I would not consider my thumb to be particularly green, but I most definitely have a way with violets. My mother recently transferred custody of two that had been given to her as gifts, only to grow sad and sickly over time. She knew that their only hope was to come live with me.
As much as I was tempted to cut off the shriveling, mildewed outer leaves, I trusted my intuition and let them be. Sometimes a hard prune can stimulate healing but other times it can serve as the crushing blow. I sensed that gentleness was called for here. They needed tender tending and for me, for the most part, to leave well enough alone.
Clearly, there had been some enthusiastic watering going on in their past. Violets like to be moist, but a steady diet of sopping-wet and they will surely drown. I find that they actually prefer to lean toward the dry side. Once their dirt has dried out completely, I sit them in a bowl of room temperature distilled water to soak up from the holes at the bottom of their pot. This big drink happens every 10 days or so, depending on the time of year. With our furnace at full blast these days, it's high dry season in my house, so I tend to water more like once per week.
I am already being rewarded with new growth. They are giving birth to leaves that are sturdy, unmarked, and robust in color. In a few more weeks, I will add a wee pinch of epsom salts at the root base to stimulate flower production ... but they may very well surprise me and produce buds on their own.
I appreciate the reminder that I don't always have to fuss and fiddle to make things happen.