African Violet Arrangements

Once considered stuffy and conventional, today's African violet might be the prom queen of houseplants. African violets (Saintpaulia) bloom nearly year-round. Flowers might be simple, frilly, or shaped like wasps, and they come in a rainbow of brilliant colors. See how to turn dainty pots of African violets into stunning arrangements with big impact.

Bird's Nest

African violets' origins in tropical mountain rainforests inspired this bird's nest container. Choose a bird's nest 7 inches wide, removing some of the bottom to create a deeper center to hide the pot. Place an African violet—we used 'MyLove'—in the nest, leaving it potted for easy removal when watering. Add evocative items such as a feather, a branch, an antique ceramic bird, or wood slices as a base.

Bowl of Miniatures

A large wooden bowl or dish is an ideal container for an arrangement of miniature African violets. Using a selection of three potted miniature violets (from left: 'Pink Moonstone', 'Little Hopi II', 'Little Cheyenne'), space them equally in a wooden bowl. Surround and cover the pots with sheet moss, available online and at crafts stores.

Cut Flowers

Standard 4-inch African violets make lovely, long-lasting cut flowers. In the simplest of arrangements, set flowering stems of 'MyPassion' (left) and 'MyJoy' in water-filled 2½-inch bottles. The flowers last a week when cut and look sweet on a windowsill.

Wreath with Violet

Show off Saintpaulia 'Michele' by displaying it against a 24-inch, deep green moss wreath from save-on-crafts.com. To make this design, cut a deep U-shape opening into the back of the wreath, leaving the front intact to slip a pot behind it and keep it out of sight. Finish the wreath by adding pussy willow branches at the top, beneath a large informal bow. Note: Use a plastic pot for this design as terra-cotta would be too heavy.

Violet Table Centerpiece

This simple tabletop centerpiece consists of four potted African violets, moss, and a 1-inch-deep tray. This arrangement features violets in the same color palette—from front to back, 'MyTemptation', 'Virginia', 'Harlequin', and 'Indiana'—but varies the subtle details of their blossoms.

Basket Centerpiece

Grouping violets yields greater impact. In the center of a 24-inch basket, create a platform for a hurricane candle with a florist foam block. Next, crumple newspaper to fill the space around the block and add potted violets—from top left: 'Hawaii', 'MyDarling', 'North Carolina II', 'Margit II', 'New York', 'Delaware', 'Hawaii', 'Monet', and 'Texas'—keeping the tops above the basket. Remove the pots to water the plants from below and return them to the basket.

Open Terrarium

For height and drama, ideal for a side or coffee table, create a naturalistic open terrarium of pussy willow stems enclosing pots of 'MySensation' green African violets. Collect a 20-inch grapevine wreath for the base; pussy willows cut to about 20 inches long; a large, circular tray or platter; and a few pots of your favorite African violets. Place the wreath on the platter and use small blocks of different heights as pedestals for the potted violets. Stick pussy willows into the wreath about 3 inches apart, leaving a 5-inch gap between stems at the back for ease of watering. Gather the stems at the top and wrapwith twine.

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