If you want flowers that bloom throughout the winter, grow African violets. I've been growing them for years, since I was fourteen. They aren't difficult to grow and I keep them in my windows while I wait for spring,....and the daffodils.
African violets will bloom almost continuously if you give them a little TLC. I feed mine periodically with a weak solution of blossom booster and that keeps them blooming. I also make sure they sit in a window that has plenty of indirect light: indirect light during the summer months and stronger indirect light during the winter months.
At one time, I grew dozens of violets. I would start them from a leaf I had cut from a mature plant, or I would separate divisions from an older plant and start my new plants that way. I even crossed a few and got my own varieties. If you pollinate a flower, a seed pod will form. The pod will remain green for several months and then, one day when you've about given up, you'll see that it has turned brown. You split open the pod and plant the seeds. The seeds are very tiny but it's an exciting time when the new, grass-type shoots appear and begin to grow.
I've recently been buying the miniature violets and growing them in glass containers. I don't cover the containers because that would smother the plant. The glass provides a little moisture and my violets thrive in their little make-shift greenhouse. I'm careful to keep them away from strong sunlight, however, because that would burn the leaves.
I water my miniature violets more frequently than I water the regular ones. I water my mini violets every few days and my regular violets weekly. Unlike my orchids, I never put my violets outside during the summer months. The leaves spot easily and also, a heavy rain would beat them down. If a ray of strong sunlight were to hit the leaves they would burn. I've learned that my violets are happiest growing inside, in my windows.
I am Marilyn -- LaraOct7@aol.com
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