Which Varieties are Easiest to Grow?

Question:  Which varieties are easiest to grow?

Answer:  This is a very commonly asked question, and one that’s almost impossible to answer, except to say, “it depends”.  It depends upon what you like, what suits your growing environment, and your space.  All else equal, plants that do best are those that get cared for the best.  “Favorites” become favorites because they are often the most looked-at and cared-for.  So, grow varieties you like–if you  don’t like aplant, it likely won’t do well.

Having said that, choose varieties that suit your environment and space the best.  Those with limited space might want to grow miniature or semiminiature varieties.  Don’t grow more plants than your space will allow.  Hiding a small mini between or beneath a larger standard doesn’t do it much good.  It’s not surprising that minis grown this way don’t do well!  Crowding large plants together won’t help either–give them some room to grow to their desired size.  Have lots of good windows but now windowsill space?  Try growing trailing African violets in hanging baskets.  Variegated varieties will look their best in cooler temperatures.  If your conditions are too warm (consistently above 80f degrees), you may lose much of the variegation on these varieties, especially if crown-variegated.  Still, these varieties may be lovely even without the variegation and can be grown for the blooms alone.

If you’re neglectful about watering and tend to let your plants wilt, larger growing plants may be easier than smaller ones.  Large plants will take longer to die than smaller ones–there’s just more of them to kill.  A self-watering system, such as wicking, self-watering pots, or capillary matting, might be for you if this is the case.  Trailing varieties may be easier if you tend to be neglectful about grooming and repotting.  Though grooming is beneficial, there’s no need to worry about suckers on a trailer–the more the better!

When buying from a commercial grower, ask them for recommendations, since they will have more experience growing these varieties than you will.  After growing many different varieties, notice who the hybridizer was of your best-performing varieties.  It’s quite likely that the hybridizer has growing conditions similiar to yours.  When adding to your collection, you might want to select more from this hybridizer.  The best advice is to join a violet club (if you don’t already belong to one) and ask other members who have similar growing conditions and preferences to yours.  Better yet, pay them a visit!  See how they grow their plants.  See how their growing environment may be similar, or different, from yours, and see what kinds of varieties do best for them

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