How to care for African violets

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Readers will probably agree with me in this situation: two of the most difficult plants to purchase in flower and keep them looking great are African violets and fuchsias.

These two beautiful flowering plants can cause angst.

This even happens to me – once taken home, the violets stop flowering and the fuchsias just up and die for no apparent reason.

Instead of throwing away African violets when they stop flowering, try these 10 hints, requiring just a little common sense and care.

  1. Good light: about 40 centimetres from a window, but not in direct sunlight. North-easterly is a good position.
  2. Keep turning the plant so it gets light on all sides.
  3. Fresh air, but not in a draught. Open the window during a calm and moist day.
  4. Water carefully. The best method to use is a wick. One end into the base of the pot, then the other into a dish of water below the container.
  5. Root rot will be caused because the base of the pot is in water.
  6. Fertilise regularly every two weeks in spring, summer, and autumn.
  7. Never fertilise during winter – fertilising only when the soil is moist.
  8. Tepid water should only be applied under the leaves.
  9. Roots should never be allowed to dry out.
  10. Remove spent leaves and dead blooms.

The normal flowering season for fuchsias lasts from June through to December. At the end of this period, your fuchsia will be short on nitrogen and perhaps looking a little bedraggled.

This lack of nitrogen causes a semi-dormancy period, which is the plant’s way of counteracting our hot summers.

During this hibernation time fuchsias aren’t growing a great deal and they should be watered sparingly.

By April, the weather is becoming cooler and less humid when fuchsias are ready to grow again.

Ideal conditions for growing fuchsias include an early morning sun position, soil kept moist but not wet, and protection from the wind and frost.

THIS WEEK

  • Re-pot begonias.
  • Keep an eye on plants growing on balconies. During heat and wind, they will require daily watering.
  • Cut back lavenders and diorama when they finish flowering.

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Jenny Macleod Retirement Village
Jenny Macleod Retirement Village