Having lived in several houses and apartments in my adulthood, I know the advice of my high school boyfriend’s grandmother was good: African violets are easy to grow, if you have the right spot.
There were times when I could not grow them, and it didn’t matter if I stood on my head while watering. Then, in other locations they seemed to grow all by themselves. Happily I live in such a place now, and it is reason enough to stay.
The common thread seems to be morning light, and it is a lovely time to enjoy African violets. A steaming cup in one hand, I pinch off the faded blooms with the thumbnail of my other.
There is something in the petals that makes them sparkle, like glitter in the light. Afternoon sun is too strong, so this is one of the ways to enjoy the morning, particularly in winter.
In summer there are so many plants outdoors that I must tend. But as the garden winds down, it is good to have a few plants to pet. In fact I think they are best in the winter, when the sun is lower. Gentle light streaks into the house and bathes the fuzzy leaves.
Luckily, small imperfections do not bother me. I try not to wet the foliage or use cold water, but sometimes I do. When they get dusty, I shower them with the sprayer at the kitchen sink. I always top-water them, and they don’t seem to mind. I fertilize with soluble plant food when I remember.
There’s too much on my calendar already, and my plants survive my occasional care. In fact they bloom almost nonstop. It’s simply the right spot that makes them grow.
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