Friday, December 14, 2012

December Bloom Day


It's that time of year again, when we turn to indoor blooms for entertainment.  The African violet gets little attention during the gardening season, but now that the outdoor blooms are gone for awhile,  she gets some love, and a little fertilizer, and she'll bloom off and on all winter.  African violets are cheap thrills - this one came from the grocery store for under $5.00.  She's perfectly happy with a little water, good drainage, and some fertilizer now and then.

African violets can get leggy, floppy, unstable, and start looking unattractive as older, lower leaves wilt and fall off.   The solution I've found for that is every year, maybe two,  I re-pot.  All I do is carefully remove the pot, slice off an inch or two of roots at the bottom, and add a little fresh soil to the bottom of the pot - just a little.  I leave enough room in the pot to sink the plant down enough to cover the leggy stem and stabilize the plant so it's not floppy anymore.  Then I add more soil to the top of the pot, water, and fertilize.  It renews the plant beautifully, and it looks brand-new again.  I've done it twice with this one, and I'll do it again whenever it needs a fresh start. 



A few things are blooming in the basement greenhouse, including this little fuchsia.  If she makes it through winter, she'll be visited by hummingbirds in the garden again next year, spring through fall.

I hope you're enjoying a few indoor blooms this month too, or you're somewhere warm and still enjoying blooms in your garden.

Happy Bloom Day all!  To see more Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts, please visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

19 comments:

  1. Hello, I found you through GBBD, my first visit here. I enjoyed your post about your African violet, I haven't had one of those for years, maybe I should get one again. I tend to concentrate on my garden flowers, so all I have indoors is orchids.
    I live in London and we have had a very cold period right now with frost, but no snow yet. Still, I have lots of flowers in my garden, my fucsias are still flowering and my roses flower all year round. I work in my garden every day when it’s not raining :-)

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    1. Welcome Helene, and thank you for visiting! Before this one, I hadn't had an African violet since I was a kid. For some reason a few years ago I was feeling nostalgic about them, and decided to get another one. I really enjoy it, and am tempted to get another one or two. They're so easy, and pretty forgiving of neglect during the months when the garden keeps me busy.

      How wonderful to still be enjoying your garden in December, and to have roses blooming all year! With the way the climate is changing here, it might not be long before we're gardening all year. I do enjoy the winter break, and worry sometimes about how mild our winters have been recently.

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  2. Hi, nice violet with deep blue color! I had them indoor but so they need more light and don't bloom well.

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    1. This one is in a south window Nadezda, so it gets plenty of light. Still, it doesn't bloom well unless I give it some fertilizer. I love the color!

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  3. Your African violet is pretty and hope your fuchsia makes it through winter. Maybe try some of the new types of amaryllis for indoor winter color!

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    1. I have one amaryllis Nicole - still need to bring it up from the basement where its dormant. I may get a couple more this year.

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  4. We are in the same bloom boat. Most of mine are indoors...no, wait, all of mine are indoors. Enjoy the season of rest.

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    1. We have a budding hellebore niger outdoors Layanee, but no open bloom yet, and a mini-rose still blooming, but the flowers look pretty tired so I didn't include it this time.

      Hope you're enjoying the season of rest too!

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  5. Violets, lovely! My blooms are indoors and out While we wait for the inevitable hard freeze.

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    1. Enjoy those outdoor blooms while they last Nell Jean! (I'm sure you are!)

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  6. A lovely African violet. Almost all of my blooms in upstate New York are indoors. But, where we would normally have snow on the ground we have - green grass and dandelions blooming on lawns here and there. I've never had much luck repotting African violets - I have a variegated one that is looking terrible. I may want to try your technique. Happy GBBD

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    1. Welcome, Bookworm. The weather this year sure has been unusual. It looks like your area is still experiencing warmer-than-normal conditions. Here in the Chicago area it's been feeling more winter-like this week.

      I think you'd be very happy with your variegated AV after doing this. It works so well, and the AV doesn't skip a beat or show any sign of being stressed. It looks so much healthier after root-pruning it, giving it some fresh soil, and giving the stem more support with a fresh layer of soil on the top.

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  7. I love the photo of die African violet. You caught the light so beautifully.
    Have a lovely 3rd advent.
    Alex

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    1. Thank you Alex! It's been cloudy, rainy, and even a little snowy here recently. Those sunny days are very welcome. Happy Holidays to you!

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  8. Your violet is lovely, Linda. I wish I'd known your trick for refreshing them back when I had several--maybe I would have been able to keep them longer then!

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    1. Rose, when I had them as a kid, I would start new ones from leaf cuttings when they started getting floppy, and compost the old plants. I like this method of refreshing them so much more, as the new plants take a while to grow from leaf cuttings. Refreshing them this way is great for anyone who likes to keep their AVs looking nice long-term.

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  9. Hi Garden Girl,

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    I’m currently looking for bloggers to contribute their relevant, existing content to the community, and your blog has caught my attention. I like the way you write about gardening, and how easy and approachable the experience is.

    If you’re interested in joining our community, please e-mail me back at tinajin [at] atomicreach.com with “Gardening” in the subject line. If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them.

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    Community Manager

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  10. Thanks!!!! I was looking for an article for this!!! My violet is leggy, especially as it heats up near the radiator!! I will do this!! What fertilizer can you use...as I cannot find "violet" fertilizer in the UK? Thanks!

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  11. I use organic, but any all-purpose fertilizer will do Motormouth. I think you'll be very pleased with how doing this will renew your African violet.

    Love your name! ;~)

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