Growing African Violets on a Table
Growing African violets on a home or office table/desk changes entire view of the table/desk. Being a joy to watch, these little plants offer us an object to look at that can bring us peace of mind when we need something to 'reset' our brains during long working hours.
To have healthy and blooming African violet we need to take care of few details, such as:
If you are new to growing African violets, please first check African Violets Quick Tips and Tricks.
Depending on the size of free space that we can allocate to African violet plants, one has to choose proper African violet variety according to the size and number of the plants. If you are low on space (usually people are), than a single mini African violet will be more than enough. If you have hanging shelves that are strong enough to hold various books and similar material, than you can probably safely put a trailing African violet on that shelf.
Office temperature is usually good for African violets, just be careful that your plants are not on a drafty place where air conditioning units are blowing hot/cold air (it is not good for you nor for your African violets). Also, often people leave office windows open during the night - this can cause temperature to change significantly - also not good. If your workplace is next to the window, put your African violets next to the window while you are in the office. If it is winter, avoid leaves touching cold glass surface and during summer avoid putting African violets on a direct sunlight. If you can't put African violets next to the window, don't bother, you can buy some small lamp and put growing light bulb or small fluorescent lights - whatever suits you.
Low humidity is not good for African violets - you can increase this buy putting small stone pebbles on the bottom of African violet pot saucer and by putting African violet pot on these pebbles. This is great solution, except that this way you have liquids on the desk and if something happens, you will probably have it on your computer, books, papers etc. Again, not good. Instead of stone pebbles you can use hydroton pebbles, but African violets tend to root into these pebbles through the holes on the bottom of their pots - and constant moisture can cause root system to rot. What to do in this situation? Well, you can have another small pot next to your African violet pot, with some water and paper towel in it - this way, you will increase humidity around African violets and avoid having liquid water on the desk.
Is this necessary? Well, humidity in offices are often kept between 40 - 60% and African violets grow under these conditions, so in the end, you don't have to worry about providing higher humidity for plants.
(this humidity levels are not because of employees, unfortunately, but because of the modern equipment which is sensitive to both low humidity (higher danger of static discharge) and high humidity (higher danger for condensation))
You can water African violets maybe once a week, with some stale water - drinking water will be ok, just leave it over the night and than water your plants.
My desk with a singe African violet - first bloom
On the picture left, you can see my arrangement. Window is on my right side and if I put my plant over there, I will not see it (and there is no free space to put it there, too). On the other side, there is enough of free space, but there is no enough lights.
So I bought small no-name growing lamp and put my plant under it (distance according to the manufacturers recommendations - in practice I had to extend lamp to the maximum).
Growing light is always on during the day, or at least when I work at my desk.
During weekends, if I remember, I put it on, but not always - this seems not to bother too much this plant - nice :o)
My plant is semi-mini African violet (full grown plant width between 15 and 20 cm ) in the ordinary 10 cm plastic pot. If you are in the office, you can consider putting plastic pot inside of some decorative glazed ceramic pot.
Also, under the pot, there is white paper, so that I can clean my desk more easily - and if something fall off the plant, I can clearly see it.
I water my plant once a week with not much water - soil always looks dry, but inside there is more than enough moisture for the plant. This is still relatively small plant, so I will maybe increase amount of water, but not yet. Also, there is no 'open' water of any kind for increasing humidity around the plant, although this growing light is only some 20 cm (8 inches) above first flowers...