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I Am a Crazy Cat Lady

african violets, how to grow african violets, tips for growing african violets, african violet photography, african violet picture

In my life, I have known a couple of Crazy Cat Ladies. Well-meaning women who had at least thirty cats apiece, living under their separate roofs. One of them even built a celebrated “Cat Room,” complete with a drain in the floor to hose the whole thing down when it got too, um, overwhelming for her.

People warned both of these Luny Ladies that those cats would eat them if they died within the confines of their own homes. Starry-eyed looks ensued…….it seems being eaten by cats meant passage to Heaven, most definitely a place with more cats. Or, the opportunity to live the next life as a cat. Or something.

I look around my house and fear I have become something akin to a Crazy Cat Lady, only my sickness is african violets. Or, my prodigious thumbs. I somehow render my violets horny enough to make babies faster than I can find potted homes.

I started 2013 with four african violets. Already, I am up to nine plants, if I separate all of the newborns into their own spaces. Little flowers erupt from every level surface in our home. They lean toward me when I stumble from the dark bedroom, and I almost smile a morning greeting in return.

I love flowers. Always have.

However, every table, desk, bookcase and floor surface sprouting furry green leaves and bunches of little flowers is not modernist minimalist. It ruins the sleek lines of our Danish modern furniture, destroys the aesthetic of an architect’s home.

MTM is having dreams. Bad dreams. That venus-fly-trap-like african violets are eating him in his sleep. When he wakes in a cold sweat and staggers to the bathroom, he tries to take aim, and more violets sprout from down there. It is madness (he says.) These pornographic flowers are taking over our lives (he exclaims.)

I try and fail to hug all my violets to me, to shield them from these outbursts. I pet their soft leaves and tell them he doesn’t mean it, and they reward me by popping out a new fur baby before my eyes, and I coo and tickle it, and MTM screams it’s either the $%^&# violets or him, and I have to think about that, and…….

Actually, no I don’t.

I have one established pink violet baby ready to go to a good local home. Who wants it? And, for those readers interested in how to make your violets randy reproducing machines wherever you are, here are my tips:

  1. Use liquid violet food in the water at every watering.
  2. Put violets in a bright spot, but do not let the sun beat down on the leaves.
  3. Water on the same day every week, and only water once a week.
  4. Use the right size plastic trays for watering from the bottom, and only water from the bottom. If the plastic tray is the right size, it will hold the proper weekly amount of water for your violet.
  5. Remove dead leaves and flowers promptly.
34 Comments Post a comment
  1. My Grandma used to like African Violets, but they never really seemed prolific in her house.

    March 3, 2013
    • They need a bright room, and in England, some modification to the above regime. During the months when you have long days, being in a bright room near a window should be enough for them. During the months when you have gray days and short daylight, putting them under a fluorescent light strip for four to six hours a day will help them.

      March 3, 2013
  2. This is your future, Shadow Ninja.

    March 3, 2013
    • James Moffitt #

      Oh my, I think I would be tempted to do some target practice on that plant. Ha!

      March 3, 2013
    • MTM can’t WAIT for it, Lou.

      March 3, 2013
  3. James Moffitt #

    Katy and I have this horrible habit of killing plants. We killed a cactus one year by over watering it. Go figure. LOL I love flowers personally. They are beautiful to behold.

    March 3, 2013
    • James, I’ve never had much luck with my cactus, either. You and Katy are not alone.

      March 3, 2013
  4. I’m impressed. I am a violet killer. I love them but have never had success with them. Sigh.

    March 3, 2013
    • The fluorescent light strip may help yours as well, for the part of the year when Massachusetts is darker.

      March 3, 2013
  5. I am with MTM, kill them before they multiply!! Now if you were growing cilantro, that would be totally different.

    March 3, 2013
    • We have given up growing herbs in the house, and MTM knows better than to try to grow cilantro anywhere near my person.

      March 3, 2013
  6. Someone close to your home will undoubted want to take in your little violet, I’m sure! I won’t contend for the honor since I’m too far a distance, but I do love violets. I have a few, but mine haven’t been as quick to reproduce. My grandmother was always cultivating them, as I recall. You must have the magic touch! Have you thought of grouping them in a larger container, maybe something like a terrarium? They’d be spectacular and in the end take up less space, thus satisfying your minimalist? :-)

    March 3, 2013
    • A grandmother taught me all her violet secrets, Debra. I try to do her justice by keeping her traditions alive……though I think I am too much of a master at this point.

      I haven’t thought of putting them in a larger place. When I give them more space, they seem to multiply even faster………….

      March 3, 2013
  7. It seems like you’re becoming Jean Genet’s “Notre Dame des Fleurs”, although Jean would have preferred you to be a bloke:)

    March 3, 2013
  8. Debbie #

    I would love your pink violet Andra! I used to have several in my kitchen prior to our kitchen remodel that lasted 3 1/2 years! Would love to have the flowers back!

    March 3, 2013
  9. I am now going to nightmare along with MTM…

    March 3, 2013
    • Well, I had crazy cartoon people chasing me in my sleep last night because of you, so we’ll be even. :)

      March 3, 2013
  10. You are the worst kind of temptress. I love plants, and my mom always had an African Violet when I was a kid.

    I had no idea though that they were such rabbit like reproducers.

    March 3, 2013
  11. You make african violets sound so irresistable, Andra. I wonder of they would behave on my cold dank inhospitable English kitchen windowsill they way they do in Charleston?

    March 3, 2013
    • I think if you gave them a hefty dose of fluorescent light in the winter months, they might thrive, Kate.

      March 3, 2013
  12. I’m not at all green-fingered, Andra. All I need to do is look at a potted plant and can instantly see it wilt.

    March 3, 2013
  13. I love violets.
    My mother’s name was Violet. In memory of her, our Katy had potted violets for centerpieces at her wedding reception. They complimented the white plates and cobalt blue glasses. It was absolutely glorious. All the cousins and some friends took home a plant for Aunt Violet, as well as a waitress who started crying when I told her why we used violets. It was her mother’s name, of course. A year later, I got several phone calls reporting their violets lived. When we moved here, a good friend gave me a lovely frame of her “favor” from Katy’s wedding. It is the only violet I’ve managed to keep alive.

    March 3, 2013
    • Penny, when MTM’s mother visits us this spring, I am going to send you a violet through her. You and she will have to meet somewhere between Milwaukee and Chicago, but you should meet, because you would be instant friends. :) This story brought a tear to my eye. I love the name Violet. Thank you for sharing it.

      March 3, 2013
  14. African Violets love light . . . sounds like Charleston makes for a happy home for their furryness.

    We saw Charleston on a cooking show. The restaurant, EVO, made some stellar looking brick oven pizza with pistachio pesto.

    March 3, 2013
    • EVO is yummy, Nancy. I try to eat there whenever I can make an excuse to go to Park Circle.

      March 3, 2013
      • Looks like a great eatery . . . with lots of fresh locally grown food. Enjoy!

        March 3, 2013
  15. tarakianwarrior #

    I did not realize that I was not alone in the murdering of African Violets… I know you will find a good home for it. :)

    March 4, 2013
  16. I’ve never been one to successfully grow African violets. Though I do admire them. Glad you found a home for this fur-baby.

    March 6, 2013
  17. Your description of MTM’s reactions made me laugh. A lot. If I were not so terrible at keeping houseplants alive, I would even try out an African violet myself..

    March 6, 2013

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