Friday, November 20, 2009

My African Violets

Last Spring, I almost lost all my indoor African Violet plants!  I have about 20 plants and they were bloomin' like mad and so beautiful.  They like it in my red bathroom (it was red when we moved in, wouldn't have been my choice, too much red)  Very bright without direct light on 'em.  Then one fine day as I was admiring them, I saw what looked like dust on the darker purple flower petals of one plant and looked closer and lo and behold was what looked like thrips!!!  Thrips are very tiny sucking insects that multiply fast and can kill a plant by sucking all the life out of 'em.  They were feasting on the pollen and making it fall onto the petals, OH, NO!  So I checked out all my babies and they almost all were affected, some worse than others aahhhhggg!  WHAT DO I DO?  So I did my online research and found a solution.

First I had to sadly pick off ALL THE FLOWERS & BUDS (boo hoo) because the pollen is what the thrips like to feed on as well as sucking.  Then on the weekend, I went and got pure Neem oil and mixed it according to the website directions and drenched the top leaves, soil and made sure the undersides of the leaves were drenched as well.  Then I did it again about 1 and 1/2 weeks later to kill any that might have lived through the first drenching.  A big job with 20 plants!  They didn't seem to like the cure very much.  Kinda stunted their growth and the soil was a bit compacted.  They were sad.  My mini variegated plant died but I saved a leaf to start a new plant from it yeah! (see pix below).  I did lose 2 plants.  After about 2 months of watching them carefully, I bought new special soil for them and transplanted them all and then they began to look better, then perk up and now they are finally blooming for me.

See the mini in the middle?

Same picture as above without flash.  These are the handful that are blooming right now, the others are budding out.

Check out these amazing blooms.  See how violets have sparkles on the petals?  Sorta magical...

And to think... I almost discarded this one when she got weak and scraggly looking!   I love how the flowers lay upon the leaves instead of bunching up into the middle.

When I did more research on violets I found that often times you can bring thrips into the house from having been working in the garden, they get on your clothes, and then you go attend your houseplants and they jump off onto them.  I think that is how this happened.  So I have learned to stay away from the houseplants when I come in from the yard.  I have Gladiolus flowers that the thrips love to get on every spring.  So I must be careful!

Hope you have a lovely weekend and remember to stop and smell the roses!

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