Monday, March 21, 2016

Rising from the Ashes (or should I say soil mealybugs)

2014 and 2015 I had quite a few setbacks with my plants.  One was mealybug infestation. I lost a lot of African Violets in the process. Many of them were my hybrids. I lost some of my favorites from the D batch and even some of my favorite B and A hybrids.

But all was not lost.  Having cleared up space helps me work with my plants better.  I've learned some good lessons about why repotting at least once a year is a good thing and more often an even better thing.  Always add the systemic granules with each repotting.  Each violet gets its own saucer.  Very few of them are wick watered anymore. It was too easy for the mealies to camp out in the reservoir.

Hopefully I have the mealybug problem beat.  My african violets are growing now and some are blooming.

Introducing F1:
Butterfly Pieris Whites x Woodland Sprite

F1 traits:

- Single Stick tight (heterogeneous dominant)
- small flowers (heterogeneous dominant - mother has normal sized flowers)
- violet shape (dominant or possible heterozygous dominant - grandmother (R. Stephanie) on mother's side is a carrier for star blooms.)
- violet flowers (heterogeneous dominant - carrier for pink/magenta/red shades)
- darker overlay around the eyes - most solid colored violets have this to a degree, so I can't say much.
- sparkle hints pink
- up to two peduncles per leaf node with about 5-8 blooms each. (rare? recessive?)
- Bloom formation: Spray/splayed out. First peduncle will flatten out as it matures and the second one is more upright. (recessive? Not sure, but I think straight up and above the center is more common.)
- large standard size (recessive)
- Bending at the lower middle petal. Some fluting is happening but not strong.  Some siblings of this cross have it more extreme.

- heart shaped leaves with one side rolling over the petiole or both sides meeting evenly. Roughly 50% chance of either happening.
- medium green
- quilted
- blunt serrated edge (not quite scalloped)
- reddish veins on green backing.
- so far lay flat with only a gradual U shaped bend.
- a few leaves show a wave or two around the edges (probably carried from the grandfather on mom's side- Ultraviolet series Flash or Flash sport.)
- appears to have a gene that suppresses ruffling (carried over from mother and many B batch seedlings.) This gene seems variable, temp and light dependant. Overall it was fairly stable with B25. Will be interesting to see how consistent it is on this one.

Fun stuff I learned from using Woodland sprite:

1. It makes a good pollen donor. I get a lot of viable seeds crossed with it.
2. The small flower trait appears dominant
3. Its leaf shape and vein pattern carries onto the next generation.
4. Offspring can get quite big. Like F1 above. Like 1' diameter big.
5. Carries a gene that allows two peduncles per leaf node. (F1 expresses this trait)
6.  I suspect it is double dominant for blue and violet shades. 100% of the offspring I've gotten to flower are varying from rich warm violet to pale blue even if crossed with a pink or red.
7. dropping flower trait is still recessive. Roughly 50% have shown to be non droppers and partial semi doubles.

More fun speculating: (These are observations I've made. Not scientific fact.)
Dominant -> incompletely dominant or recessive -> even more recessive

Pansy shape -> Violet shape -> Star shape
Suppressing gene (environmentally activated or switched off) -> wavy foliage -> straight foliage
Straight petals -> deficient = slight curling lower petal-> moderately fluted (middle lower petal) -> all petals folded over
Normal petals normal separation --->???---> narrow petals with wide separation (only one of my D hybrids had this)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Genetic Mutations

When hybridizing, it's inevitable to run into something not quite right. Especially dealing with yellows. African violets aren't supposed to be yellow. It's not really in their genes. Those that do bloom yellow flowers are doing so because they are freaks.

Anyways I got some really, really strange and ugly out of the Ness Fantasy Gold cross with Rhapsodie Stephanie.

Two of the uglies that take the cake:

and saving the better of them for last:


What's going on?????!!!!

Homeotic Mutation. It's actually kinda interesting. There's a lot of scientific articles based on the phenomenon. That one is just one. (it looks like "type 1" aka 'macho' in their diagram, but I'm not going to say for sure.) A genetic defect is causing some (or many) of the flowers to produce anthers instead of normal petals. Oh and some of those Anther petals DO produce some pollen. Not as much as the center ones do, but still pollen from what should be a petal seems awkward at best.

I keep this one for now, but it's not a priority. Rather I want to donate it to the University of MN extension office if they want a plant to study for this kind of mutation.  The other one went to a local AV club member.

Fortunately NOT all of the seedlings from this cross show this mutation so strongly. it seems variable. It also makes me wonder if the yellow in the anther is in fact the clue to how yellow violets came to be.

Horrible Decisions That Need Making

The hardest part of any hybridizer is what to do when they have 200+ seedlings and can't provide the light or space for them.  It's hard enough, but when they all bloom about the same.

I feel like a horrible mother. I did the most horrible sin.  I just murdered my children. But the trash can they had to go. (I would compost them but the apartment resident council is against the idea presently.)  I need the floor space. I need to have my sink back, my table, and my kitchen countertop.  I'm going insane without these. And I have a whole new batch of seedlings growing and other violets that need the water more.  I can only water so many plants a day. Many of my other, more spectacular violets are getting neglected, left to dry up. While these?

Please tell me I made the right decision. Tossing two bins of this:

B26 x Woodland Sprite

and saving:



E30 (and a few others with this leaf shape)


I'll also add that about 20-100 of the seedlings were given away or sold. So not all of them went to the dumpster, but I did have to cull a lot.  I want to make way for the Ness Fantasy Gold cross and the new seedlings I'm growing out this year.

Things I won't get to know from this cross:

- If woodland Sprite carried any pink flowering gene (so far all have bloomed blue)
- if woodland sprite or B26 carried the star flower shape (so far I haven't seen any.)
- exactly how many of the close to 300 seedlings survived or would have survived
- some of B26's hidden traits. She died after the cross. i didn't save any backup leaves.

What am I to do with the remaining?

I'm thinking of crossing them with a variegated to get the woodland sprite's traits on a variegated leaf.  Anyone find that idea interesting besides me?

Monday, January 21, 2013

I'm back.

It's a long wait between posts. I'm sorry. The move is complete and my violets are adjusting. I still have way more than I can provide light for.

I'm in the process of taking photos of my hybrids for update pictures.  My focus right now is the D batch (Rhapsodie Stephanie x Ness' Fantasy Gold)  So far those are really shaping up. They started off plain, but now have surpassed the other two batches (C and E) growing as far as interesting foliage.  It's  too soon to say, but I suspect Ness' Fantasy Gold carries the recessive gene for straight non wavy leaves.  The bulk of the offspring are showing wavy, but there are a few that aren't showing the characteristic wavy foliage of NFG.

Anyways there are about 40 of them to take pictures and post. I think I'll just upload them to my photobucket and post the link rather than try to include all in one post.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

271 Oh My

Just keeping rough count of my E batch. B26 x Woodland Sprite. I'm trying something new for this batch; Taking large clear flat Bella bins (28 qt), lining them with soil and then planting each of the seedlings inside. I still have the 14, no make that 15 in the ice cube tray. Those are added to the count. The 15th was one that sprouted in the tray. I'm hoping this will save me a lot of space opposed to individual solo cup planting. That will still need being done eventually, but hopefully this will put it off just a little longer.

Hopefully now they will be done sprouting new ones. I pretty much buried any unsprouted seed when I repotted all the sprouts. I'm getting tired of seeing more E seedlings, lol. After all I'm expecting rather bland flowers. The cross was really just a fertility test with a single dropper. Well it passed the "control", but none of the non droppers crossed with it so far yielded a seedpod.

That said I really am enjoying the foliage. I got a number of wide lilypad-like leaf varieties with textured edges and mild quilting. I hope to get a picture up some time.

P.S.: If I seem kinda quiet on this blog, my attention is focused on getting ready to move. I'll be moving into a much smaller place than my grandma's house, so getting my plants packed up and finding room to fit them is a concern.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Does anyone know of some really good African violet/ gesneriad blogs and sites? I just thought it would be nice to get a blog roll going or something to make it easier to find blogs related to the subject. And maybe get a little shameless self promotion going in the process?

Just because the post looks rather empty without a photo. Here's a photo of Butterfly Bombshell. Enjoy!

And here's another with it's offspring. Well okay not exactly this plant's offspring. This one is a 2nd gen leaf clone from the original that I used.  But that one I'm in process of restarting from a crown cutting. There's not much to see there.
IDK how that green bar got in the photo. Appears to be a  glitch in photoshop when I opened the file and resized it. Just ignore it.

That plant is however the seed parent plant of a seedpod waiting and ready to be planted ( x Ness Fantasy Gold)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Seedling Update

Long time between overdue posts, I know. I've been too busy doing stuff rather than posting about it.

Anyways my seedlings have really grown. I've taken photos just about every week, but to save time, I'll just post the most recently taken, which are already a few days old.

C batch just before separating. (B28 x self). 

I picked my current favorite. It is now given it's #, which will be my shorthand way of labeling it as long as I own the variety. That will also be how I refer to it in most of my posts. This one is #4. The 4th one planted out of 14.

I deliberately made my favorite the 4th because both my A and B batch showed some awesome foliage with their #4. I'm just keeping up with the "tradition".


Aww. Aint that the cutest little thing?

D batch. (R. Stephanie x Ness Fantasy Gold).  


Not much behind the C batch in growth.  So far I'm not that impressed with the leaves. I prefer serrated or scalloped over plain flat edges. I'm hoping as they mature I'll see more shape to the leaves. These have all been divided up and given their own containers and numbers. There are exactly 28 of them so far. Correction 42 of them. I forgot to count the 3rd tray.

E batch. (B26 x Woodland Sprite).

Yikes. Too many. Too many.  I estimate at least 250 have sprouted. Out of those I'm probably nearing 230-240 living plants from that seedpod. It seems for every one I kill by accident, I find another new one sprouting. I sure hope I don't have to pot up 240 plants....

Just for whatever, I took 14 of them, not necessary the first 14 or any favorites, just 14 big ones that couldn't be fit in containers and planted them. So Now 14 of the E batch have their numbers.

Round appears to be the dominant leaf shape.  I'm curious to see what species traits I will end up seeing. Growth wise, the majority of them are at about the same stage as the D batch. They seem to be fast growers.

It goes to show that a week later doesn't make a whole lot of difference. At this point onward the growth rate will be about the same as any baby plants taken from leaf cuttings.

D batch fully divided with 14 of the E batch about to be picked.