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.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

African Violet Art

The MN Av Club is looking for more funds and I am looking for ways to hobby, I mean help pay the rent, keep me alive besides my day job, lol.

An idea is born. AV art.  I want it to be original. One of my friends happened to have some polyamer clay stored in his house. (fimo, premo, kato, and scupty III)

That got me started on a project. I made some molds by casting some of my African violet leaves (very carefully!). It took a few tries, but eventually I got a few good castings with minimal breakage showing on the mold.

Then the clay:  I like to mix things. Probably a bad Idea, Idk.  I mixed together a bunch of transparent clays; kato, fimo, and cernit and mixed in watercolor paint to give pigment.  With that as a base color, I pressed the clay into the molds. Some will be painted using acrylic and watercolor blends (sealed of course) and some covered with embossing powder ( thanks to Layl McDill for the suggestion!)

These are what resulted:
Top left and clockwise: clay base unpainted, opaque embossing powder, (2 leaves) painted with watercolor and sealed, 3rd leaf: same process, made to look like the reverse side, left leaf: pearl embossing powder.

These are magnets. Some will be made into broaches. More to come for the fall show in October. if that goes well, there will be some more available to buy at the HarMar Mall show next year.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How many seeds are in an African violet pod?

I'm really curious.

I just divided up my E batch. There was a lot.

I had this.

Divided them up and spaced them out.

There still wasn't room to fit them all.

I lost count at 225. There still looked like a good 20 more at least. Add to that, I found many day 1 sprouts. What a tangled mess to sort through.

I mangled their roots trying to get them separated. The poor things. I'm not sure all 225 + will make it.  And I am not sure I want them all to either.  What will I do with them all?  Fortunately for this batch, there shouldn't be a whole lot of interesting to make it worth saving every. damn. one.

I'll have to cross the bridge when it comes. Future plans involve either giving away a lot or possibly exposing them to some kind of pathogen and see what (if any) survives.  Granted I ended up overwatering the tray, I may get to see this early.  Hopefully not.  I'm leaving the container open to let the excess water evaporate.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Seedling Update

The long awaited post showing my seedlings has finally come. Photos taken Yesterday.

Starting with Batch C: (ButterflyBombshell x self)

Wow. Oh My. Have they grown? 

Before I know it, they will need their own containers. At that point they will be assigned their #'s in the order I plant them. If one dies in the transplanting process, then the next one (if I have some late ones) get assigned that number. At least that's what I did with the past two batchs This is a small batch of about 12-14. The seedpod dried up prematurely. (like within 2.5-3 months after pollination.) Most are growing out their 2nd set of true leaves. I'm starting to see their personalities. I also get an idea if the reverse will be colored.  Colors all look medium green, with one being slightly lighter. My favorite is still the wide leaf with the clearly serrated edges. The"U" shape curve hints that it may turn out to be wavy to slightly wavy.

Side notes: I notice differences between how some are unfolding their new leaves. Some have a clear crease along the center of the leaf and some do not.

Batch D (Rhapsodie. Stephanie x Ness Fantasy Gold)

(I forgot to take a photo yesterday of this batch, so I'll try to get one soon.)

Catching up fast. They are starting on their 1st set of true leaves. Already I've spaced them apart.

I don't remember when the seedpod dried up. I forgot about the plant for a while. I suspect the pod made it to 4 months at least. No visible favorites yet. Lots of smooth edges so far. I expect a high number of wavy. NFG is wavy. R. Stephanie produced a high number of wavy in the past. In future tests, I'd like to see if she hides a wavy leaf gene. For now I'm waiting to see the true leaves grow out more.

Side notes: I notice one cotyledon often continues to grow along with the leaves. The other tends to remain smaller.

Batch E (B26 x Woodland Sprite)

Oh my! Oh Dear. Oh No. What am I going to do?

I. did. NOT. need. Every. Damn. Seed. to. Sprout. Okay, maybe not all, but there sure is a lot of green goin' on. Over 50 and not done sprouting yet!

They are too small for most hybridizers to consider spacing apart. I had to get started. There's no way they are going to make it growing that close together.  I'll have to do what I did with my B batch; make up 2 (or more) containers and space the sprouts into those.

Side notes:  The pod never dried out at all. Around the 4 month mark, the pod opened itself and started dumping the seed on the leaves below. The seeds in this pod appeared larger and harder than the seeds I saw in the pods that dried up first.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

African Violet Germination

Photo Collage showing samples of the germination process.

Just thought it was kind of interesting. Note wispy root fibers. Samples taken from my E batch (B26 x Woodland Sprite), D batch (R. Stephanie x Ness Fantasy Gold) and C batch (Butterfly Bombshell B28 x Self).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Hybridizer's Nightmare: Dehiscence (African violets)

I was going to blog about my new African Violet Seedlings. I now have a C and D batch of seeds sprouting. C (Butterfly Bombshell x Self) is already putting up it's 1st set of true leaves.)  D batch is going to be huge. (over 30 plants coming.)

But, as usual, something came up and took precedence for my attention.


and this.

Those are seeds, fully formed, and fallen on the leaf below.

As if the plant couldn't wait. As if it felt mad that I picked two other AVs to plant pods. As if it felt it's seeds were important to plant NOW ...  And by Golly if the hybridizer wasn't going to make a move, then she was gonna to do it herself.

Okay, that wasn't my first thought when I saw the horror. Was it bugs?  Recalling all the fears I had about the mites, bugs, etc..  Mice?  No. Not a bite mark. It looked too cleanly opened along a natural seam. I've been watching this pod and others. Could they open at those lines? No, I kept telling myself. African violet pods do not open, or do they if grown under certain conditions? After all Steptocarpuses and Sinningias () do this all the time, I think? Well, there seems to be plenty of info to find on it anyway. But African violets? Not a thing.

Recalling my troubles this summer,  I was dealing with too much light, too much heat, and maybe too much fluctuations between wet and dry, and lots of humidity to go around. Enough to stink the basement. Pew.  Not to mention what all I did to try to treat such things. I sprayed with Forbid, tried to treat cown rot, root rot, eventually just kind of letting go and seeing if the plants will recover on their own. It seems the AV's growing away from the lights are faring better, so it leads me to believe the light is the main issue with my tight crowns and possible poorly thriving plants.

So this all leaves me with lots of questions.  Was the seed pod dehiscence related to what I did, or can all African violets display this behavior under the right conditions?  Stress? Is this what happens if the pods do not dry out before the seeds reach maturity? Could this be one way African violets disperse their seeds in the wild?  Has anyone been able to observe them in their natural habitat? And see them go to seed too?

Meanwhile I watch my other upcoming pods. I am thinking about putting a paper bag or something around them and just letting them do their thing. Let's see if they open up and how wide they go if they do. The seeds will hopefully stay contained and ready to plant at my convenience. Not theirs. :P

P.S. I did salvage and plant the seeds in question. Will see if they are as viable as I suspect they are.  Most of the seeds were well formed, clearly visible, and hard, like wood to the touch. I could roll them between my fingers.

----------------------------August 18-12 Update-----------------------------

The seeds I planted from B26 x Woodland Sprite are sprouting. Aready. About 3 of the sprouts are fully open and clearly visible. I'd guess they probably sprouted yesterday, but I missed seeing them.

That was quick!  At least as far as I know, based on my limited experience planting African Violet seeds. That would be like only 3 days after planting. (I have had other flower seeds sprout that quick, but that's another topic.) Most of the sprouts have just started. They have put out their first root and have their leaves folded with or without the seed shell still attached.  To be a safe guess I'd say 4.5 days for the earliest one can probably expect to see African violet sprouts from planting.  But considering this was from a seedpod that opened on its own (something not observed or documented as far as I know), anything "normal" is irrelevant here.

Photo updates of the sprouts below.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I feel like a Pariah

 Hardly anyone wants to do trades with me, no one wants leaves.  I feel like my name is smeared and I am like an outcast. I brought it on myself I know.  I'm still waiting on the soil test. I'm still having trouble finding mites to take to an entomologist.

I did cut down on watering, let the soil mix actually get dry and crumbly on the surface, which means too dry I thought.  But with the heavy mix it still is very moist just an inch under the surface.  Where it dried out, the roots are starting to grow back. Where the soil is moist, the roots are dead.

The Menards african violets in the bathroom are starting to grow new crowns.  The new growth is still pale.  I used an old PH testing strip.  The PH was high, like somewhere between 7 or 8. That is too high for ideal growth.  The city water seems to be alkaline too.  The soil was supposed to be acidic, but maybe the water brought up the PH.

 I'll try a little experiment:
1.Lighten the soil mix with more perlite
2. Microwaving some of my soil to pasteurize it and set a few starters in it.
3. plant a few starters w/o pasteurizing the soil
6. Get some soil acidifier from Menards or mix powdered sulfur in some.
4. wait it out, give them the same care. See what happens.

 If the ones with the acid soil amendments grow out the best, then it is a PH issue.  If the ones with the pasteurized soil grow out the best, then it is a soil pathogen case.  if they all grow out well, then it was a watering issue.  If they all grow out like crap, then there is something else going on. I'll need to check for pests or my lighting.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Maybe I'm just stressed out and ready to see faults in everything.  Maybe I've been killing my plants out of paranoia.

The mites seem to be very elusive. I brought over a plant to the local plant pathology lab. They could only find one mite, but were not able to identify it.  So I walked past a couple buildings to show the mites to an entomologist. Somehow he ended up with mite free leaves and thrip free blooms.  I'm glad for the no thrips, but puzzled how I missed giving him a mite to look at.  The darn things crawl really fast. They seem to like hanging around the soil and pot rims.  These little details and their long front legs makes me think these may be a an Oribatid mite or a predatory mite. Perhaps one of these? Or these? Or these? Or these? Or a Hypoaspis mite?
When I peered through the microscope in the plant pathology lab, I got a clear view of the mite, even clearer than my camera got.  It looked a lot like the last photo, an Amblyseius swirskii or some mite in that family or possibly in the Hypoaspis family.

That still won't stop me from trying to catch a few mites to bring back to the entomologist. If he verifies those are predatory mites or soil mites, then I'm not going to bother trying to get rid of them. It's doing me more harm trying to kill them, than to accept them as part of the microbiology.

This is my opinion on springtails.  Though they look ugly floating in the bottom of the water tray and just plain annoying, they serve a real function. Spreading good fungi and eating harmful stuff.  In fact it seems whenever I see my african violets growing in soggy wet soil without rotting, almost always, a colony can be found.  I learned that lesson once with a Christmas cactus. I sprayed and sprayed until most springtails were gone. The soil got moldy and the plant collapsed.  I learned to better leave the springtails be and just water less.

What about the strange growth? What is causing it?  The plant pathologist lifted one of my african violets out of its pot. He grumbled about the roots. "All dead" he said. "No roots, the plant's dead." He continued to complain how wet the soil was.  I too was shocked to see how soggy it got.  It felt dry on the surface.  It also got wet from spraying all my plants with forbid.  Out of curiosity I'm getting the soil tested to see if there is more to it or if the soil is just wet or has the wrong ph.

I'm still waiting on the soil test result.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

No sprouts and still mites

An update.  It looks like I have a lot of green algae colored perlite, maybe some moss growing. No African violet sprouts.  Oh well. The next pod in waiting is Gecko's Vespa Vino (seed parent) x Butterfly Blue Eye. Dated 1-8-12, It's still developing on the plant. Even if it dries up in May, it should hopefully have crossed that 4 month viability limit.  The previous pod may have only had 3 months. I forgot if I am supposed to count the first month or not. I may have mistakenly counted it when I said I had 4 months.  The Vespa Vino pod is at least 4 months now even if I don't count January.

This cross should be interesting because the plants are like polar opposites. Butterfly Blue eye grows very flat. Vespa Vino is anything but flat. Butterfly Blue Eye is neat and follows its own symmetry.  Vespa Vino is anything but neat.  It's a wasp.  Blue eyed wasp flowers should be cool. I'll get to see if Vespa Vino carries the star flower gene.

Drawbacks:  Vespa vino is a semi-double dropper. Jeff Smith and others have stated wasp violets can't be droppers. The same is said about semi's and doubles. I've seen Marrie Lorraine and even Ness' Fantasy Gold drop a bloom or two. My particular African violets must be freaks. They defy all tried and true logic.

Butterfly Blue Eye is also a dropper. If both have the dropper gene, being recessive 100% of the offspring will drop their flowers before they fade.  Some people like this trait and some do not.  I'm not a fan of it, but I won't throw away a good plant just because of it. But then again if part of what Jeff smith said about semis and wasps holds true, I may still see sticktites or occasional droppers.  Time will tell.  To be honest I'm more excited about this crossing than the previous. Even if that means no variegation.



Still can't get rid of the buggers...  I tried a product called Mite x which seemed promising. I didn't even mind the garlic and clove smell. Apparently it's not the best for African violets. It burned out the crowns on just about any violet that got touched by sunlight.  Losing the crown isn't the end of the world, but heck, it's going to take a while for the plant to recover. It will assure that if I want a decent symmetrical plant, I'll have to start over from one of the crown suckers. This is bad news if I wanted to have those particular violets show worthy by August.  But enough of that. Survival is top priority. Show worthy later.

I changed over from a regular family dollar spray bottle to a pump sprayer.  That seems to give better coverage and soak a lot more with forbid than the regular spray bottle did.

On a side note, I may lose my Butterfly Blue eye father parent. I think I still have leaves.  I forgot to check on it this week and left it in with the plants under my grandma's care. The plant ended up (drying out first) soaking wet and drowning in the pot.  I salvaged it, but I can see the mites or something sure took a toll on it's upper leaves. The lower leaves are wilted. The Mite x killed the crown. No healthy leaves = failed plant or harder than heck chance for recovery.

I'm planning and gathering up plants to send over for diagnosis. Anyone know where I go to get that done?  I looked up the University of Minnesota extension website but couldn't see a link to where I send or bring over plant material for diagnosis.  I'll keep posted if they can give a diagnosis.

Monday, April 23, 2012

...Or maybe not

I cannot say enough kind things about the members on this forum. Seriously.  I owe them.  Someone gave me a small bottle of Forbid to treat my plants.

So the process begins. A new challenge.  Spraying or dipping. Every. Damn. Plant. In. The. House.  Not just the african violets, but everything.  Well just about everything. I can't spray vegetables or edible plants. Something just doesn't seem very appetizing about eating something made for mass mite destruction. Those will go outside as soon as April quits trying to make up for the summer March we had. Okay I am paranoid.  Maybe it's a bit overkill. Not all of the violets look as bad as the Menards ones.  In fact many of them are blooming. No one would even suspect anything wrong.  But I am treating them anyway. Paranoid? Over cautious? Maybe.

But in this situation I doubt it is a bad thing.

So far I've gotten a little over half way, maybe further. I lost count at about 80 plants.  So many more and so many more to go.  This may be a good time for me to take inventory to see just how many plants I do have. Total. Total african violets. Total for each variety. Total for my surviving hybrids.

Bathroom floor is ugly. I know....  Yeah submersing an Ivy = Messy. Perlite all over. Everything. Including the floor. And my feet. And the floors around it.

Hoyas aren't much better.

So I resorted to spraying. Even if that means having to do it all over again. it goes much quicker that way. I can treat many plants in a short amount of time. And best of all, no perlite crumblings falling on the floor under my feet. A poor Family Dollar spray bottle is about to become a sacrifice. It's a small price to pay.

Temporary holding place for the treated violets to dry off. These came from the basement. My upstairs plants are being treated separately.

For those who bought any plants from me at the show, they come with a guarantee. If you notice any problems with them or think they have mites, please let me know. Send them back and I'll treat them. I'll keep them for a little while to make sure they grow normal before sending back.  I doubt they were affected, but I just want to make sure everything is okay. Especially any of my hybrids.

Oh and looks like my seedpod Namely Nancy (seed parent) x Butterfly Bombshell is sprouting.  It's super hard to tell. The shoots can easily be confused with algae on tiny perlite granules. Maybe they are. They are that tiny.   I'm obsessively checking them daily. So far they seem to be growing. Too small to photograph yet. I don't want to smush them with my camera lens.

Timing couldn't have been better.  The pod planted the 6th of the month, seemed to be taking longer than I am used to.  My room can get really warm if it is sunny outside. Like close to 80 degrees if it is over 65 outside and full sun. Seeds that have warnings of taking 20+ days to sprout (Lobelia) take only a couple weeks.  Not seeing anything in my african violet container (deli dish) made me concerned enough to ask about how long I should wait.  Sure enough a few hours after posting, I saw my first tiny specks of green.

If I am looking at true african violet sprouts (and not just algae covered perlite grains) I have about 3-4 coming up right now.  There may be more.  I'm excited. Very excited. And this is coming from a premature seedpod. It ripened and shriveled up within 4 months from pollination. (12-19-11 - 4-6-12, wilted at about 3-20-12 - 3-25-12) 5-6 months are considered better for ripe seeds.  My last two seedpods took about that time.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The end I guess.

The dreaded M word. Mites.  They  don't appear to be the typical c. or broad mites. But they are mites.  And the cure to get rid of them is priced way too high for me to get.  Just when I am about to succeed at something, there's always something to get in the way. It's life I guess. 

Why must it be so damn expensive?  Unless anyone would be foolishly kind enough to give me a product worth $98, then I guess that is the end of my African violet growing.  I just can't bring myself to toss everything right now.

My First African Violet Show

I was waiting to post until I had every (well just about every) photo I took of the show, and write up a really fancy long thing. Well this is as close as I got.  As the date got farther from the show, life added more stuff on my plate, as well as a listing of more stuff to do (and put off doing). So today, I realized a short post just to get it done is far better than nothing at all.

When I first called the AVASM (African Violet Society of Minnesota), I mentioned about wanting to show. I was warned that competition would be tough. I decided just to get into the show would be enough to make me happy.

I brought 14 plants to the show. Many of them were my own hybrids. The club members were impressed. Once the show got started I found 13 of 14 got blue ribbons.  2nd best standard (the photo above).  Best Novice. With my own hybrid. I also pretty much dominated the hybridizer class.

I hope to grow some more to sell next time in the spring or fall. All of the ones I brought sold quickly.  I don't know what will happen for my next show, but I'm really looking forward to entering again. Maybe for the State Fair. I'm sure it will be tougher and a lot more plants to compete against, but hey if I can just get in that will be awesome enough.  I guess I can't compete in Novice anymore. ;)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Triploid, tricot, three leaves instead of two. Whatever it is called is a mutation involving chromosomes. Most normal plants and animals have two. (diploid) Sometimes more happen. This case three. Diploid plants (dicots) grow two leaves at a time. (mint, asters, african violets, cucumbers..too many to list) Monocots (grass, philodendrons, etc grow one leaf at a time.) Tricots grow three leaves at a time.

Tricots are not normal with most plants. As far as being able to propagate it, I am not sure. The internet seems all over the board on whether or not they are sterile, stronger or weaker growing, or can be bred. My take is that it would be a hard trait to breed for but can occur as a mutation. The effects are interesting.

I've seen it occur with coleus. (the branch will remain that way until the tip gets broken off. When it branches off, it does so in 3's. The offshoots returned to normal.) I've also seen it occur on a common Milkweed. I've also seen it occur with dandelion blooms. (even more so if they got "fertilized" with weed killer.)

But an African violet?! Nope. This is Laughing Anna. I'm not sure if this is typical for the variety or if mine is a spontaneous mutation. I have a hunch it is a mutation. It isn't the first one I've had for that variety. (A year or two ago, I had a Laughing Anna produce a single huge flower and one small leaf from the center instead of two normal leaves.)

Anyways this is how the plant is affected. From the top:

Unusual symmetry. Leaves grow out at an equilateral triangle. Looks like it has a 180 degree rotation with the tip of the triangle pointing up or down every other leaf set.


Siamese twinning. On. every. Stalk.

Fewer flowers. Stalks twice as long and twice as thick. (To be fair, I didn't typically see lots of flowers per stalk before.)

Everything grows in sets of threes from the crown. Three leaves. Three bloom stalks.


Update 5-4-12:

It's still keeping to it's 3 leaf at a time growth pattern. As a result it is filling in quite quickly.

Oh No!

How this

became this....

#@$! crown rot. Lost seedpod is lost. It happens to the best of us. Losing an African violet is not the end of the world. Just do what you can to save it, and if that doesn't work, then start over. Whatever happens, does not mean having to give up on African Violets. Too many people get discouraged at this point. But even the best of gardeners can still end up killing a few plants (or more.)

Fortunately I have a back-up baby version of this variety. Now to figure out why this is happening and how to prevent it from attacking more of my violets. There are a few things that stand in mind. I haven't been consistent with watering. I think I let it dry out while I was at work. I could have gotten water in the crown when watering. Or I could have failed to clean my tools properly when removing suckers.

If you're wondering what happened, I put the crown in a fresh pot of soil and bagged it with a ziplock. I tried dusting some cinnamon around the base. It may recover. If not, then at least I tried.

I did find another affected violet a week later, but I hope I saved it by finding the wilted leaf and removing all the rot where it came from. I may have caught it early. Fortunately there was just one spot. I removed all the lower leaves for good measure.

Follow up: The plant died. It rotted in the bag. Everything. All into mush. I planted the 2nd gen leaf clone in a 4" pot. The starter is now beginning to grow into standard size. I hope it will bloom just as pretty when it gets to full size. I really miss it's unusual wide, almost thumbprint-like raspberry edging, solid pink middles, and coral eyes.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Crosses Fingers

Mother: "Namely Nancy" (8150) 01/30/1995 (A. Miller) Single-semidouble light lavender two-tone sticktite large ruffled star. Variegated dark green, cream and pink, ovate, quilted, scalloped/red back. Large

Father: "Butterfly Bombshell" (B28) (Descendent of Stephanie, 1995 x UltraViolet Unknown, 1996)

Date of cross: 12/19/11

Variegated Seedpod. Awww. How cute!

I find amusing how Nancy droops her pollenated blooms underneath her leaves. Out of sight. She's hiding them from me.

If all goes well I should have some seeds.

I expect:
-100% Tommy Lou variegation (mother inherited trait)
-50% stars
-Solid colors or 2 tone shades
- mostly red backed leaves
-3/4th non droppers (Will find out if any are carriers for the dropper gene)
-50% standard and 50% large??? (I forgot which size is dominant) I prefer standard to large.

-Non Blue lavenders and pinks.
-Coral colors??
-Fluted petals - (not sure on percent)
- Speckling????
- thin geneva edge???? (B28 sometimes blooms with a slight light outline)

- Get B28's Bloom shape on vareigated leaves
- Get a heavier bloomer with stronger bloom stalks than NN
- see what interesting recessives I get. (Hoping for darker coral colors)

Overall feel: Not sure if there will be much variety of colors, but I could be proven wrong. It may be easier for me to focus on what to keep vs, what to throw (or give away to random people. Or better yet to throw at people, LOL)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Update on the A batch Seedlings

A fellow African Violet forum member suggested I visit Optimara on Facebook to post about the Optimara Violets I own. One I had the label, but lost it shortly after I got the violet years ago. The other Optimara's did not come with labels, but I was able to find the greenhouse I got the violets from and receive a list. I took the advise and posted a couple of my violets along with the time I bought them and whatever details I could think of. From there Optimara was able to confirm the parentage of my A batch. It turns out I was on track with my identification.

The white African Violet (father) is Optimara Montana II. (they noted the curled center petal as a distinguishing trait.)
The light purple one (mother) was harder for them to identify because mine was older. It was replaced by a newer version that did not share the same leaf type. (variable red reverse) It was a plant I had since 1995/1996. They posted back that Frank Nentwig, in charge of their variety development, identified it as Stephanie.

Now that I know the parentage I believe I can register some of my A batch seedlings. I have two that I am considering.

A12 "Porcelain Butterfly Wings" (or "Porcelain Butterflies")

I've grown this one both under fluorescent lights and by my window. I've neglected it and let its neck get far too long. I've let it wilt (accidentally) seen it lose its lower leaves. I cut off its crown and repotted it. In all this time it has continued to grow vary well. It did go through a period of suckering when I forced it under nearly 21 hours light, but it seems to have calmed down. So far, I'd say under my conditions it seems to have what it takes to be a solid performer.

Leaves have a distinct red streak near the petiole, and lighter green near the veins.

Underside shot will have to come in one of my next posts. Veins are dark red regardless of backing color.

Ideal bloom looks something like this (with or without the notches).

It goes through some cycles with single blooms, but eventually they open up with curled/folded petals in the center. (Montana II's trait) with mother (Rhapsodie Stephanie I's bloom shape.) Color is pink to light pink, sometimes darker near the center.

So far this one seems to grow consistently on the small side. I don't recall it ever getting much larger than 8". The two full size ones I have growing right now (at the time of posting) are close to exactly at 8". That puts it either at the maximum size for a semi-mini or at the minimum size for a standard. I'm not sure if it is considered a fault for a standard to be small or a semi mini to be big. That may be a problem, but I'll wait it out and see how the generation test goes. The 2nd gen leaf props so far seem to grow to 8". I'll update if it grows bigger.

A13 "Lilac Butterflies"

Another seemingly solid performer. This one appears to have near perfect symmetry if grown ideal (provided I don't break it or remove the wrong leaves when grooming) It's been through abuse like my A12 and thrives just as well.

The blooms and the leaves are what make it stand out to me. Leaves are similar to A13, but wider with variable ruffling. The red streak and lighter veining on the top is there but not as pronounced. I still love the leaves. They have Montana II's wideness. Size is a clear standard. (Average Optimara size.)

Blooms vary from singles to having one or two folded center petals. An ideal bloom looks something like this.

A3 (unnamed right now) is a potential, but I haven't seen it bloom enough to make a judgement. It's got nice wide leaves, but it is another pink. So far A12 beats it as the better blooming pink of the batch.

A10 (solid white) isn't a consideration. I keep it because it is a solid white, but it seems fussy (it dies back too severly if it dries out. It grumbles if over watered.) and I've had to restart it a number of times. It's proven to recover from crown rot at least once if I take leaves from it (and survive even if I plant those leaves in the same pot). It shows some disease resistance, so I'll keep an eye on what the restarts do. I may keep it around until I find another better suitable white violet.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lilac Butterflies

Labeled as "A13" in my first batch of seedlings, this African Violet never ceases to amaze me. It's a heavy bloomer. I counted About 12 or 13 possible buds on one stalk (including two flowers that bloomed, faded and I removed, and one bud I accidentally broke off. I'm not sure if all will open, though it would be amazing if they did. I find it interesting how long the stalks are and how each blossom is spaced far apart from the other. Most African violets I've seen bloom so tight that sometimes not all blossoms can open fully.

It just keeps on blooming and producing new buds.

I love the smaller flowers. I'm not sure why, except it just seems graceful. The graceful stalks and small flowers remind me of a species violet or some of the older varieties. It makes me wonder what Optimara used to in making the parents. Neither of them (Stephanie or Montana) show this trait. Stephanie seems to have a more species like bloom shape. At least that is how I identified it, besides the time I bought it and what violets I remembered being sold with it at the time. (It was sold at a Pick in' Save around winter 1995 or 1996 along with Clementine.) At the time I picked out my African violet, I didn't know what the names meant. The newer version seems to have wider lower petals than the 1995 version, at least based on internet photos I've seen of both.

Long spaced out bloom stalks seems to be recessive to the thick clumping bloom style. I'm not sure about smaller flowers, but I think that may be be recessive too.

I have two of them growing at full standard size. One up in my bedroom and one in the basement. They grow differently, but yet the same.

The stalks on the basement one are shorter.

Note: Veining and curved petal shape.

Side view:

Blooms have a ligher backing. Pale lavender blue with darker blue overlay.. Darker eye.

Plant view:


It lost a lower leaf. I think I knocked it either dusting the plant or when I took everything off and repainted the plant shelf.


To me, the leaves are just as important as the blooms. For my goal to be met, the leaves and blooms of my hybrids need to work together and create an impression. Symmetry is also a must. I don't want to go through extensive time forcing a plant to grow symmetrical. I like to just put it under some fluorescent lights or grow it by a window (turning it ever so often) and have it look like it could be shown just like that. I desire a plant that looks showy when not in bloom. The flowers add to the show. So far "Lilac Butterflies" is meeting those requirements.

I'll need to come up with a description for this violet. More photos of it are visible in my photobucket gallery. Each of my favorites will eventually have their own gallery of images.