... It started not long after I joined this forum, I tried to nip it in the bud for a while, but finally gave up.
Oh, and I entirely blame you guys for this phenomenon!
This one's got it even worse...
And that blue stuff is totally overtaking my little inca!
Did I mention it had been so long, I didn't even remember what color blossoms they were supposed to have?
Sometimes in life there are things that happen that we just have to learn to accept and maybe even enjoy just a little bit. I think this may be ones of those things for you. I also think you will continue to be plagued by this problem so you should probably just grin and bear it,
And remember, it's happened to all of us.
The warm laugh I needed at the end of a "hairy day" trying to deliver violets to my club ... after a long day of missed connections, I got home, said, "Whew! Mission Accomplished" ... only to discover I had left a bag of carefully wrapped babies at home. Maybe when I bring them next month, they will be sprouting some of that fuzzy blue stuff Karen showed us. Right now, they are bald babies.
I'm afraid we have lured Karin into a lifetime of this... And you're right, Joanne, 'Mission accomplished!" One more into the fold ;)
Yup, you've done it now ;-p
I'll have to take some decent images when they are actually in full bloom :-) but I can't believe how many buds they are throwing up! I should really disbud the little ones, but I am too curious on whether they will bloom true or not....
What are the changes you made that caused this?
2. more light
3. repotted with 50-50 av mix (fafard) and perlite (MG)
4. fertilized more regularly
5. watered more regularly
i think overall, the light and more consistent care did the trick, the potting mix just made it easier.
before, they were just on the edge of the shelf, got watered when dry or limp, and fertilized when the bottle poked me in the eye. now they have their own shelf :-) and all other plants get some av food too when watered (trying to use up the schulz, so i can buy urea-free.
Not a big believer in dis-budding but that's just me. Just a thought.
Linda, so you just let them grow as they will?
As I understood, disbudding is supposed to have them put more energy into leaf development. But so far, it actually just seems to promote more flower buds. Whereas removing 'dull' outside leaves resulted in a bunch of new growth... Limited experience here, so I am not sure either is actually true, but I'll still be removing most of the flowers a few days after they've opened up. I'd like my plants to grow to a decent size before letting them do as they please :-)
The exception being to try one or two bloom stalks for propagation - apparently, if you remove the flower buds, it's leaves grow bigger and there is a bigger chance of it rooting and sprouting babies (chimera propagation) - not that I have chimeras, but I'd like to see if it actually works :-)
Interesting discussion. I think it depends on the AVs, and I think someone on one of the recent threads said that.
If I understand correctly, you had determined that most of your plants are either Optimaras or Anthoflores, correct?
If they are Optimaras, the grooming and shaping of them might be very difficult because they often do not grow that way naturally, and if you try to shape them by removing leaves, you will just get suckers. It is not in their genes, at least, not most of them, to form whorls. Some do form whorls, but usually not perfectly symmetrically.
As for Anthoflores, I don't recall their growing habits. Irina can probably help us with that information.
Many hybridized specialty AVs shape themselves naturally into perfect rosette shapes without your (the grower) having to do anything. Until I grew a few of these types of AVs, I did not realize they did this on their own. Then when I began to read the advertising descriptions, I learned that some are bred to grow that way. (I have two of Rob's minis that grow in perfect wheels, for example.)
I know you said it was difficult for you to find hybridizers near you to send away for plants, and also that even if you could find them, in the winter, no one is going to ship. But maybe your club will be able to help with some leaves of some plants that grow in rosette shapes.
I read that a lot of folks on the Forum recommend putting down a leaf of a new plant they ordered in the mail in case anything happens to the plant.
I don't usually do that, again, for fear of disturbing the symmetry and causing a sucker to form.
I saw a You Tube video in which a woman demonstrated that as a way to propagate babies faster than rooting leaves. She removed several leaves from a plant, then showed examples where that had been done and several suckers grew in those places. To my eyes, it resulted in a misshapen-looking plant, however, she was using is as a "factory" to produce new plants, not for "show."
I thought the disbudding was done by folks who were growing to show and were concerned about the foliage being symmetrical. And also to have a full head of bloom at the time of a show.
But for normal hobbyists, letting them flower is fine, or so I thought ....
For myself, the challenge is usually getting the plants to bloom. I have read that removing buds could promote more buds. Sometimes, I will remove all the blooms and put them in a small vase with water if I am going to be away for a few days. They can last quite a while in a vase of water.
I have tried growing from a bloom stalk. I had no success. I have read it is not easy. I am not sure I did it correctly and would probably have to see a demo on a video.
I look forward to hearing from the experts on the Forum.
Joanne, thanks for that lengthy reply!
You make me wonder about my perspective, since I found a few of my optimaras actually do grow quite symmetrically (to my eye), even though with many of them I still need to wait and see. (Ok, there are a few 'sloppy' growing ones, and every once in a while a 'neat' plant will grow a randomly curved leaf). The anthoflores just show a good case of culture break for now - the variegated one is actually growing in nice and compact (it was quite leggy before), with plenty of variegation to show, it also has flower buds again already. I am waiting to remove its older outside leaves until the new ones are at least bigger than the pot it's growing in.
Interesting you should say that about suckering, I noticed it on a couple of plants, but since they were semi-minis I didn't give it a second thought.
My main reason for stopping to disbud before, was that I injured a few centre leaves on one in the process, now I'll have to wait even longer for that plant to look its best.
I'm not actually planning on growing any of my NOIDS for show, but I use them as practise subjects, which I need to feel successful about before getting any of the more delicate varieties. Otherwise it would be akin to giving a bran new car to a driving student ;-)
The local av society seemed a bit guarded, and noone brought in anything to share, except one person who was selling her old pots because she was downsizing.
I'm not sure but I got the impression they had a few people visit and then not come back - I am still on the fence about it too, but I won't find out unless I try again now, will I? ;-p
This post was edited by froeschli on Sun, Jan 26, 14 at 7:58
Hope I did not mis-speak,as some Optimaras DO grow symmetrically!
I guess when I was writing that post, I was looking at some pots of Optimaras in my house that are jumbles of leaves that stick up like a bunch of cowlicks on a little kid's hair -- that could probably never be groomed. They came from the local growers who are licensed by Optimara. So, either the local growers are not "into" grooming the plants they sell, or it is the genetics of the plants.
While others I have of Optimara are in good symmetrical shape and the leaves lie flat. (I gave some of the ones that grew well to my club for their Saturday sale and demo. So far, no one has complained ... )
If you go back to visit the club, do let us know! It sounds like it could be interesting for you to hear some of the old-timers talk about their knowledge of hybridizers, if that sort of thing interests you. (It would interest me now, but at another time in my life, I was not that interested.)
Too bad they seem a bit stand-offish, but that might be because they are not too used to newcomers. However, everyone has to start somewhere with this hobby! The national organization strongly encourages younger people.
I am delighted when I see younger growers like Donna of Fancy Bloomers. Heck, all the famous hybridizers were young once themselves!
My local club expressed they do want to add newer members with new ideas to reinvigorate the club. Some of their older members moved away and started new clubs.
The reason I sought them out (they are not too local to me) is that the person who had a very local club in my city where I live was 92 years and died! I think the club died with her as I never met her and can't find a reference to the club anymore.
Could be that your club needs someone new like yourself!
THEY JUST DON'T KNOW IT YET!!! Wait 'til they find out how witty you are!! Heck, they have to pass along some of their historic information to the next generation!
Don't be put off if they are not into noids or AVs that are not from the special hybridizers.
I WENT THROUGH THAT, TOO!! How was I s'posed to know anything about the hybridizers if someone had not taken me under her wing and told me about them when she saw I had a few AVs on top of my computer in my office cubicle? There were two florists in the subway station and the lobby of my office building that had fresh AVs every week, so I just picked them up to brighten my cubicle. So when the office pal told me about sending away for AVs, I thought that was excessive! She introduced me to the exotic world of AVs by giving me a couple of plants, telling me about clubs, and bringing me her AV magazines and books. Until then, I had no idea this was such an established hobby.
It took me a while to decide how far I wanted to get into this. For many years, I just raised a few plants and read a couple of books, that was it. I guess it depends on how much time and interest you have. I agree with you, it should be light-hearted fun!
Optimaras (and probably anthoflores) are the "gateway drug." We have to start somewhere ...
You just can't tell if you want to actually join a club until you go at least three times. I sound like "an enabler," I'd better stop!
This post was edited by fortyseven on Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 0:53
"But so far, it actually just seems to promote more flower buds."
See that sentence from your post??? You hit the nail on the head!
Plant biology 101---Removal of a plant part will result in the plant trying to replace the lost part as quickly as possible and often in more abundance.
This is the reason that growers who show plants will dis-bud their plants before the show. They will snip the flower peduncle, usually leaving a small stub. The plant will send out two peduncles which can also be snipped resulting in more buds being sent forth. (This is a very basic explanation but you get the gist).
So, stop dis-budding and enjoy your blooms! That plant will shape itself and grow blooms or no blooms. And, as an aside-you're getting good at this. Time to start trusting your instincts.
Wow, Linda, that explains everything! Funny, I was going to ask you what we could read to learn basic information like this!
I used to know that about other plants ... if I removed
buds and "dead-headed," then more buds came.
If a leaf fell off, it would just grow another leaf, usually in the same place, and in the same pattern. But then I read that AVs do not grow in the normal pattern of two leaves at a time, and then four leaves, at a time, and so on.
What threw me off were the two mouse ears that first appear, but those are not true leaves.
Instead, they grow in three leaf patterns, in a triangle, not a square! And if I remove a leaf, it tries to grow a new plant (I did not know they were called suckers).
It has no stem from which leaves grow, instead, it just grows all new plants.
So, AVs did not behave the same as begonias or pansies or other plants I was more familiar with.
You're correct. Usually first leaves do not reflect what a mature leaf will look like. Plants grown from seeds have first leaves that are usually very different. These are called cotyledon leaves and will closely resemble the seed from which they grew because the seed is where they were formed.
I continue to be fascinated by growers who think they must 'do this' and 'do that' so their plants will grow. Plants grow just fine without human intervention. Since we have plucked them from the outdoor world which is their natural habitat, to grow in an artificial environment, we have to provide the necessaries, but after that just get out of their way and let them grow!!!
Linda (Stepping down from my soapbox...)
Well, it can be confusing, to tell you the least. And I find with av's more than other plants, there's a whole world of misinformation out there tha you have to pick through. First, they tell you they're hard to grow. Then they tell you that 'growing for show' is the gold standard and treating your plants like show plants makes them happiest (weird I'd believe that, considering my opinions on show dogs...). Then all the religions of watering....
It's hard to trust your instincts when your brain keeps being told other things.
Funny really, I soak it all up, but then tend to experiment - the main appeal of African violets to me is their variability, and how they do things other plants would shrivel up at...
As for clubs and hybridizers, I am pretty sure the local club is run by two of them (does the name "brownlie" ring any bells?) if they are who I think they are, then they are well worth getting to know :-) and $15 for the year and a bit of time is well worth it.
Ps, Linda, the plant at the top is what my 'little Hopi' looks like now.
I have found through many years of working with all kinds of plants and talking with growers from all corners of the world, less is more.
Any plant is hard to grow if their needs are not met, AV's included. Some needs are more restrictive (orchids come to mind), than others but the basic premise holds true.
Growing for show, be it violets, dogs or veges, is an artificial undertaking. The results are beautiful but not really reality for everyday. Sort of like getting dressed up for prom-beautiful but not really the norm.
You don't have to bottom water, top water, dis-bud, pick out centers, remove leaves, stand on your head and whistle Dixie-just provide the necessaries and then back off. It's working well for you, isn't it?
Aye, after weeding through the myths, fashions & other bs. I've mostly figured it out now... (I think anyways).
My worst enemy is so either trying too hard, or not enough. The AV's are doing great now, so I need to focus back on my other plants - except for the bougainvilleas and gardenia (note: flowering plants) I've been ignoring them a bit too much... Though the cacti enjoyed the respite :-p
You mentioned earlier about soaking up the information and then wanting to experiment. That is the bedrock of plant growth. First, you must get a basic knowledge of plant care and then you play. But you have to have at least the basics to understand why a plant is reacting to your experimenting in the way that it does. Why does a variegated plant have to be used as a seed plant to produce variegated babies? Why does a cross of a white and red flower yield 50% blue flowers? Why does a plant sucker when you remove the crown?
Experimentation is the basis for all plant varieties. Without it we would have the species of our plants but probably little else.
Hi Linda, perhaps the most interesting questions have to do with the colors generated from crosses, as that topic seems to result in the most puzzles people try to figure out. Would like to read about the genetics of color hybridization. Joanne
Here's the site for you. Fascinating stuff!
Here is a link that might be useful: Dr. Jeff Smith/ Hybridizing
Linda, Thank you! Great resource!