Saturday, October 17, 2009

African Violet Exhibit - MN State Fair

Belated post. These days time slips away before I get to do things I plan to do. I think it's because I plan more things than I can do in a day, week, or so.

I attended the African Violet show at the State Fair. Out of it I learned a couple things.

- I really should get around to repotting my African Violets more often than once every several years or when I remember/motivate myself to repot (whichever comes first.)

- Perhaps I am too picky. Quite a few of the violets there looked just like my violets when I took better care of them and removed older leaves and kept them in good shape. Some of the things I thought were flaws like olive colored older leaves and tight centers, seemed to occur with some of the best violets shown there.

So maybe after I repot my violets (if I can motivate myself.) I should relax and not be poking and worrying so much, lol.

I still do plan to upload more photos from the state fair show.

On another note as far as pests, I'm still not sure I've gotten rid of the darned thrips which I supposedly have a problem with. I kept them disbudded most of the summer. Seems now in the fall they all want to bloom again. They are hiding some of the flowers between the leaves. They don't want me picking them, obviously, lol. Against my better judgment, I'm letting some of them bloom. The ones I am letting bloom are some of my hybrids that haven't bloomed before. Others are named varieties that haven't bloomed before, and some of my hybrids that I'm letting bloom again to check for consistency or variations.

It seems for BRS (B4) is blooming as a double pansy with a rather symmetrical petal arrangement. There's so far a stray single petal bloom. The more I look at the violet, the more I'm reminded why I love it so much.

BMB, also is blooming like a double, but kind of messy. It's presently being upstaged by B48, which has the same color blooms, but a much cleaner double. But we will see. It's got more blooms to open, and plus I've accidentally let the plant dry out and wilt a few times. I can't judge its blooms based on this, but still the stress test will probably be the best test for hardiness. In spite of ithe neglect, I have to hand it to BMB for foliage growth. Older leaves are yellowing and falling off, but otherwise has held its symmetry and not bunched up in the center. For that alone BMB still has my favor. The newer flowers seem to be opening as a semi double with white mottling on the edge. It's something I like for this variety.

B48, as far as I know, I think it's a first time bloomer. Promising blooms for their shape. Color wise rather plain. I wish it had a geneva edge, even if it were a thin one like BMB. I'm trying to figure out if it is a double star or pansy. When I get a picture up, it will go in the B batch post.


Both of the seed pods ripened (though withered perhaps a bit early at the stem), but unfortunately I made the mistake of putting them in containers that could easily get tipped over, lost or picked up and thrown in the trash or cleaned out as the pods were set out to dry. Makes me wonder why I do such things...

I still have one. I believe it to be the Optimara NC cross with Blue dragon based on the dried red petals on it.

Honestly I'm not sure I will plant it. Lately I've been busy with my photography, that I haven't paid much attention to many of my violets. Planting new ones is kinda out of the question.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

B Batch Seedlings

This is what they looked like Some time around the end of December 2007. I planted a few seeds earlier but after about a month only one sprouted and failed to grow. I planted the rest of the pod in a deli container not expecting a great yield. To my surprise I got more than I bargained for. I had to separate the seedlings and space them out in about 4 or 5 different containers.

After they grew out, I put them in solo cups and assigned them each a number. Because it was such a huge batch, not all of the seedlings got assigned their number right away. The last one got it's number just this last week. Out of about 70-80 that sprouted 50 (or 51) of them grew. Out of those over 40 grew to about standard/small standard size.

This was the first grouping I took from the B batch and assigned their numbers.

Mother: Rhapsodie Stephanie (1995 version)
Father: Ultra Violet (Green Circle/ Blansit 1996) Unknown. Not an Anthoflores variety like I once thought. (It's shown with it's most intense cool temperature colors)

Like I did with the A batch I will go down and list them, noting whether I am keeping the plant or not. I also added some observations I made as I did the cross. For me this is like a science experiment. I like to play around and see what things I learn in the process.

The numbers I didn't list may have been rather plain, and I didn't think to capture a photo. Some of them I gave away to friends and some I gave to my grandma's church to help raise funds. Some of the African violets may have died without being able to get a photo. Or it could very well be alive and thriving, but hasn't bloomed or I haven't captured a photo and thought to get it's label with the photo shoot. If it is not listed, you can assume one of those things happened.

Objective for this batch:
- see what I can get if I can actually do it.
- aiming for a fancier batch than "A"
- ideally have "father's" variable color pattern, Geneva edge and a little green(?)
- Possibly the above with mother's flower shape and color.
- heavy bloomers like both parents.

Results (estimated - (?) compare with photo results):
- Colors: Deep violet (dark colors are recessive), medium blue (violet), magenta, pink, and nearly white.
- roughly 1/2 with geneva edge / some green (?)
- 1/2 solid color (?)
- 1/2 with variable darker center/lighter edge (?)
- I found that Geneva edge (white border) seems to be a separate gene from "variable white" (the wider border of white that varies by temperature)

- roughly 1/4th star shaped blooms (both parents are carriers)
- of the other 3/4 shapes, some were "Violet" shaped and some were pansy shaped. I'm not sure on the exact percentage. (I call flowers that have a noticable size difference between upper and lower petals "Violet shaped".)
- 1/4th single droppers
- size of blooms: ranged average to possibly large.
- 1/2 frilly edged and 1/2 straight (?) (or a range with most being inbetween(?)

- dark green to light green. Medium green being probably most common.
- red reverse with about 3/4 of the offspring.
- check photos for leaf shape and edge.

Size: Small standard - standard.

Comments: I consider this a large batch. The first plainting didn't go well, so I planted the rest of the pod and this is what I got.

From a genetic standpoint I wonder what is more likely: 1. The genes for a solid color and then a gene that "masks" the color by "putting" white over the solid color? (think dog and cat genetics. White cats, genetically are colored but have something that "turns off" the color) 2. Or is it a white flower with added genes for color in some areas?
If I were to guess, I think it's likely #1. To me it makes the most sense, if you think about it. That may also explain the process and why temperature affects the color. Also why sometimes flowers with such patterns may sport into solid colored blooms. (like what eventually happened with the "father" of this batch. With the offspring, I got to see violets bloom with and without the variable white border, and with or without a geneva edge.

You can read more about African Violet traits here and compare with my results.

Bolded are the ones I am keeping for the time being.


Keeping it for the time being. I like the star shape and color pattern. Geneva edge and variable blue. Variable edge seems to tie with a darker center in most of the blooms. (Or if I were to go by my guess - hypothesis - I would say the blue is it's "true" color but is being covered up by a gene "turning off" the blue in the center part of each petal.)

B2 "Butterfly Spring Blossom"

Keeper. Has a variable darker edge. Doesn't appear to have a darker center. Has a slight geneva edge. From a glance it could almost look tri-colored (green/white, pink, and magenta)(refer to above comment about white and variable color.)


I like the little double flowers and their color pattern, but the foliage growth leaves more to be desired. It could be it doesn't like the lighting I'm giving it. I'm testing this a bit longer to see before I give it away.
2012 Update: I gave it away. It opened up to give decent symmetry. (the person I gave it to thought it was perfect). The recovered/restarted plant was pretty but too plain in comparison to other violets in this batch. The flowers opened up as a single plain bi-colored pansy with plain light green leaves. It just wasn't enough to impress me.

B4 "Butterfly's Raspberry Sherbet"

Keeper. Both blooms and Foliage = win. Flower color: 2-toned pink/speckled magenta, variable darker center and edges. The transition from light to dark is smooth. No Geneva edge. Foliage: Dark green, edge: scalloped(?) Has the potential to grow wavy or straight. I prefer wavy.
I had a hard time picking a photo for this post out of the choices: show this plant blooming as a double, but not a very good view of petal texture and color, close-up of the flowers, but not the plant. Finally I decided on this one. It shows it blooming as a single (seems to be most common for it to bloom this way) and a good view of the foliage.


Solid blue, plain single sticktite pansy flowers. medium green leaves. Edge: nearly smooth. Slightly serrated. Variable red reverse. Veins, dusty brown-red to pale. Growth and flowers didn't impress me. It grew okay at first, though not as organized looking as others shown here. I offered it up to be sold at a church rummage sale a couple years ago. It was left behind. It grew like celery. Even if it got enough light it didn't grow flat. Neck kept getting longer. 6-10-11 The plant didn't look great due to neglect. It had odd brown rot spots on leaves. I chucked the plant in the trash. Not worth saving.


It kind of resembles the "dad" plant but with "mom's" colors. Lighter green leaves like "dad". Not sure if I still have it. I may have given it away.


I may have given this one away. It was pretty. Medium blue (violet) semi-double star.

B10 Butterfly Gossamer Pink

Keeper. Semi double- single, 2 tone pink w/ darker eye. Please don't judge symmetry by the photo. It took a fall before it bloomed and the leaves broke.

B14 Alice's Violet

Hard to see but it's got variable pink. Pansy shaped bloom. It's a gift to someone in my family.

B15 Butterfly Blue Eye

It's a single dropper but somehow won it's place to be considered a keeper. Single star w/ variable blue eye.

B19 Butterfly Twinkling Star

Another dropper that's found its place on my keeper list. At least for the time being. Named it for it's glittery white appearance. It seems to have issues with birthmarking (random red blotches on leaves), which causes interesting effects on the flowers. Eventually this may turn out to be a near solid color.


When it first opened up I was about to name it "Butterfly Scruffy Puppy" for it's kind of awkward shaped blooms w/ yellow-green ends. Medium-green leaves. Like a few others in this batch, the top 2 petals may be lighter than the bottom three. (the darker colors seems to be kind of a speckled effect, just like with B4)


Nearly identical to B22, except on a dark green leaf background.


I really love how the centers pick up the blue (violet). Semi-double star. Variable "blue".

B25 Butterfly Pieris Whites

Shown with it's "winter" colors.
Named after a family of white butterflies. When it opened in the summer flowers were all white with an occasional hint of pink. Sometimes the lower center petal gets a nice "pinched" (fluted) look to it. I can't tell if it is a dropper or not. It bloomed as a semi-double once, so it may not be. The way it's connected, resembles a dropper, but I haven't seen it drop any flowers yet.


Another dropper, but I like the unique petal shape and the fluted ends. It's probably the darkest violet (blue) out of the B batch.

B28 Butterfly Bombshell

Unique flower shape, extremely fluted w/ ruffled ends. The pink here is a coral? Sometimes has light yellow-green ends.


Given away, I believe. Pink w/darker eye.


Blooming as a double. I'm keeping an eye on this one to see if it is consistant.


I'm not sure if I still have it or not.


Keeper. I love the chartreuse ends. Light pink on dark green leaves.


Hard to see, but it does have a slightly darker center. It is blue (violet) with a magenta glitter to the petals. I'm keeping it for now. So far seems to be a sticktite.


Looks like 34, but with a geneva edge. Note: The back of the petals are lighter. This has an effect on how the color shows on the front of the flower.


I like the wide shape of the flower, and the nice 2-tone effect to the petals/darker center w/ geneva edge but it is a dropper. I had to adjust the colors with the image to look close to the actual color. (the actual color is a little more blue and possibly slightly darker.)


Reminds me of B35, but w/frilly leaves and flower edge. This variety faced a setback. I'm hoping it will survive but I am not sure.


Reminds me of Optimara Chico by how it blooms. I like the added green geneva edge. It's got some birthmarking going on (random red blotches on leaves). It may sport to a solid color eventually.


Reminds me of B33, only lighter. Both leaves and flower color are lighter than B33.


"fluffy" (frilly) white star. I'd like to keep it to see if it is a true white or has color like some of the other "whites" out of the B batch. So far it's shown just white. This variety faced a setback. I hope it survives long enough for me to find out.

Butterfly Morpho Blue (number unknown)

This variety was labeled as B something, but when I repotted it, I wrote the name I gave it and "B". I must have forgotten to write the rest of the number. For some reason I seem to think it may have been B20, but I don't have any photos to prove that. It's got a variable geneva edge. Flowers start off medium blue (violet) and then fade to a dusty blue as the flowers age.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Batch Seedlings

This is what they looked like after I moved them out into their own cups and assigned each their number. This was done around December 2007.
I had a more extensive description of some of my keepers on another place on the Internet. I hope to add that info here, but for now this will do.

What happened to the numbers not listed? they may have been rather plain and I didn't think to capture a photo. Some of them I gave away to friends and some I gave to my grandma's church to help raise funds. Or the African violet may have died without being able to get a photo. Or it could very well be alive and thriving, but hasn't bloomed or I haven't captured a photo and thought to get it's label with the photo shoot. If it is not listed, you can assume one of those things happened.

Objective for this batch:
- see what I can get if I can actually do it. (This was my first successful batch) I wasn't looking for anything special or even worth keeping.
- both "parents" were solid color blooms. One was light blue-lavender and the other white. 2012 Optimara Violets confirmed the parantage. The white violet is Montana II and the purple one is Stephanie I.

- "Mother" (Possibly Rhapsodie Stephanie, 1995 version) is a carrier for pink.
- Father was white. (Optimara Montana II) It's a recessive color. Flower shape was a double/semi-double, but like many Optimara's this is misleading. (I see them switch a bit between bloom cycles.) I don't know if white is separate from other color genes (a masking gene like with cat and dog genetics) or not. If I were to guess I think it may be a "masking gene" being recessive to all color, but I am not sure. Or maybe it simpily dilutes any color, and 100% diluted color may be kind of rare. I suspect that may be very possible. The results seem to hint at that possiblity.

- Results:
A range of medium blue (purple) to very pale blue (lavender), pink to pale pink. All flowers so far prove to be solid colored.

Flower shape: "Pansy" for most offspring, recessive star-shaped blooms with about a fourth of the offspring. The sticktites (non droppers) seem to range from double to single.
About 1/4th would be single droppers. (single dropping is recessive)

- some were ruffled and some were relativly plain. Colors ranged from dark green to light or medium green. Plain smooth edges seem to be recessive. I would guess the father's wide round leaf shape was also recessive. Most have a red reverse (Dominant trait). You can see the photos and compare them to this refrence.

Size: All offspring are standard size.

Comments: I'd consider this a small batch. I didn't plant the entire pod. Out of about 20 that sprouted, 14 of them grew.

Bolded are my favorites and my keepers out of the batch.

From the A batch we have:


This one was given away. I loved it, but it was a single dropper. (flowers fell off whenever the plant felt like it). It was also kind of plain. I don't regret giving it up, even though I got a lovely photo.


This one I have, but it died back severly over the winter and spring. I had some serious problems with the lower leaves turning yellow. I still haven't quite figured out why that is even after trying various things. It could be something to do with a change in our water or the temperature.


It's a dropper and kind of a plain flower. The foliage is really nice though. Even so, I'm not planning to keep it.


This one I don't plan to keep, if I haven't already given it away already. It's a bit too plain.


It had a number of interesting traits, but I doubt I kept it for whatever reasons. Single dropper. Color: Very Pale pink, almost white.


I'm keeping it for the time being. It's a heavy bloomer, and probably most like "Father". So far the color seems to be white, but I want to see it bloom more times before I call it white. This variety has dealt with some set-backs. I'm hoping it will survive.


Given away. Like A1 I felt it was a bit plain. Plus I had others with a similar shape from the B batch that had more color. I didn't keep it long enough to see if it was a dropper or not. It looked like one.

A12 "Porcelain Butterfly Wings"

It's a keeper. I love serrated leaves. They come to kind of a soft point. The flower shape is ideal for this crossing. Flowers range from single to double. Pale pink.


Hard to see, but the veins have a slight darker outline. Color: Pale blue (lavender), in some areas it could almost be 2-toned. I'm keeping this one.


I may have given this away. Color: very pale blue(lavender). Single dropper.

Starting off

I grow African Violets as a hobby. Some day I hope to get into it more seriously, join clubs, become a member of AVSA, register hybrids, etc, but for now that's all long range stuff. I'm just a hobby grower who keeps her (grandma's) house filled with African Violets of all different sorts and colors.

This last year I've been experimenting with hybridizing. It's an interesting project if you have the space to try it.

I started two batches just over a year ago. A (2 unlabeled violets, but if I were to make an educated guess based off when I got them and characteristics I would think Batch A was Rhapsody Stephanie I (bought in early 1996, Patented and with the Optimara label with some kind of fancy thing going) x Optimara Montana) and Batch B: Rhapsody Stephanie I x AnthoFlores Ramzy. Either way I'm not registering the offspring with ASVA because you have to be 100% sure of the parent's names. 95% or even 99% sure just doesn't cut it....

Photos and descriptions of the A and B batch are coming soon, probably in a later blog post.

My first C batch was a failure. I may have gotten one sprout but I don't hold high hopes for it. If it holds up I'll call it C-A.

I have a few seed pods ripening, but I'm not sure if I will plant them just yet. Space is a huge concern and you know when hybridizing with what looks pretty and is blooming at the time, those thoughts aren't taken into consideration. So we have my potential "Dragon crossings".

I crossed Ness' Orange Pekoe (mother) with Blue dragon (father). That cross if successful will be huge............crossing 2 large standards-what was I thinking? At least if I get to planting I will get to see if Blue Dragon is a carrier for Variegated leaves or not.

- Potential for 50% variegated offspring if BD is a carrier.
- Offspring will both have star shaped blooms. (Star shaped is recessive).
- Colors will probably range from blue to coral pink. I'm hoping for some coral colors.
- I'm hoping for BD's Raspberry edge.
- Red Reverse leaves for most offspring
- Size: large....(I read it's recessive.)
- will see if any carry genes for single dropping

- Can I register offspring from this batch in the future: very likely, because both are labeled and named varieties.

Pod #2: Optimara North Carolina I (mom) x Blue Dragon (dad)

- solid green leaves (no variegation)
- 50% chance of standard and large size. (unless Opt. Carolina proves to be dominant, then 100% will be standard)
- I'm aiming for some red here. Maybe some red violet.
- ideally like to see BD's raspberry edge on a red-violet flower.
- 50% star shaped blooms and 50% "Violet" shaped blooms.
- double, semi double, and possibly single blooms if they carry the trait.
- Red Reverse leaves for most offspring
- will see if any carry genes for single dropping

- can offspring from this cross be registered: IDK... Even though I am pretty sure it's Optimara North Carolina, I'd have to go back at the list I got from the greenhouse I bought it from. (They provided their list after I made a long distance call and requested.) If they got anything else like North Carolina on their list, then I probably can't. But if that's the only one, then I may be able to, but it's a stretch. For now I don't know. I doubt it.

When will these be planted? Probably not any time soon. The pods are still green, so there is still chance for something to go wrong before they ripen.