“Poor plant”: The sad tale of my African violet

“Poor plant,” declared hubby, when he saw this picture.

African violet quietly soaking in the sink

African violets are among the toughest of houseplants you can get.

They don’t need a lot of water, they prefer very little direct sunlight, and they are very easy to propagate: you basically stick a leaf in some potting soil and wait for it to take root. At least that’s what sister-in-law does, which is why she has a massive shelf full of African violets, most of which flower gratefully in response to her loving attention.

I, on the other hand, have had this little African violet sitting on the corner shelf in my office, above my desk and right next to the computer, for yonks. I think it even moved house with us. When I get carried away by blogging and writing and fiffle-faffling on the computer for hours, losing track of time, she reminds me very gently of the green world of nature out there.

Sadly, I am a very, very, very bad plant mommy.

I often forget to water her, for weeks at a time.

I can’t remember ever giving her any plant food. Well, maybe once. I know… I feel awful…

And I really don’t talk to her as often as she deserves, and needs. Maybe that’s why she hasn’t presented me with a flower in years? Honestly, I can’t say I blame her. Poor thing. I can feel her yearning for love and appreciation. And water, of course. Which is why she is currently having a quiet soak in the kitchen sink.

A desperately thirsty African violet

So… Before my sweet little African violet withers away, one sad, dejected leaf at a time, I am going to give her to my Mom.

Mom has a green thumb, and all her house plants are happy as larks. Er… When she looks after our plants, she not only keeps them alive (which in my book counts as a miracle), but they flourish! They send out new shoots! Their roots become sturdy and strong! They produce new leaves and colourful flowers! They release the most delicate fragrances!

I think it’s because she waters them. And she gives them plant food. And she talks to them. And clearly it works.

Please don’t give me any house plants as presents.

6 thoughts on ““Poor plant”: The sad tale of my African violet

    • Hi Truels – er… um… I don’t really know. Mine has never flowered. 😦

      But if you do a Google Image search, you’ll find some pictures of flowering African violets. They are also known as Saintpaulia, apparently. And I found a guide on how to care for them here – by all accounts, they are very easy to look after… unless, like me, you forget to water or feed them for weeks at a time.

  1. I love African violets. I once had about ten separate plants on a shelf. They were in constant bloom πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    The key is to keep them in total uninterruped darkness for at least 8 hours a day and to allow them to dry out completely between waterings.

    Regardless of your lack of a green thumb, you might have better luck growing pussywillows.

    • Hi Amy – well, they did dry out completely between waterings. It’s just that they then had to wait for a LONG time for the next watering. πŸ™‚ Poor dears. Well done for getting them to flower for you – TEN of them? Wow. That is impressive. Did you make any drawings of paintings of them?

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