11 February 2017

State of the Violets - and One Aloe Vera

 My Great Succulent Experiment continues...with mixed results. I've recently lost one aloe vera and the larger one isn't far behind. The other succulents are in various stages of demise, although not quite this bad.

I won't be buying any more of these lovelies because it turns out that aloe vera plants are POISONOUS TO CATS. So I've had to place them high out of reach -- perhaps they're not getting enough (any) sun there. *sigh* 
My violets, on the other hand, are doing well! After spending a few weeks during the holiday season in a different room where they had to adjust to less sunlight, they're all still living. Now that they're back in the dining room, they'll start to bloom again.

 I thought I would share a couple of tips for watering violets. If you've never grown violets, you may not know that they don't like to get water on their leaves. (I have no idea how this works if you're a violet living in the wild! Maybe they have tiny umbrellas?)

Violet leaves should be nice and sturdy, not limp. A violet with limp leaves is a thirsty violet! I've found that watering my violets once a week is the right frequency. I put a reminder in my phone so that I don't forget. 

Anyway, violets in captivity must be watered from the bottom up, so keep them in a pot with holes at the bottom. Three of my four violets are in the lightweight pots they came in. Eventually they'll be transferred to larger pots with holes.

 I bought terra cotta pots to transfer them to, but then I found out that terra cotta can promote mold and other diseases. So rather than transplanting the violets, I just place the plastic pot inside the terra cotta one. It looks a little nicer than the grocery store pot!

When watering my violets each week, I put a little water in a small bowl and add a few drops of violet food. I think you're supposed to mix up the food in water but I've found that adding drops directly to the water works just fine.

 Set the plant down in the water bowl, taking care that the leaves don't touch the water. After 30 minutes or so, all the water should be gone -- soaked up into the dirt. If you check it after 15 minutes and the water is already gone, go ahead and add more. Violets can get very thirsty, but don't let them sit in water for long. They don't like soggy soil. After watering, the pot should feel heavy but definitely not dripping wet!

 While I'm tending to my violets, I also take time to cut off the dead blooms. This makes the plant look much neater and makes room for new flowers.

My violets sit in a northeast facing window. It's not the ideal location or direction, but they seem to be doing well with the amount of sunlight they receive. Now that I've moved them back to their usual spot, I have no doubt they'll be blooming again in no time!

I'm just glad I'm keeping SOMETHING alive!

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