Friday, July 15, 2011


My grandma and I share a love of violets. If you look around my house, you'll quickly see I'm somewhat addicted to these lovely blooming houseplants, which populate tiered stands in one of my parlors—not to mention my kitchen, my dining room, my bedrooms, even my bathrooms. Many of my violets are more than 10 years old. They're a gift that just keeps giving.

We recently visited Grandma and I wanted to bring her a little something special. I knew just the thing that would light up her eyes! Grandma loves both indoor and outdoor plants. In fact, she often jests that she's never met a plant she didn't like (although I don't think she was joking!). My African violets were in need of some grooming, yielding extra leaves that I don't need. So I decided to assemble a little African violet surprise package—leaf starters and a teeny plantlet for her to add to her collection.

It's the simplest thing to put together. You just need a few small plastic cups (I clip off the tops since violets don't need a deep pot. In fact, they like to be potbound). Be sure to carefully poke a hole in the bottom of each of the cups for drainage! I find these little plastic food trays work great for holding multiple violet starters. The indentations perfectly fit the bottoms of the small cups! If you know the name of the violet, label the cup with it as well as the date you planted the leaf. I also like to print out photographs of what the plant will look like when it's full grown to give to the recipient. Depending on the variety, those leaves will sprout adorable babies (below) in just a few weeks to a month.

If you have violet leaves to spare, I hope you'll give this little gift idea a try, for we all know it is better to give than to receive. I can guarantee it will make a violet lover's day!