May I see your African Violet displays?

OakleyFebruary 16, 2010

I've been to the Gallery side and saw some beautiful plants but they were all close-up pictures.

I consider growing plants to be part of decorating too. I would love to see how you have your plants arranged in your home, whether in a grouping, on a windowsill, under lights, or sitting on a table by itself.

I need ideas once I get my babies growing so I can display them.

Thanks in advance!

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Sorry to say that I have no plants that I can use to show how they are displayed. I keep all my plants on plant stands under flourescent lights. At this time of the year they are all disbudded and growing for show in May.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 1:17PM
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minimac(6 So In. Louisville Ky)

Funny Oakley! While you are waiting for people to post here is a link you can read from Garden Web. LOL.

A lot of us are collectors. And like you have all ready stated, finding windows with the proper exposure, and the fact that sometimes sheers just don't look right hanging from our windows in certain rooms, and then there's the fact that we'd run out of space on our windowsills! Most of us have bit the bullet and bought shelving with grow lights.

You can always display your violets. There are beautiful rod iron bakers racks and garden flower 'display' tiered tables etc. and lovely pots to set your violets in for display, but lighting is usually the issue.

If and When you bite the bullet here is another link for you. Just copy and paste:

Check out the brown ones. They may be more appealing to you than the aluminum, they also have wood.

I too can't wait to see pictures. Know there are good and imaginative ideas out there.

Here is a link that might be useful: I Hate My Plant Stand

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 1:28PM
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I have a nice baker's rack which isn't being used right now. It's in a very dark (no windows) "sitting room", which is a narrow room between the living and dining rooms. I have seriously thought about getting lights for it and putting my AF's on it. This way it will be on display all day long until I turn the lights off at night.

I think that's a really good idea and I'll check into getting some.

I remember years ago admiring a friends display of her AF's on a tiered shelf with the lights. They were beautiful, especially on cloudy days.

You guys are pro's and I really am thankful for all the advice and patience with me.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 2:10PM
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I think I'm going to go ahead and start looking for the lights online.

The main shelf I'll put my Violets on is 36" W x 20" H. It's 16 1/2" deep, so it's a nice size.

How low should hang the light from the top of the plants, both young and old?

Is there a certain light you can recommend from the above store? I'd really appreciate it so I don't go buy something and have to return it.

Okay, you guys are really getting me addicted now! Fun!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 2:19PM
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Lights should be 12" above the plants. I use a 48" T12 shop light above mine and they love it! They're in a north window so they get almost no light through the tinted panes. Here's a pic of my collection. You can just see the light in the upper left corner. I'm lucky to have such a huge window sill.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 3:22PM
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Sorry to be such a pest. Now I'm really confused. I'm looking at the lights at Indoor Gardening Supplies.
First, I like the way the Economy lights hang but they don't give the measurements! Unless I missed it.

Secondly, read this sentence describing the choice of lights:

"We believe your best choice for results and cost are Wide Spectrum (WS) for blooming and Gro-Lux (GL) for starting seeds and growing."

I'm not going to start seeds, but is there a light for both blooming and growing? And if not, which one should I get?

I want a light that's easy to install, and I also don't know which "color" of bulb to use.

And now I'm reading I should use trays for humidity? lol

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 3:25PM
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I don't see fixture sizes either. Mine was $12 for a 48" shop light at Home Depot. Many people use one cool and one warm fluorescent bulb, or you can use two "grow" bulbs, which have a pink hue.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:03PM
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Ah, I see now. Click on the fixtures individually and it'll tell you the length.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:07PM
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minimac(6 So In. Louisville Ky)

Snappyguy, yes you are lucky to have such a large windowsill and window. What a great place to grow! Three standard plant deep! Does the 1st row, second violet with coral blooms have a name? Like it! Good Growing.

Oakley, Hold on! Not only have you decided to bite that bullet, but me thinks you have been bitten by the AV BUG!

Wait before you buy anything. Do some research. READ that book you just ordered! It will answer your questions. People here will give you advice on lighting, and less expensive shelving to consider. The pros and cons of lighting width. To use T12s, T8, warm,cool. There's a lot to consider before you buy. You can also purchase lights, shelving, timers, etc. at your big box stores (Home Depot, Lowes). Be patient.

I can tell you're having fun. Reminds me of my own enthusiasm just one year ago. Oh well, just go for it!


    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:56PM
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No name on the coral one. It's a NOID from a grocery store from my mother-in-law. About half of them are noids.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 5:08PM
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Snappy, I missed your picture when I last posted, they're beautiful! Below is a picture of my counter.

Mac, I already have the shelving in place, it's the baker's rack I'm not really using in the sitting room. I've got several more plants (larger) on order but they won't get here for a few weeks because of the temperatures, so I really want to get the area ready. And if I should happen upon some in a store, well I'll probably get more. lol.

Plus, I'm so impatient. :) And yes, that AV bug got me GOOD.

I'm also stocking up on regular houseplants again, and right now I have most of them in the utility room which has a long counter & the large south window. Some will go back outside in the Spring, but I need to get a special place ready for the AV's.

Snappy, all you have is a regular fluorescent light? Does that work well for both growing and blooming?

I'll do some research online now because my book won't be here until late next week. But I'd really like to get a light ordered tomorrow. heh heh.

I don't need a timer, I'm a "homemaker" and empty nester, so I can easily turn it on and off myself.

Here's a picture of my utility room. It used to be half of the old living room before we added on a new living room. It's full of plants now.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 6:09PM
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Snappy, I noticed your Violets are in plastic pots. Do you prefer those over others like clay or ceramic? I have both here in storage but I want to make sure I put them in the best pots for growth.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 6:37PM
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Plastic is just all I've ever used. Having never experimented with the others I can't really say which is best. I've had great growth and flowering with the plastic ones.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 7:22PM
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quinnfyre(z7 PA)

I like your utility room. I'm actually quite fond of the floor, of all things. But the whole combination of everything in there is nice.

I don't really decorate with my AVs. They are all in those green plastic pots, on a cheap wooden shelf in front of a south facing window in my room. They are all currently wick watered, which means they are all sitting on top of a reservoir that for most is a clear plastic container from takeout soup. I don't think it is unattractive, but not exactly what I call decor.

I'm more inclined to go utilitarian with my plants. I can't afford to have them in nice pots, nor do I find it easier to grow in them. It's why I've been heading further away from the decorative pots. They look good, but are usually a pain for me. They tend not to fit my shelves very well, unless I downsize my collection a lot. The saucers are usually too shallow, either leading to a big mess, or watering improperly to avoid the big mess. They are heavier than plastic, and usually don't drain as well. I also don't think it would be very easy to wick water in them. I tend to repot and groom my AVs every six months to a year, and it's easier to get the rootball out of the pot when it is flexible. I hate the plant tags that stick out of the soil because inevitably, one of my AV leaves will damage itself on it, so it's nice to be able to write on the side of the pot with marker. I want to like the decorative pots, because, well, they look good. But they don't work for me.

I will try to take a pic of my setup tomorrow or the day after, when there is some daylight.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 8:01PM
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Quinn, you make a good point about using plastic. I have a lot of those on hand and thought about putting my AVs in them. I plan on using my ceramic pots for the other houseplants.

If I end up putting them on the baker's rack under a light, I don't think anyone would notice the pots.

Glad you like my utility room! The floor isn't everyone's cup of tea, but we like it and that's all that matters, right? :)

The link above to another GW topic about decorating, etc., was a real eye-opener for me. I'm definitely not going to invest in any pots for them.

Can't wait to see your pictures!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 7:14AM
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Need some advice, ASAP. :) I need to run to Walmart in the morning. I live in a rural area and going to the store is a chore in itself which is why I buy a lot of things online.

For the time being until I figure out what I really want to do regarding Fluorescent lights, would it be alright to go ahead and get a regular fluorescent shop light, 40 watts?

I've read where a lot of posters buy T-12. What does that mean?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:25AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Oakley -

T- is the thickness of the tube. I would go for T8 34 watt tube fixture. T12's are dying out. T8s give more light per watt. Since they generally give more light - I would hang them at 14" above your plants on a windowsill in a utility room and get a timer. The fixtures are 3 prong plug , and the cord is short - so you will need an extension cord and a contraption that converts 3 prongs into 2 prongs plug - it is 85 cents or something. The timer is about $5 and I plug it in a wall outlet.

I doubt if the baker's rack would work - they need 36" fixtures - which are expensive and hard to get, and the shelves are too close and too narrow. If you have Costco or Sam's club in your area you can get a heavy duty utilty shelving 4 feet wide- for $84 - and you can have 4 shelves, 4 lights and lots of violets on it. It is something for future.



    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 2:02PM
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I would go for T8 34 watt tube fixture

Okay, here's where I'm getting confused. Should I get a single tube fixture that holds one 34 watt tube?

I read where many use 40 watts and some use two tubes, each with 40 watts. That's a huge difference in wattage!

You may be right about the baker's rack, but I do think it's perfect in size.

There are three shelves on it. The top two are narrow but I'll use those for decorative objects.

The main shelf which is wooded is 33W x 16 1/2" Deep. There is 20" of space between that shelf and the narrower one above. Wouldn't that be sufficient for now, at least until I expand if I have some success? lol.

It's a very pretty stand, it used to have our old (huge) microwave on it.

My husband was going to "rig" the fixture for it, I was wanting one that had chains so it would hang from the upper shelf.

Make sure you reply to my first paragraph though, that's where I'm really stumped. :)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 2:16PM
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I use plastic pots for all my AV's because they are easy to clean and are light in weight. Since I grow on two flora carts which 48 inches, it would be too heavy to put a dozen or so ceramic or terra cotta pots on each shelf. This plus the fact that my club exhibits in white pots is anot her reason why I use them. Most of my plants I try to keep in 3 or 4" squat pots.
I have been using 48 inch fixtures with 40 watt flourescent cool white bulbs in them for years now. At one point when I was working I used 40 inch vari-lux bulbs but they are too expensive to buy on a fixed pension. I use the fixtures which have two tubes that are spread apart by 10 or 11 inches. This allows me to have good coverage on each shelf.
Fred IN NJ

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 4:03PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

I used the same fixtures as Fred for years, now I am replacing them as one dies to 2 tube t8 fixture 34 watts a tube.

The bakers rack is an odd size. The only thing you can use - is actually 24". Walmart sells grow sticks - single tube 24" $9.99 a piece - you need to get 2 of them and attach both to a narrow shelf above - may be with some staggering.
Regarding the size - you may be better growing minis and semi-minis there - just remember - that the distance from the top of the mini to tubes should be about 6" - so you need to raise them a bit.

Why I am saying minis - because you can only put to good size standards on it. May be 4 on a small side. Thing is - under lights they grow bigger and they will take over the shelf.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 5:06PM
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Below is an old picture I found of the Baker's rack.

I realize I'll have to do some rigging and the lights may stick out on each side, but for a beginner I think it's a good practice shelf.

Now, if my plants get big and luscious, you bet I'll invest in something more adequate. lol.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 8:14AM
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Here's an older version of my setup. Keep in mind that this was right before I moved out 2 of the shelves for a plant sale (cardboard flats on the top shelf were already packed to go).

I have eggcrate in all of the trays now (except for 2) to do community watering and my lights are on from 6:45 am till 9 pm.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 6:16PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Oakley - you can see - we are all hoarders!

The one exception - is Larry - Minimac gave you a link that show his shelves in a living room. I would say it is a perfect arrangement - you can grow and see your plants at the same time. And Larry refuses to get more plants than he can comfortably grow well and enjoy.

I would say - it is a great addition to the room. I would add a top guards on the shelves- so then you do not see the tubes themselves.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 5:40PM
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how far above AV semi mini and standard tops should a T8 twin tube 4 ft fixture be? here in Canada all we have is the 32W T8s

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 3:44PM
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I have another question. Would a regular, not the grow bulb, ott light be broad spectrum enough for just a few AVs and other gesneriads?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 7:44PM
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I put my plants on racks since I want to keep the max number of plants in a limited space.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 11:35PM
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warpiper(8 Charleston, SC)

Wow, Zukoll, nice picture. Makes me what to grow AV again. :)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 6:19PM
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I'll post a photo of an interesting plant stand I saw at a plant show today . It will be on the Gallery later on tonight. Joanne

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 8:40PM
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Beautiful displays

    Bookmark   January 26, 2015 at 4:53PM
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shallons(Zone 8 OR)

I got 48" hanging utility fixtures and broad spectrum bulbs at Home Depot for about $150 (the bulbs were the expensive part), a timer for $12 and used shelving at a local thrift store for $85. The shelves came without liners - not essential but something I wanted - those were $15 from Amazon. Not the cheapest arrangement, but it works well and is attractive enough for our office.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2015 at 11:16PM
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