Before moving to the farm I had a long history of growing African Violets. But not a single one would grow well for me here. I've tried and tried and not a one has survived. Very sad, I tell you.
Two years ago I came upon a lovely little flowering plant at an Amish greenhouse. Its name is streptocarpus. It's from the Greek via Latin meaning "twisted fruit." A relative of the African Violet it is often called a cape primrose. The Amish call it a lady slipper.
First residing on the front porch, then inside at the upstairs sliders with the orchids, within a year it multiplied into a robust mound of half a dozen plants and remained in bloom without pausing even once. Despite a serious attack of mealy bug, it has lived to multiply again. You see it in the photo above.
Naturally, last summer I was on the lookout for another variety hoping to begin a collection. I found only one. This little charmer joined the family.
This spring, after a year, it too has multiplied into many individual plants and will be divided and shared before being brought in for the winter.
Of course, this spring again I looked and amazingly I found three more flower types! None of them were in robust health but that didn't deter this new addict.
Aren't they lovely? This fall they'll get a plant stand of their own and be watched very carefully for the insidious little fuzzy invaders.
By the way, garden centers sometimes sell their little cousin, streptocarella. It's a cutie, too. Clusters of smaller violet hued flowers on dangling stems. Cheerful. Friendly.
And the humming birds that visit the nectar feeder out the front porch love them too.