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.

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