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

Fruit on Jasmines
March 13, 2013 - My jasmines have grown some small purple fruits and she is about to get her full bloom soon. Should I cut them off to help the plants out? What are they?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Sago Palm from Bulverde TX
June 12, 2012 - My husband's job has taken him out of state and he left me in charge of his 27 year old sago palms, (house plants, sort of bonsai). They waited until he left and then quite perversely sprouted 3 foo...
view the full question and answer

Vegetables to plant now from Marble Falls TX
January 28, 2013 - What are the best vegetables to plant now?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of non-native Jerusalem Sage from Marble Falls, TX
October 11, 2010 - What is the best way to propagate Jerusalem Sage? I've located a plant and I want to get some going.
view the full question and answer

Is Viburnum dilatatum 'Henneke' (Cardinal Candy) toxic to horses?
July 01, 2014 - Is Viburnum-Cardinal Candy/Viburnum dilatatum 'Henneke' reported to be toxic or non-toxic to horses?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center