maximizing bloom

rjbcrestJune 18, 2009

I have a large number of AV's. Many of them have spectacular blooms, but only for a relatively small time. I alternate dyna-gro (7-9-5) and optimara (14-12-14) and use 1/4 tsp/gal for watering each time. Although the AV's are very nice, they seem to go through the bloom cycle fairly quickly. I am wondering if a violet is blooming nicely would feeding it with plain water prolong the bloom? Or should I put plain water into the cycle and alternate with 1/3 dyna-grow, 1/3 optimara, and water. Would appreciate any suggestions.

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I'm just beginning to work with AVs. They are blooming very well, even after transplanting them. I just give them water one time then the next time an AF food: 8.14.9.
They might be doing well because I live half mile from Pacific Ocean in So. Calif.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 2:57PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Rjb -

what's the temperature of your growing area? Do you keep them under lights? What's the humidity?

In my experience - the major factor is the variety. Some of them hold flowers for long time especially if they have green on them. The worst are droppers. There is a good reason the hybridizers worked hard until they achieved "sticktite" bloom. Old varieties - their flowers lose corolla seems like in a couple of days. Industrial style violets - the ones that you can buy in a big box store - they are selected to bloom in flashes - they need to be covered with bloom when they are sold - and then they rest.

Otherwise - you need a very stable conditions to keep the bloom longer. It should not be too hot or too dry.

Experienced growers advise watering them once a month with clear water or leach them with plain or even distilled water once a month to prevent fertilzer build up. I think the first place you would see a damage from too much fertilizer would be the youngest leaves of the crown - the plant will sweat golden salt crystals on leaves to get rid of surplus rather than on blossoms.
The secondary factors are conditions - the hotter it is the sooner they wilt and I think low humidity will age them too.

There are plants with the flowers that last long time. With a green touch - chimera Yukako, Irish Flirt and I have several of Mark Maas hybrids - The King, Maas' Memories.
Hope Fred from NJ will confirm - he has a collection of Maas hybrids.
Out of minis - I was surprised how good new Pittman's hybrids last.

Happy growing and blooming


    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 4:19PM
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Irina -- thanks for your posting. Very helpful. Do you know of a good book on AVs. What does "wicking" mean?


    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 5:31PM
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Hi Glorie,
I agree for the most part with what Irina has said. I don't agree with the fact that most box store plants bloom in flashes. They may for the first bloom but later on when they become used to your conditions they generally settle down into a normal cycle. I do agree that the conditions set the tone for the bloom cycle. Plants prefer temps much like humans and humidity at about the same level. When it's too hot they wilt and too wet they get powdery mildew. If they dry out too often they tend to sucker more because that is their natural instinct to survive. I also know that plants when potted in too heavy a mix will rot from the root up, so to avoid this I wick water all my plants.
Wicking can be very helpful in growihg your collection. I use a very light mix of 1=1=1 (equal portions of pro mix or canadian peat, coarse vermicultie and coarse perlite. I use a length of acryllic yarn approx 8 inches long as a wick for my standards and break it down into 2 - 2 ply wicks for my minis and semis. I scrub the wicking to remove any sizing and keep it wet when I repot. I put a wick thru a hole in the bottom of my cup or pot and run it across the bottom and up and over the side. I add my plant and mix to the pot and set it into a tray of water for about 10 minutes to saturate the mix and start the wick drawing up liquid. I set the plant on a pint deli container which has two holes in the top, one for the wicking and the other for filling the container. This allows me 7 to 10 days before I have to refill the reservoirs.
Certain plants are more tolerant of neglect wich I know only too well. I also believe that plants from an area grow best in the area where they were hybridized.
They seem to grow best in conditions that are similar to where they were grown initailly. I am s ure that poeple will poo poo this last statement but for me it works which is why i am successful in growing Maas' hybrids here in NJ. As for a good book I always recommend "Growing to Show" by Pauline Bartholomew. It covers growing very nicely and even gives tells you how to disbud for maximum bloomcount. It's available thru AVSA.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 6:26PM
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