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)