This is IsaBelle, one of two African violets in Optimara’s Southern Belle series. IsaBelle’s pink flowers are bell-shaped — did you know African violets could have blooms like that? I didn’t! Her leaves are dark green with a lightly serrated edge and red underside. Flower stems are dark, almost black, with white buds that turn pink as they age and open. She’s prettier than your average African violet!
At my house, IsaBelle sits in a south-facing window with deciduous trees that block the direct sun in the summer. She loves the extra light she gets when the leaves fall in November — her heaviest bloom for me is in late fall/early winter — but she blooms sporadically all year long.
Do you find these dainty bells irresistible? Try this: Sign up for Optimara’s Violet Alerts at myViolet.com, and they will send you emails letting you know when a shipment of random varieties will arrive at retailers in your area. I’ve collected several pretty African violets by following those leads. Word to the wise, though, you have to get there quick because the special ones — and that includes the Southern Belles — sell out fast!
If you’ve never grown African violets, but would like to, the African Violet Society of America has the information you want.