the top of the container.
  5. Fill the container the rest of the way with soil and tuck it in the sides as needed. Be gentle as the leaves will break off if they are handled roughly.
  6. Water to settle the plant. The best way to do that is to soak the bottom of the pot in two inches of water and allow the roots to soak it up. Empty any remaining water after 5 minutes. African violets don’t like water to touch their leaves, so if you can’t soak it, be sure to water under their leaves and only the soil. Remember, the recommended amount  of our Violet! liquid fertilizer to the water to give it a boost.

Repotting or freshly potting your African violets will increase growth and beauty!

To see this done in action, watch Laura replant her African violets!

 

 

Why Do African Violets Get Leggy?

African violets are gorgeous flowering houseplants. They bring bright colors and joy indoors. Beginning and advanced gardeners can be successful at growing one.

They can be a little needy, as they have specific watering and light requirements. Because of this, African violets can sometimes get “leggy.” Leggy is when new growth forms on a plant tip. This new growth takes most of the energy away from the bottom of the plant.

 Reasons African Violets Get Leggy

Light

African violets require bright, indirect light, which can be achieved through grow lights or placing it near a thin curtained window. Gardeners sometimes think that indirect light means low light. Depriving your plant from light will cause longer stems as they reach for light to grow.

Water

Leaves of African violets don’t like to be wet.  The soil in your pot should be a well-draining soil to allow it to dry in between waterings. Be sure to water the soil, not the plant, in order to keep it happy. If leaves stay wet, they are more susceptible to mold, rot, and fungus growth. The flowers will try to get away from the mold or fungus and become leggy.

Age

African violets’ bottom leaves will turn yellow and eventually fall off the plant, leaving other stems bare.  This is a natural part of plant aging, plants lose the rosette of leaves at the base. This too can give the plant a leggy look.

The best way to combat leggy African violets is to repot to give it a fresh space and fertilize with Espoma’s Violet! liquid plant food. This will help keep your plant growing new leaves to help keep it from becoming leggy and will enhance the colors of your flowers.

 

Get six quick tips for caring for African violets from Garden Answer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VCudo90K5I