En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - January 08, 2010

From: Des Moines, IA
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native African violets in Des Moines
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My violets have stopped blooming after years and have developed a growth in the middle of the plant. Can I save these plants and how can I revive them. Thank you, I am desperate to salvage them as they are gifts.

ANSWER:

There are 27 violets, members of the Viola genus, native to Iowa. However, they are all summer-blooming plants. We just checked your weather, it is 5 deg. there, with heavy snow on the ground. Any violets are peacefully sleeping under all that, waiting for Spring.

So, we are pretty sure you are referring to the African violet, not a true violet but Saintpaulia ionantha, which is a popular houseplant that grows and flowers under light conditions found in the average home or under artificial light. 

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are all about plants that are native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. One of the most heavily hybridized plants around, Saintpaulia ionantha originated in (where else?) Africa, specifically Tanzania.  Both its nativity and the hybridization put those plants out of our realm of expertise. The University of Florida Extension has a website on the culture of African Violets that should give you some leads to the solution of your problem. Also, the African Violet Society has a Des Moines chapter. Your best bet is to find someone who has specific experience with these plants and has grown them over a period of time.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Advice about lavender (Lavandula sp.)
June 03, 2008 - I recently visited a Lavender Farm just outside Gainseville Texas. I was hooked. However, when I started reading about growing Lavender I found that you should have well drained alkaline soil. Since...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming climbing rose in Conroe, TX
October 09, 2009 - I have a climbing rose and it has never bloomed and has no thorns, it was a cutting from another rose bush. I have given it water and fertilize and have mulch around it also.
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming toad lily in Kentucky
April 20, 2008 - I have had a toad lily for three years and it has never bloomed. What do I need to do?
view the full question and answer

Plants that will survive in Mammoth Lake, CA
June 25, 2009 - What fruit trees survive the Mammoth Lakes winter? What roses will grow in Mammoth? Please give me a list of all trees that grow in Crowley and Mammoth lakes?
view the full question and answer

Use of non-native pothos for outside wall from Las Vegas NV
January 05, 2014 - I am in Las Vegas, NV. I live in a cottage-style apartment so I have a north facing porch with no one on the west so I get some there (and have an inherited cactus probably a yard all round) I would ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center