Buds Don’t Open into Blooms
Question: My violets develop plenty of buds, but many of them don’t open into flowers. The humidity level is quite low (20-25%) in my home. Is this the problem?
Answer: Low humidity can cause buds to “blast” (not open) or not fully develop into blossoms. The solution, of course, is to raise the humidity level in the area surrounding your violets. An easy way to do this is to grow plants above, or on, a moist surface. If you top water, this can be done by placing pots atop a tray of pebbles or gravel. Fill the tray with water, to just below the surface, so that pots don’t actually sit in the water. The evaporation of water from the tray will increase the humidity level surrounding the plants.
Watering by capillary mats will also increase humidity. Here, pots are place upon a damp blanket (use those made from man-made fibers). Plants draw moisture through the drainage holes, where soil is in contact with the damp blankets. Again, humidity is increased as water evaporates from the blankets. Community wick-watering of plants also will increase humidity. To do this, place a sheet of “egg-crating” over a tray holding water. “Egg-crating” is the plastic grid used in florescent ceiling lighting, is sold in most lumber yards or home centers, and can be cut to size. Pots sit atop the crating above the water in the trays, with the wicks extending through the crating and into the water. Water is drawn through the wicks and into the pot. The standing water in the trays will also increase humidity.
Lastly, your violets themselves provide humidity as they transpire moisture through their leaves and water evaporates from the soil surface. Grouping plants together will take advantage of this–but don’t overcrowd. For those of us with really large numbers of plants, low humidity never seems to be a problem.