Don't Survive~Thrive!

organic_greenjeans(Z 5/6 Eastern Washington)January 11, 2014

Hi everyone, new to this forum & definitely only an amateur AV hobbyist! Probably a genetic issue passed along by my beloved grandmother, which primarily causes me to have an overwhelming need to play in the dirt, inside or out!

After moving to a new apartment last fall with very limited light source & which has proven to be brutally cold this winter, I was afraid 'the ladies' were doomed.

Here's one who not only has survived, but is actually thriving in her new environment. She's also in desperate need of repotting (she continually grows out a long stem which I continue to repot deeply every couple years) that I couldn't get to last fall.

I was so pleased with her that I wanted to share her tenacity with you all! Happy Gardening, GreenJeans

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zackey(GA 8b)

Your plant sure looks healthy! Mine have to live on a north window. They are blooming like crazy, but they have a few brown spots from being too close to the window. Sorry no pictures at this time. Computer is messed up. I can't post pictures now.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 8:10PM
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zackey(GA 8b)

Your plant sure looks healthy! Mine have to live on a north window. They are blooming like crazy, but they have a few brown spots from being too close to the window. Sorry no pictures at this time. Computer is messed up. I can't post pictures now.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 8:14PM
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Hi greenjeans!

It's good to hear your plants are doing well!
If you read through the forum, you'll find many topics on how to provide your plants with the best possible growing conditions. just make sure you adhere to the first golden rule "don't fix it if it isn't broken" - meaning, feel free to experiment, but don't go changing all your plants over to 'whatevernewfancyidea' all at once. From what I see, you have a growing plant with blossoms - that's more than I achieved up until a few months ago, so you're probably not in need of any major changes - maybe just a little fine-tuning :-)
If you find yourself running out of space near your windows, you may want to look into a shelf & light setup - there are a few threads on artificial lighting kicking around, as well as one with photos of other people's growing areas...

Have fun reading!


    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 11:24PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Good looking Optimara Cora!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 10:34PM
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organic_greenjeans(Z 5/6 Eastern Washington)

irina_co, thank you for posting the name of this charmer; I'd lost the tag in the move! I uploaded 3 others to my Flickr account whose tags also went missing, if you've ever the time perhaps you'd know who they are too? I'm tellin' you, this was the wildest move I've ever made & the slowest 'nesting in' afterwards as well.

Karin, thank you for the lovely welcome & helpful tips! I lost the large north facing window in my new apt., which had been designated for 'the ladies', to the cold; had to break down & put up insulated, read darkening, draperies for the duration. Eventually we'll get it back, so am holding off on lighting arrangements as long as we can hold our own. So far, so good!

Here is a link that might be useful: GreenJeansGardens

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 2:38AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

GJ - to my regret there are not very many AV you can identify without doubt. Too many lookalikes. Rhapsodie Cora is one these distinct ones. Keep your records -if you ordered them from somewhere - keep the order in your archives. I give up on the rest of them.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 1:00PM
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Hi There, Jean
If you go to the Holtkamp website and click on the section where it lists Identifying Varieties, page will come up with all the current and recent past Optimara violets where you might find your violets. The lavender pink one with the darker edge in the second row of your photo album is most likely Michele. It is being widely grown and distributed by Optimara in my area this year.The first one in your album is quite striking and unusual. Perhaps you will find it on that website I mentioned. As for the second shown violet, the pink one, Optimara has so many pinks in that color, with only subtle differences, that it would be hard to say for sure without reading all the details on their website for each description. That color of pink is also popular this year and is widely distributed. As for the double that looks two-tone, again, refer to their website. I got one recently that is similar that is called Loretta. However, they have discontinued it, but local growers might still have it. There are also others similar to it. As Irina said, Cora is distinctive, and lovely, so it is easier to identify. Same with Michelle. If your fluffy two-tone double petal is a slightly more pink color than shows on the monitor, then it might be Loretta. However, sometimes Optimara violets bloom with slight color variations. Although the experts on this forum would advise against naming a violet, especially if giving it away to a club member, Optimara does seem ok with people trying to make an educated guess by looking at their website. But they are always updating their offerings, and tinkering with the genetics of what they offer. Seems especially with the two-tones and those with an eye or a star like your first one, which is stunning. I have both Cora and Michele, they are consistent bloomers and very sturdy plants. I bought them directly from Optimara's mail order division called Selective Gardener. They came labelled, so I know for sure what they are. When I later found them in local garden centers, I knew it was the same plant. I also got the Loretta from them directly, as well as a few others that are named and labelled. I was advised at the time which ones would be discontinued but were still available in limited quantity or leaves, if I wanted to get them. So I ordered a few discontinued leaves that are now making very strong baby plants. If you do go to their identifying page, it will show which ones are still being distributed and which are being discontinued. That will help you identify which pink one it is that you have, if you got it this year. If you got it last year, then it could be one that was discontinued. Now, I am making the assumption that you bought your plants locally. The first one with the eye or star might not be an Optimara, as the leaves have a different "look." Optimara leaves tend to have a certain "look," you may have noticed. Well, I did not intend to get into a discourse on Optimara! Have fun figuring out the puzzle!


    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 10:43PM
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organic_greenjeans(Z 5/6 Eastern Washington)

Joanne, thank you for the discourse! I've bookmarked their site & just spent way too much time over there drooling...oh, that was supposed to say identifying the ladies! Ahem. I have actually identified 2 positively & have hope for another few, so thanks again for sharing!


    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 7:11PM
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You're right, my purple 'fluffy' one and yours do look alike. If I go by the growers (woodhill greenhouses) website it could be optimara Yellowstone (purple) - apparently they have two versions of this one (?)...
Not sure, since the pictures I get on the web show a white edge, which I don't recall it having. I'll have to wait for the next set of blooms to have another look - it is starting a few buds just now...


    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 10:03PM
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Yellowstone is a rare find if you are able to get one!

Jean, As Irina would advise us, do be cautious about bringing in any new plants and isolate them for three months.
The reason is that Optimaras that are offered at local nurseries or garden centers might be carriers for what we call "hitchhikers." Often, these do not show up right away. The new plant might be a "carrier" and not be affected, but the bug can travel quickly to another plant.

However, if you order Optimaras directly from the company, they are less likely to be carriers. However, any new plant --or group of plants -- coming into your collection should be isolated for at least a a few weeks before adding to the general collection. The website for ordering from Holtkamp is linked to their website and is called Selective Gardener. There is a "special" where you can order three full size plants at a reduced price. You can specify the colors and varieties and they will try to fill your request. (You can only order one of each color. For example, you can order one purple, one white, one pink, but not three of each.)
However, the specialty varieties are not in that price range.
You can email them and ask, they are very helpful. The plants they send are large and in bloom.

Many on this forum who have large collections and are serious growers also debud plants as soon as they come into their environments. (I don't, unless I have cause to worry about "hitchhikers," but I am more of a hobbyist.)

Many people on this Forum order their AVs directly from other growers and hybridizers. If you have a chance to browse through some of the older threads, you will see names mentioned that are very popular. A favorite of mine is You can also go to their website and admire the beautiful plants. None of the east coast growers will ship during this frigid spell they are having, so you can make your "wish list" now for the spring. That is only one of many other growers you will learn about if you hang out here.

Part of the fun for me on reading through older posts on this forum and asking advice has been to learn what are the specialties of the various hybridizers and the history of the development of AVs.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 11:52PM
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