Magazine article Sunset

African Violets from Seed ... You Need Patience

Magazine article Sunset

African Violets from Seed ... You Need Patience

Article excerpt

African violets from seed . . . you need patience

If you're already sold on African violets, the idea of growing them from seed might be intriguing. The payoff is slow--nearly a year until the first blooms appear--but the challenge can be its own reward for fans of these popular indoor plants.

Choose a small shallow container with bottom drain holes and fill with a water-retentive medium such as fine-textured peat moss. You can use the compressed peat pellets available at nurseries by soaking them, then removing the netting. Or use a packaged African violet mix.

Moisten the medium, then smooth the surface. With a small pointed stick, such as a plant label, make shallow (about 1/8-inch-deep) furrows spaced 1 inch apart. Gently tap out the tiny seeds as shown above. This demands care, but is worth the effort, since seedlings will be crowded otherwise. Do not cover seeds.

Mist lightly, then enclose container in a plastic bag with a few holes poked in it. Put container in a warm spot (about 75|). The planting medium should remain moist; if you notice signs of drying, mist again with tepid water.

When the first tiny greenery emerges, three to four weeks after sowing, set container in a bright spot (3 inches below a fluorescent light left on 12 to 14 hours per day is ideal). …

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