Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pretty pictures: Saintpaulia ionantha cvv.

I still think they're pretty, but oh boy have I soured on Saintpaulia. In fairness to myself, they totally started it, by dying when they didn't receive enough water (and then developing crown rot when they did: just no pleasing some people), instead of gritting their (metaphorical) teeth and getting through it anyway, like your more understanding and compassionate plants will.

So I've gone, in a fairly short span of time (about 6-8 months?), from having nineteen of them to having only three. Two of the remaining ones clearly would like to see me replaced with someone else, a sentiment which is becoming increasingly mutual.

Carol, at May Dreams Gardens, has a theory that a person should own no more African violets than his/r age divided by ten, making me at one point 190 in African Violet years. The penalty for exceeding this is premature aging, she says. So now I'm in my 30s, both in AV years and in real life.

Logically, there ought to be a plant where the more of them you have, the more slowly you age. I mean, if Saintpaulia ages you faster, then something should be able to age you slower. My fingers are crossed that it's Anthuriums, 'cause if it is, I may not just be aging slower, I might be getting younger. Anybody seen the Benjamin Buttons movie? Did he have any plants?

Anyway. Sooner or later, I will probably re-succumb to temptation and try them a second time. Should this happen, I really hope I can come up with a better way to water. I mean, I know there are ways: I hope I am inclined to use them.


Diane said...

By that math, I should be close to buying my fourth one. I only have two right now so I'd better get on the stick!

I've never had trouble keeping them alive. I don't know why. Of course, I've never tried to grow 19. I think if you have too many of the same species, they get together at night and plot against you.

Liza said...

They're like the prom queen of the plant world. Pretty, but super high maintenance.

our friend Ben said...

Hmmm, mine are pretty much no-maintenance, Mr. S.! As is often the case when plants perform well with no help, I suspect it's a question of light. Mine sit under the kitchen skylight, get watered once a week if the soil is dry, look lush, and bloom nonstop. I say, try, try again! (And lord, I hated "Benjamin Button." But then, I'm not a Brad Pitt fan. Thought it was a real waste of Cate Blanchett, though.)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.... And speaking about aging backwards, what about a plant to play the role of the painting in The Picture of Dorian Grey? I'd cast the ZZ plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia. What other plant would you want to look good while sitting neglected in the attic...


Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ said...

Thanks for the beautiful photos of AV's! That's as close as I can get to them. Here in Phoenix, they hate the dry air and refuse to bloom for me at all. They just sit around sulking and are SO annoying! But I love to look longingly at the flowers!

Thomas said...

All the ones I've grown get me hooked, then stop blooming and get "difficult". They act all innocent, but AVs have serious BT* tendencies, and they play favorites. Harsh words, but needed saying.

Those are nice pics though; really like the flowers in 2, 5 & 6.

*"bloom tease"

Tigerdawn said...

My mom loves these and has several. She uses those pots where you put water in the big exterior part and stick the plant in the interior part. I should find a picture... They sell them at the box stores a lot.

Happy Hermit ( said...

I have so many right now.
WHen I first started I couldnt keep one alive much less prop them , now I seem to prop them non stop.

I did although find one with impressive foliage (green with pink / white fringe ).

I sit mine in a plastic bowl and drop a cup of water in every few weeks.

Anonymous said...

Wicking is the lowest-maintenance way do grow them, you just have to pay attention while setting it up; after that, it's stoopid easy.

IMO, anyway.

Your other option is to go hydroculture; ask Water Roots how!


Paul said...

Easiest way to grow them for me in in terrariums. They grow and bloom effortlessly for me that way. Out of a terr, they're a pain in the butt.