Care of Violets While on Vacation
Question: I plan on going on a two-month vacation this summer, and would like some ideas on what would keep my violets alive for this long. They won’t be cared for while I’m away.
Answer: Though there may be a better idea, here’s what we would do. Out of necessity, it’s something we’ve done in the past with portions of our collection (before it became a business and we paid for “babysitters”). First, repot your violets, removing all but the center and, perhaps, the first row of leaves. Remove all buds and flowers. The idea here is not to leave anything on the plant (leaves or blossoms) that will need to be pruned or removed during your time away, since you won’t be around to do any grooming.
You also need to keep the soil from drying out while you’re away. One solution would be to wick-water the plants, being sure to leave enough water in the reservoir to last until your return. Another option is to place the plants in a transparent, covered, container, such as a plastic “sweater box”. Since this prevents evaporation, the plants should stay moist for quite some time. Be sure to leave enough room inside the container for the plants to grow. This works very well with miniatures or very young plants. Be sure plants are well groomed and disbudded, to avoid anything from rotting.
Keep the plants in their usual bright growing area. Put lights on lamp timers, which will turn them on and off at regular intervals. Avoid leaving them in windows, since natural light can’t be controlled while you’re gone. If all goes well, your violets should do just fine. In fact, having been repotted and disbudded, you might just come home to a spectacular display of color!