Advices from Mrs. Pat Hanckok - "Mother" of Buckeye series
I am lucky to personally know Mrs. Pat Hanckok for a few years (amazing person!) and asked her 10 questions that the members from the Russian and Ukrainian AV websites wanted to hear from Pat. When I met with her the last time (she came to our AV club meeting in Columbus) I gave her a list with questions and she mailed me the answers in a little while. Also, I told her about unusual bloom of "Buckeye Seductress" - with white "polka dots" and she said I WANT TO HAVE A LEAF OF YOUR PLANT. I am flattered! Of course I'll give her a leaf. Here are the pictures of my beautiful "Seductress"
I want to share Pat's advices with you guys. Hope you'll find it interesting and useful. So, here it is.
Me: Pat, my virtual friends in Russia and Ukraine want to know more about you and Buckeyes and I promised to pass you their questions. Your Buckeyes are VERY popular there - I would say everyone has at least one Buckeye because looks like everyone loves variegated leaves.
1 Q. Is there a way to make leaves shiny? I've seen a show in Australia - the leaves look like polished.
Pat - Adding half cup of cow or chicken manure (dehydrated) to 8 gallons of soil mix adds sheen to leaves. Also, brushing with a soft complexion brush is helpful.
2 Q. What is a secret to grow a big plant without space between the leaves with full blooming? Should we let them blooming for the show only to save energy and have a big fat foliage?
Pat - Plants need to be totally disbudded until 8 weeks before the show. Plants should be started with only 3 or 6 leaves. Every 2 or 3 months, remove the 3 leaves on the bottom so that growth goes to the crown.
3 Q. What fertilizers should we use to keep leaf variegation nice and bright? What light is better for Buckeyes?
Pat - I used Jacks 20-20-20. One daylight and one broad spectrum is best. If plants grow too open, place closer to the lights. If they grow too tight, place on outside edge or further away from lights.
4 Q. Are you familiar with Russian or Ukrainian types? Did you ever used any of them for hybridization? What types?
Pat - I love some of the Russian blooms and I have tried to use them but so far have not had success. I would like better foliage on the Russian plants.
5 Q. How many years you keep a new type to be sure it's stabled? How many new types a year do you have? (not my question, but I promised to ask you)
Pat - Usually I have between 5 and 10 new Buckeyes each year. This year, I only have 5. I do at least 3 generations and, sometimes, 5 or 6. Fantasy blossoms are not as stable as other colored blossoms.
6 Q. Do you have your favorite types that you keep forever just for yourself?
Pat - Of course, I love my own plants best because I don�t keep them unless they please me.
7 Q. How to treat a big african violet collection in case of mites or thrips?
Pat - I have never had mites. In the case of thrips, if you cannot control them, you will probably eventually, get INSU and have to throw your collection away.
8 Q. Do you like chimeras? Did you work with it and did you get a result that satisfied you? I've never heard about Buckeye chimera.
Pat - Chimeras are very unstable plants. When I get one, I give it to someone else to play with. I don�t like to fool with unstable plants. A new Buckeye chimera is available from Steve Turner called "Buckeye Irresistible." There is one on the Internet from Belinda T. called "Buckeye Blockbuster."
9 Q. Why you wouldn't use foam instead of perlite?
Pat - Foam tends to release gas that is not good for violets. Large Perlite makes air spaces. Violets need air spaces in the soil.
10 Q. What did I do wrong if after re-potting my plant looks sad and the bottom leaves are soft and hanging?
Pat - Probably kept them too wet after repotting. Try placing them in a plastic bag for a week or two after reporting.