Q&A – Violets in Dish Gardens


Karin asked Annie:

Q If you have several African violets in a dish garden or terrarium, do they all need to be in bloom? Or can you use some for texture and landscaping – using their shape and foliage, even though they are shy bloomers. Then add at least one blooming specimen…

One plant that comes to mind is Senk’s Anemone – but also some micro trailers – they would definitely add interest, but I’ve yet to see them bloom.

A Karin, this is a great question, and you’ve touched on a grey area!  My initial thought is that if it’s an African violet in a dish garden or terrarium, it probably needs to be in bloom (this is what I was taught).  The section that addresses this in the Handbook for Grower, Exhibitors, and Judges is on page 70, but it could be interpreted in more than one way so I ran it by Joyce as she is an experienced designer.

Here is Joyce’s take:  “This is a gray area, but I think Karin could do exactly what she is proposing without breaking the rules. Each panel of judges makes its own call, however, so there’s no guarantee. The rule [on page 70 of the Handbook] which applies states:

Container Gardens are miniature scenes in which one or more blooming African violet plants, along with other plants are actually planted and growing in the container.

I think that most judging panels which saw one or more blooming African violets in a container garden would feel that the rule was satisfied. However, what exactly is meant by other plants? Is a non-blooming African violet just another plant? Or does “other” mean not-an-African-violet? That’s the gray area. It isn’t impossible that a judging panel might opt for an extremely strict interpretation. It’s actually a question that would be well-placed in front of the Shows and Judges Committee for a ruling – in which case the gray area would be removed. Although… Shows and Judges might rule against you… and if you don’t ask, you could probably do this 90% of the time without anyone objecting.”


 If you have a question about African Violets that you would like answered, you can submit it at  Ask Annie!