New AV from Home Depot

birdsnbloomsJune 9, 2008


We stopped at HD yesterday. Normally I don't look through their AV's, but decided, what the heck..

While browsing, the usual/common for IL AV's were on display..That is, all but one.

I realize there are thousands of AV's, but perhaps one of you (experts, lol) can ID this guy for me. Av is a standard or possibly large. It's in a 4" pot with a no-drainage outer pot that's gotta go.

Leaves: Foliage, top/dark medium green, semi-round shape..Stems and undersides including veins, red/purple. Leaves are approximately 2-3". Some smaller.

Flowers: Flowers are single, (maybe what they call star-shaped?) Outer petals medium to deep purple, (NOT blue, truly purple) midway to bottom of flower/petals white, looks like white paint splashed on lower petals. (not literally, lol) I can't recall what the little thing inside the flower is called, but it's yellow. (maybe stamin or pistal, need to learn the difference between the two.)

This Av has about 50 closed buds, and 6-8 opened and semi-opened..I'm sooo happy I checked; price was only 1.99.

I'm going to try dl'ing pics to computer, which would be much easier ID'ing by sight, than description.

If anyone knows the name, can you please let me know? Thanks, Toni

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Toni, Be sure to keep it isolated from the rest of your violets, and check it really well for bugs. Isolation is one of the ways to keep from bringing home hitchhikers.

ID - anybody's guess. Call it Fred, that is what I name anything I can't identify, and you just love it for what they are....


    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 4:21PM
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Thanks a lot Barbara.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 7:59PM
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Hey, you are welcome, Fred. I seem to remember this from an old thread where a noid got named in your honor.

I think we should have a 'Fred' contest....

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 10:33PM
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Besides, this is better than having a disease named after you, dontcha think?


    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 10:34PM
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Sorry...I've been super busy working outside..and still have so much more...
Fred, huh? What happens when there are several Freds? LOL..
Are they then Fred 1, Fred II, etc?
Or what if an AV is female? Is she called, Fredricka?
Barbara, actually Fred sat in the sink 2 days..Before buying a plant, I inspected for pests. Thoroughly inspect. Thankfully, my AV's never attracted bugs. Ever. Not even fungus gnats. But FG's are attracted to plants with constantly wet soil and air is dry.
Which insect are attracted to AV's?
Well, gonna make a cup of herbal tea and feed birds their last meal of the night.
I hope you guys are enjoying summer. Take care, Toni

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 1:45AM
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Hello Toni---I usually see you on the houseplants forum. Glad to find you here!

Just want to caution you that AVs do indeed get bugs---and the bugs can be difficult to find on them so they can be a source of infection to other plants. Spidermites have been my problem and are almost impossible to find on these plants---you'll just see some center leaves that are slightly mis-shapen. Mealy bugs, both foliar and soil are problems too (I've had both), as well as thrips, cyclamen and broad mites. Most of the time you'll never see the bugs but will see some damage, such as spilled pollen on the petals for thrips, or tight/distorted centers on the plants if they have cyclamen or broad mites.

PLEASE DO isolate your new plants---really, not doing this caused me a nightmare of problems when I was first starting with these plants. However, with some precautions, growing AVs can be a very rewarding and relaxing hobby. :)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 10:21AM
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New to the forum, have been lurking for some time. Actually african violets used to get the best of me. I now realize that is because I did not understand them. So now that I have done all of my research and have quite a few plants, babies, leaves in water, it is all good. Actually the conversation about the name Fred spiked my attention. My name is Fredericka and I consider it a privilege to have a violet named after me. That is a great idea. A quick funny story, Whenever Fred Flintstone dressed up as a woman his name was "Fredericka", I love my history. All of the advice given here is very helpful and it warms my heart to see the pictures of everyone's special children. I unfortunately have no flowers on any of my violets at this time. but believe me they have all received a "good tapping" to wake up the roots and let them know that I expect to see some beauty very soon. I know I am going on and on, but one more thing. I spied some violets at Publix this weekend. They were beautifil and of course I bought one. It is an "Optimara". At home I removed the green florist paper and went to work. I mean the plant had atleast six suckers, and as soon as you pull off the paper, then you can see what the plant really looks like. I worked real good, removed the yucky peat moss mess it came in, removed several suckers and put them down to root. We will see what happens. My thumb is very green and I enjoy growing and propogating dieffenbachias. I have actually taken over my Mom's favorite plants.......Love them Plants.............FEBass

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 10:34AM
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You can ID your Optimara when it blooms by going to their website and comparing the blooms.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 2:02PM
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Hey Shiver,..It's certainly been a long have you been? Where have you been hiding? I stop at House Plant, Citrus and Fragrant Plant forums every so often.
I had no idea you were into AV's, too. How are your Azaleas?
You guys are making me paranoid. LOL. If an AV has mites, wouldn't there be webbs? If it's infested with bugs, how can signs not be seen? I honestly feel deformed leaves, no webbs, no white cottony or brown bumps, no flying insects, no spilled pollen, no fg's. Foliage is healthy..(so far) Now that it's brought to my attention, my poor AV's will be infested tomorrow morning..LOL. Murphy's Law.

Shiver, I usually isolate new plants (all types) a couple days+, even after inspection. Problem is lack of room, Most house plants are outside for summer vacation, so there's plenty of space now, but in winter, every room is wall to wall plants. LOL.
The worse case was the winter of, I think, 2003/4 when I purchased an Olive tree, (from a reputable nursery.) A nursery I had ordered from on several occasions, plants were always healthy and insect-free.
The olive arrived, placed in the front plant room among many other plants including citrus. A few days later, while misting, I spied a group of brown bumps on the Olive tree..Sure enough, it was were branches on neighboring plants. All were immediately isolated. Then I recalled something a woman who owns a Citrus Nursery in Fl once suggested..She uses Fish Emulion as a preventative and insecticide against scale..I followeed her directions, and by day 2 all scale were gone. I think olives are scale magnets though..only one other time, two summers ago, did scale reappear on the olive. Again it was sprayed w/FE, and a day later all died. Since, the olive is scale-free.
I learned a lesson when placing the olive among other plants without first isolating. Certain bugs like Mealy, hide or go dormant until perfect conditions are met, then the little suckers hatch or come out of hiding. They appear when house is dry and stuffy, soil constantly damp. Pehaps there are Plant Guardian Angels, but I've been lucky considering the number of plants I have. Don't get me wrong, every so often, (in winter) mites find a home on certain plants..if you recall, I make a batch of organic insecticide..nothing harmful to humans/pets, but it sure kills mites.
Shiver, do you mind if I ask where you bought the AV's that had bugs??? Is it an online store?
It's wonderful talking and seeing you again. I hope you come around more.

Welcome Fredericka..What a coincidence! We just discussed naming male un-ID'd Av's Fred, and females Frederica. LOL..
I too am new on this forum. In the last 2 wks I've learned a lot about this beautiful plant.
Even though I'm low on the totem pole in AV knowledge, IMO, as for your AV not blooming, make sure it receives adequate light. If your Av is in a soil-less mix, fertilize and water more than you would in a mix with soil.
I discoverd pot size and material make a difference, too. When my AV's were in decorative ceramic containers they stopped blooming..Almost 2 years without flowers. I then potted back to plastic growing pots, bottom-watered (except for an occasional top-watering to leach.) Since then, Av's are in constant bloom. They're in south windows, (very little direct sun) where they were before flowers halted.
Never over-fertilize a plant. Too large a container will prevent (most) flowering plants from flowering. Roots prefer to be tight-fitting.
Flinstone history is quite important..LOL..With gas prices so high we'll soon be driving like old Fred. With our feet.
I hope someone comes along if I've given incorrect advice. I described how I care for my own AV's.
The cheap (nitrogen) Urea doesn't sit right with violets. Read label on the container before using. Fertilize according to directions, (or less) I never use the amount they recommend. Remember, they're out to sell a product, therefore want people to use more. If they say, 1 teas per gallon of water, I use 1/2 teas, etc.
I also use a hormone/50 vitamins called Superthrive..I honestly believe in this stuff..Ebay has the best prices. You can learn more about it at
Good luck, and enjoy your flowers..Toni

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 4:40PM
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A couple months is better to isolate your violets. When I buy a violet I pull it out of the pot right there in the store to check for moving things in the soil or soil mealy bugs. I figure it's my money, I can look it over before I buy, I get strange looks from some people but the employees have never said anything to me. The reason for two months, some people isolate even longer, is there could be insect eggs or the bugs are few and haven't multiplied where they are noticible and or destructive. The easiest to see are the easiest to treat I thrips and foliage mealy bugs. I had soil mealies once and it spread to other plants and killed a lot before I knew what it was and how to treat. I've been lucky with most plants not having any problems, but just in case, I repot and use marithon, and then isolate for a long time. I have a lot of plants now, so I need to be a lot more careful! Glad you are enjoying violets....they are not hard to grow...mostly they need to be repotted out of that peat and have perlite added to a soil mix....the violets should come with instructions on repotting, more people would buy and grow them if they didn't rot them the first month! Take care...enjoy your plants! tish

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 5:15PM
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Hey Toni---I actually come to the GW forums everyday---I just don't post as often as I used to because I have problems with my hands (rheumatoid arthritis). My favorite forums are houseplant and hoya, but I'll always have a special love for AVs. :)

I do understand about not having the room to isolate plants for long periods of time. As my own plant collection has grown above 200, space is hard to come by! Usually my problems arise with spider mites, and I tell you, they do NOT always leave webs on AVs. I've even repotted AVs, inspected them very carefully, and swore that they were bug free---then the next day I go to check on them and lo and behold, there's a spider mite under the leaf! ACK!

Like lilypad I always take AVs out of their pots in the store to check for soil mealies---those are easy to spot. They collect on the insides of the pots in little white fuzzy patches, and they can crawl from pot to pot and infect a lot of plants. Overall though, AVs are not as susceptable to bugs as tropicals, so you needn't be overly worried. Just have fun growing these lovely, beautiful plants!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 1:33PM
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Why not zap each newcomer with a chemical bath to make sure nothing cruises into the collection?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 4:03PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Lucille -

because there will be a really toxic and expensive bath with a combination of pesticide-miticide-fungicide and you need to repeat it three times. The stuff is really expensive, we are talking about hundreds.

Usually store plants come only with thrips - and disbudding helps. Disbudding is a very good practice - you get rid of the passengers and help the plant to adjust to your house. Second is to repot - so if you find soil mealies - you can cut the crown off, wash and reroot - or just send everything to the trash if it is not something you really want to work to save. Third - you keep your new one in another room - until you are comfortable - that it is looking healthy for a month or better 3.

So - physical methods - washing, isolation, disbudding, repotting - do not harm you, your plant, your kids and pets and cost close to nothing - and that's why they are preferrable to the chemical warfare.

Good luck


    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 1:03PM
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korina(9b, Sunset 17)

If space is at a premium (when isn't it?), you can isolate your new plants in a baggie. Baggies are wonderful. You just have to make sure the plant is barely damp, and keep an eye out for too much condensation.

Korina (I loves me teh baggies)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 4:50PM
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Hey guys,...Sorry I haven't posted..Fri is big house cleaning day and Sat we shop..We've had major storms to boot. There's a 20-25' tree branch out knocked down several plants..what a disaster. I don't know if there's such a thing as a mini tornado, but it sure seems we had one.

Tish..In summer, since most plants are outside, isolating isn't a problem, if we have a whole 3 months of moderate temps..Every space is filled once autumn approaches. Though we have a house, it's small. Still, I manage to fit, well, probably closing in on 400 plants, (not AV's) inside, including small trees. I don't and can't use chemicals. I once had a bad experience with a Gardenia tree (kept outside) in shade..Followed directions to a T, the next day the plant died. Since then I vowed never to use chemical insecticides.
But the main reason is we have birds..If a bird happened to land on a plant, even if he/she didnt eat from the plant, posions absorb through their pores. I love my plants, but also love my birds. We lost a bird before while my husband was using a cleaning product..the bird landed on it, didn't nibble, just landed..the next morning he died. I had no idea this happened till a year or so later..My husband didnt have the nerve to tell me. BTW, the cleaning stuff was nothing really dangerous..don't get me wrong, I wouldnt want it for dinner, but it wasn't like using oven cleaner or buring Teflon (burned Teflon kills birds, so we don't use non-stick pots here either..:))

Shiver, wow, your collection has really grown..LOL..What happened..No forget it, I dont have to ask..I KNOW. It's much too easy finding plants, especially since the internet. I hope your plants are well..Are they outdoors?

Lucy, read what I wrote to Tish please..

Irina, you've made an excellent point..Perhaps using harsh chemicals are done in nurseries where hundreds of plants are sold. Plants are a love and a hobby. I had no idea these chemicals cost so much, which is another reason that'd be out..but even if they cost 5.00 I can't use poisons.

Korina, wish I'd have read your post yesterday before we shopped..I could have picked up freezer baggies..I have small bags but they're way too tiny to fit a plant..
BTW, bought 4 more AV's at the grocery store yesterday..LOL..Toni
Thanks to all...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 7:03PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Toni -

what is poison what is not... If you ingest a cup of table salt - you will shut your liver, turn yellow and you can die.. Clorox is poison, vinegar in hi concentration - too. You can step on the rake and whack yourself real bad ;-OO.
So if you say - I do not use poisons ever - it is not exactly correct.

These guys in nurseries sell tens of thousands of plants- and they do not eradicate bugs, they control them by using much more dangerous chemicals than we do. So - you bring their plant home- and something they didn't kill to death - is popping out und takes over. You do not burn the house every time it happens, more of it - if your collection grows - you do not just throw your hundred plants because you have mites - you spray them in a garage.

So - isolate, isolate , isolate!

Good luck in keeping the bugs at bay.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 12:58PM
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Yeah, the whole poison debate thing has a lot of facets.
I generally don't use a lot of poisons in the outside garden but when the fire ants take over, I spread some of those granules around.

I found out what I think is an interesting tidbit today: There has been a nationwide mealworm shortage for a few weeks now (mealworms are used to feed bluebirds, turtles, geckos, etc.)
On a board I read that the mealworm feed had genetically altered grain, altered so bugs couldn't eat it. But the guys who fed the mealworms didn't know the grain had been altered and their mealworms (millions of dollars worth) all died.

We select for genetic changes in our violets when we select for color, size, etc. Perhaps someday, the no bug gene will get spliced in.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 1:48PM
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LOL Irini..Well, technically, I guess we all have some type of poisons around the house..But I don't plan on munching a cup of salt, drinking vinager, or slurping Chlorox as a snack..but if the thought of suicide ever came up, you've indicated some fairly good ideas..LOL.

Irina maybe I didn't explain. Truthfully I dont like handling poisons, heck I dont exactly enjoy touching poisonious plants..but it's mainly the birds I have to worry about..They cannot inhale and/or absorb chemicals..You'd be surprised how few chemials I use to clean. Most ppl don't understand birds..they see them fly outside, might even go so far as through a piece of bread out..My birds are tropical, well, their ancestors lived in Australia. A bloody long way, mate.. :)
Birds are very very sensitive. Much more than dogs or cats. A little can do a lot of harm. I've seen it with my own eyes, believe me, and it's very depressing.

I'm sure nurseries use insecticides..this is something we've no control over. Considering the number of insects they must deal with, I dont blame them. They'd be out of business if their plants were bug infested when shipped to customers..I for one wouldnt be happy getting a plant with bugs. Especially mealy. They're the worse.

So, new Av's are all isolated. They're in another room, away from older AV's..I looked at the soil and didnt notice any soil mealy, but realize eggs hide or go dormant or whatever the heck those devils do. But thanks for the warning..
Irina, it's true I'm new to growing AV's, (growing 'big numbers' of them anyway) but just for the record, I started caring for plants/house plants since the 70's, (giving away age here) starting back in my teen years. Believe me, I know about bugs and detest them with a passion.
I mix organics made into sprays which do the job for all bugs except mealy.. But I admit I wouldn't know what to apply on fuzzy leaf plants, like our subject, AV's.
Toss out 100's of plants!! LOL..Don't worry about that..I have trouble discarding a cutting. In all the yrs growing plants, I can honestly say, due to infestation, I'd tossed about 4. I admit, back the late 70's,I had a Croton that had a bad case of the time I had NO idea what mites were..they managed to kill that poor plant..from then I on read and reread plant pest issues. Figured out what bugs dislike which is how I came about my brew..LOL..
But for now, with AV's, it's checking soil, and Isolation. I promise..believe me, I love my plants and don't want to see harm come their way..
Got a new batch yesterday, and oh are they

Thanks for caring, Toni

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:16PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Tony - hi again -

if anybody wants to commit suicide - hopefuly they will get help in time - but drinking Clorax would be a real bad way to go... like committing suicide by fire ants.

To love, understand and keep birds - it is something different - not a lot of people can do it.

Just keep your collection under -(your time for violets per week/15 minutes). Supposedly if you can spend at least 15 min a week per violet - then you achieve the best results.

in old books about growing AVs and gloxinias - you can find recommendations - you got mites - you need to use DDT. This IS serious. I imagine people who grow violets for 40 and more years carry DDT in their livers. I am glad you didn't use DDT on Croton - I think in 70s it was already out, but I remember actually using it outside n the garden in mid 60s.

Good luck


    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 4:00PM
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Hi Irina. Actually, I spend time on plants daily..all seasons.
If someone hasn't the time to take care of a plant, they're better off buynig silk or plastic.
Or, buy one plant, preferably Cactus that needs little care..the only requirement is sun.

I honestly don't recall people using DDT on plants..Actually, the first time reading about insects, (still have the book, lol) was in the 70's. My parents didn't like plants so I wasn't allowed to bring them in the house. I got my first plant after moving away.
There used to be an insecticide called I-Bomb..Does the name ring a bell? I haven't any idea of its ingredients, but one thing I do recall is, the can stated, 'Can be used indoors,' which is what I did..At the time we had two fish tanks, but spraying I-bomb didn't harm the fish so maybe it didn't contain any really toxic chemicals. But who's to say?

DDT is bad news. I knew a family who lived in a house filled w/roaches. The son got hold of DDT, and applied everywhere..At the time his sister was pregnant. When her baby was born, both his hand were deformed..the child had numerous surgeries, from toddler to adulthood. The operations, though semi-successful, will never look or work like normal hands. I doubt this baby was born with defective hands by accident. IMO it was the DDT.
My husband works for the IEPA. I asked him if DDT is still around..he said, it's no longer used in USA, but is in other countries.
Other than chemical fertilizers, I steer clear of insecticides, in or outside. Our neighbors use enough that would kill bugs miles away. I have a reaction when their lawns are treated. Many times I've woken, itching and had trouble breathing..After going outside, I saw the signs on their lawns warning they were treated.

Irina, what year were your 'old' plant books published?
The two books I have from the 70's is Hyponex, 1974 and another called Foliage Plants For Modern Living, which was published in Kalamazoo, MI, again in 1974.
Actually, the books I have aren't the originals..the pages in my originals ripped apart from continuous reading..Got Hyponex on Ebay for 1.00 plus shipping, and the second book from a used bookstore for 1.99..I had other plant books, but they were somehow discared when we painted and cleaned.
Hyponex has no mention of DDT, and the other book doesn't discuss insects, just pictures and care info.

15 mins per plant? Irina, what do you do to your AV's that take so long? LOL. Toni

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 7:20PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Toni -

it is a case - do what I say - do not do what i do. I do not spend much time on my violets - that's why they do not look as good as when I had a small collection,

But between deadheading, grooming, washing the plants, leaching, washing the trays and mats, preparing the fertilizer solution, repotting regularly...

The book I saw DDT recommendation was in a library - I looked through it - and it was from 60s and it was on growing florist gloxinias. Not very many people are growing florist gloxinias now - more are interested in mini sinningias - but they are gorgeous plants - kind of too large for the collectors.

Good luck


    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 8:09PM
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Hi Irina,
Do as I say not as I do..LOLOL

Cleaning is a must, definatly..What do you use trays for? Humidity? I've never actually washed an AV other than every so often placing in the sink and allowing water to seep into soil. Sometimes one will tip over, but I straigten it fast, fearing the leaves will mar..How do you wash your leaves? Please don't tell me you use chemicals..LOL..

I love Glox'es..I had one about 4 bloomed a few times per were purple and white..huge..One time while outside, it fel., I forgot about it so it dried up and died..HD sells Glox's, but they want 15.99..forget it. They are pretty though. And if one can keep them living it's worth the price.
Yes, they are large, though. Toni

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 2:08PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Toni -

I just stick them in a kitchen sink and wash with a kitchen shower with a lukewarm water. They love it. You just need to let them dry before exposing to the light - so let them sit on the table and touch with a Cleanex to absorb water from the center of the crown. It perkes them up, washes the leaves and leaches the soil.

My Granny raised piglets many many years ago - so she said - they gave the piglets a "bath" every day in summer - I guess just splashed them with a bucket of water - they loved it and they grew faster.

About trays - I keep my plants on wicks-mats-trays - and I should wash the whole setup at least once a month - otherwise the mats get dirty and algae starts growing. Plus the accumulation of fertilizer salts.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 9:25PM
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I usually stick a group of AV's in the sink..I just fill sink w/water a few inches, then set plant in water..Many have tipped over but recovered..No injury to leaves. But you're right, they can't go in sun when leaves get wet.

Irina, when you say your granny raised piglets, are you talking about little oink-oinks? LOL..How cute..Or are piglets some type of plant?
If it is little, what were they called, pot-bellied pigs, that's adorable.

Algae grows as fast as weeds..or is it a weed? Not sure about that..Iknow it's a plant which grows.
Hope everyone is doing well..Toni

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 10:35PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Toni - hi -

they were pigs - and Granny's family raised them during the summer when it is a lot of grass and last year potatoes - until the piglet became 200 pounds pig - then she got butchered, salted, smoked and eaten over the winter. Sorry - but it was a survival. Even they were all attached to the next Lizzie the pig- there she went.

Algae is a plant, what we see on our mats is a single cell primitive aquatic plant. Provided light, water and fertilizer - it will multiply like a forest fire.

What we think of a weed- is usually a good plant - but in the wrong place. Like a dandelion on your lawn is a weed - and somewhere in a grassland - it is a rabbit treat.

I read somewhere that most of the oxygen is actually produced not by Amazonian forests - but with the algae in the ocean.

But - you need to get Physan 20 and add to your water - it keeps the algae down.

Good luck


    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 5:48PM
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Howdy, Irina,
LOL a 200lb pot-bellied pig..I've heard about the number of ppl who bought PBP's, only to find out they had the real thing..LOL
Oh Irina, that poor baby..dinner..Time to convert to vegitarisim. LOL Did Lizzy end up on the dinner table? (S)

I'm sure in certain parts of the world, Orchids are weeds. Maybe we can sell Dandi's on Ebay to those who can't grow them in their native land..LOL.
Imagine a dandi growing in a ceramic pot..

It's been a long time since I saw algae. Probably in the 90's when we bred fish. Algae Eaters took care of that.
Do you see algae on plants, Irina??? Toni

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 8:53PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Toni -

I see algae on the soil and on the mats.

Becoming a vegan? I like baby ribs, pork chops and bacon!



    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 1:38PM
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How Irina.
Doesn't finding algae means the soil is too wet? That's something I always 'assumed.' Same with mushrooms growing in the soil..normally when soil is continuously wet, voila, you've got a new plant..LOL.

I'm only kidding about being vegetarian. Although we don't eat as much meat as before, (mainly because of costs) we eat meat..beef, pork, etc. I don't care for seafood other than breaded shrimp and my own home-made salmon patties, but I won't eat a fishy..LOL.
I LOVE eating eggs, a lot..when my cockatiels started laying eggs (babies) after watching them hatch, I didn't want to even think of munching down an egg..It was almost a year before making eggs for
So, nope, I'm not a vegan..I dote on Cracker Barrel's the best. Ground beef and rump roast are my two favorites.
I can't stand the sight of lettuce..yuck..when we have salad, I use cucumbers and tomatoes..NO you see, I'd never make a good vegitarian.
Today we're having stuffed Manicotti. I used a little over 3 lbs of ground'd taste pretty weird w/o meat.
On the other hand, I wouldn't hunt or fish. If we had a farm, our livestock would be Moo and Oink

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 5:30PM
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We can't stop ourselves from buying violets at HD and Lowes can we? I know I prefer the "named" violets but I will still buy a pretty violet there. I honestly don't find them to be any less healthy than the named ones I have ordered from different greenhouses and ebayers though. I think you just have to be on the lookout all the time for bugs and disease. I had mites wipe me out a few years ago and am just getting interested in collecting violets again.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 1:20AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Toni - if you grow on wicks and mats and in 1:1:1 soilless mix - the algae will appear no matter what - on wicks, on mats - and on soil. Physan keeps it at bay - buy not 100%.
I love veggies and I love meat and fish and I just live to eat. But I draw the line on the udder gulash and brains with green peas.

for me - a collection should have some system - it gives you the method to keep the collection from taking over the house and home. SO when I see AV sporting or if I lost the tag - it means I can give it to the friends who just like the blooms. Sometimes I envy the AV collectors in 40-s. They could have all the AVs available at that time and still have some space left...

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 12:55PM
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Hi Harleygal. I feel the same way you do. The problem is, more often than not, stores here sell the exact same AV's. Approximately 8-12 varieties, same color leaves and flowers. No room for duplicates, you know? Heck, I don't know where plants will go come autumn when outside-summering plants come indoors..LOL.
If I see an AV sold at Home Depot, (no Lowe's around) Walmart, or grocery store/s, an AV I don't have, it ends up in our cart.
Every so often the stores sell mini AV's. They're potted in 1" clay pots and wrapped in a plastic baggie, top opened. Do they sell in all stores, in other states???
Av's sold in local stores aren't named..If there is a tag it reads, African Violet. I have no idea of their type, even if in flower, still if it's pretty/different, home it comes.
I'm wondering if the company that ships AV's, both standard & mini are shipped all over US..Does anyone know?
They sell a variety of mini plants in these little, clay pots..Daisy, Azalea, Kalanchoe and Av's.
So HG, if you're interested in collecting AV's again, start with store-bought plants..perhaps while they're in flower you can snap a pic, post and someone here will ID it. The ppl on this forum know what they're doing, know their plants, so it's probable someone will come up with a name.
I'm baffled hearing the number of people who find mites on AV's..Unless my eye sight is poorer than I already think, of all plants I've never seen any insect on an Av.
Good-luck starting a collection, HG.

Hi Irina..How ya doing today?
What is a 1-1-1 soiless mix? Please explain what you're using.
I don't use mats, but for some plants, like Calatheas, 'high-humidity plants,' I set pebbles in a tray, add water, and set plant atop pebbles. Actually, several AV's are grown on pebbles too.
Trays are more economical than buying mats, (for me) I believe in saving everything..okay, I'm a pack rat. LOL. Jerry Baker, author of various plant books, got me hooked discussing the importance of saving old containers, etc. It all comes in handy. Every so often we have frozen dinners. Stouffer's has a perfect size, plastic tray..Wash, add pebbles, and voila, you have a generic version mat..LOL.
Irina, I've never even heard of eating 'udder gulash, let alone brains with peas..YUCK. Hell, brains with anything sounds gross.
Irina, may I ask where you're from? Were you born in CO?
My MIL was from the south..TN. She ate all types of, well, what I consider weird foods..LOL. Not that I dislike southern cooking, most is fantastic. She taught me how to prepare several dishes I'd never heard of. But when it comes to brains, NO way..MY dh just said, she once made pig brains and eggs..LOL..I'd have skipped breakfast for sure.
The price and quality of meat had really gone downhill. I won't buy meat at Jewel/Alberson's anymore. I don't know if you guys have Jewel Foods, (known as Alberson's in other states,)or if they're in CO.
Jewel is the grocery store that sells plants, including standard and mini AV's. I bought 4 in May for 2.00 each..I believe they're standards. Beautiful flowers, deep purple w/white centers, white edges with deep purple centers, and the same in pink and white.
But, we all have different tastes'd be a boring world if everyone liked the same foods, clothing, etc.
I wish everyone has a great wkend..Toni

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 4:00PM
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I like the pebble tray idea, it sounds like if you get some pretty pebbles it could actually turn out to be a beautiful way to water.

What do people us to either prevent or cure mites if their plants do get them? I've got some miticide in the garage somewhere, but maybe AVs need something different?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 4:35PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Toni, Lucille -

I would really like you to look at the - at the articles on watering, wicking, soil etc. This wonderful lady put so much useful stuff with pics on her site. She is gone to the Violet Heaven above...

Pretty pebbles sound pretty - but it will be hard to wash the fertilizer and other salts off them after a couple of months of use. So - just gravel will be better - less dirt seen. Hmmm... I would think if you use Oyama pots for the violets - and distilled water for the tray - it can be done with pretty pebbles.

I keep mine on wicks and mats on the eggcrated trays - and the mats - are the leftover fleece cuts from Walmart fabrics department. Very cheerful ;-D.

Toni - about udder gulash - I am not a local talent, I was born in Siberia. When I was in college - they sold cantine coupons for the needy students for the "complex" lunches - which included soup, some kind of very economical meat dish and a compote - which is dry apples and a bit of other fruit boiled in water and sweetened. Mostly water. I could take liver and kidneys - but not udder gulash - I couldn't even eat there because of the this hot sour milk smell - this was really bad. Never tried brains and it is not on my list too.

My grocery places are King Soopers - Costco.

Have fun, do some repotting ;-)) on weekend


    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 6:25PM
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A lovely site, thank you, Irina.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 7:06PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

About mites and their prevention.

You bring new plants - keep them in another room - better up to 3 months - if they look sickly - toss them.

Mites are expensive to get rid and no way to prevent except - isolation. Some stuff that helps against the spider mites - common rose problem - doesn't help against cyclamen mites - the AV pests.

Really - the plant you got in Walmart for about $2 - and a bottle of a miticide Avid $100. That's a lot of violets you can buy for $100.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 7:18PM
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Hi Lucille..normally, I buy tiny pebbles..40lb bags at HD..but some stores, like dollar stores, sell the pretties, shiniest stones around, for 1.00..(S)
Last night we stopped at HD..they had the same exact stones as the dollar store..only difference was price. 7.99 for the same size bag. Ironic..
Larger stones work, but smaller pebbles hold plant pots in positiion without slipping and sliding. For decorative purposes, shiny stones look much nicer.

Hi Irina. Since you use mats, there's no reason for trays. Mats are much nicer but as long as something works, that's all that matters.
I guess if you use shiny pebbles on a plant that's fertilized every watering, salt buildup may discolor the stone, otherwise I don't have any problems.
You poor thing..going to school, looking foreward to lunch..NOT. LOL. Every country has their own speciality, some good, some not. The stuff you mention are in the latter catagory..I'd live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
The fruit dish sounds okay. I've never heard of boiled apples though..there's a recepie where an apple is cored and baked..the inside of the apple is stuffed with raisons, chopped pecans, brown sugar..
Cracker Barrel restaurant has a baked apple w/brown sugar and's very good.
I'll stick with rump roast, home-made gravy, mashed potatoes, veggies, thin noodles and bisquits.
Foods are basicaly an acquired taste. It'd take a lot of 'acquiring' before eating some foods you mentioned. LOL
I've been to RR's before, but will check again..Thanks, Toni

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 1:18AM
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I found a great deal on trays, Toni. Looked on Ebay and there is a guy selling these wonderful heavy duty fiberglass trays from a closed Krispy Kreme donut store 9x26", I got 29 of them for about fifty cents each plus shipping.
You were talking about the pebbles holding the pot in place, do you put the pot on top or sort of squish it down into the pebbles?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 5:39AM
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Hi Lucy..
People come up with the most creative ideas..If Krispy Kreme containers work, that's great, plus saves on recycling.
The pebbles I normally use are about 1/4", semi-round. The outter tray is filled about 1/2"..plant pot sits atop the pebbles, water just beneath top of rocks, so water isn't making contact with bottom of'd drink it up, otherwise, keeping soil too wet.
I'm NO expert growing AV's, I admit it, but it's my belief most plants' soil should dry a tad between watering. (not bog plants) Maybe this is wrong, but so far it's worked for me..You know? We all have our own ways growing plants.
Anyway, shiny stones are bigger..about 2" diameter..they ARE, when a pot sits atop these stones, it tends to slip.
Shiny stones work best as decorative topping, but I don't top soil for several reasons, (especially w/moss) 1. it's a pain testing soils for moisture, and 2. soil may stay too wet which can lead to fungus gnats and other problems..
Lucy, I'm going to check Ebay...what did you look under to find these trays? Toni

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 2:51PM
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Toni, here is the item number, it is listed for $30 but also has a 'best offer' and I offered $15 and they took my offer immediately, I think they have about a gazillion of them: 190228556316 They also had another larger size tray, you can just look under their 'restaurant equipment' in their Ebay store to see if they still have those.
They ship quick too, I'm supposed to be getting mine tomorrow.
According to the shipping weight each one of my trays weighs a little over a pound and that is definitely more substantial than the flimsy WalMart plastic trays, and they are snall enough to go in the dishwasher too.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 4:00PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Toni, Lucille -

For me the best trays are called PermaNest, you cut eggcrate and put the mats on eggcrate - and fill the trays with fertilizer solution. The plants on wicks live off this solution for 10 days.

A friend of mine uses restaurant trays like you found - she fills them with water = and 15 minutes later dumps off the leftovers.

Whatever works best for you


    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 1:38PM
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Lucille, where does the item number on (Ebay) go? In the Search box? When browsing Ebay, I enter the name of the product, well, the plant, LOL, in the Search window.
Did the seller post a pic?
LOL, you sound sooo happy right now..that's great.. I bet you can hardly wait till tomorrow when the mailman comes.
I'll try entering the number in Search on Ebay to see if it works. Thanks.
One more thing. Is it a Buy Now item? You said they were asking 30.00 or best..if it says 30.00 or best, how do you enter a lower price? I've never tried it before.

Irina. There's so many ways to work with plants and/or supplies. I'm still confused how trays work, where the fertilizer and water go when using wicks.
It sounds a lot easier than watering plant by plant, (A lot easier) but most of the time I enjoy working one on one..You know what I mean? By doing so, I've found flowers on plants I didn't know existed, including a group of Gingers growing in a really generic plastic pot w/o drainage, a Croton, and variegated Aloe that's so underpotted roots are growing atop soil line..LOL.
I don't have as many AV's as most of you guys, so I dont consider watering/feeding/Superthriving a chore, it's a hobby, something to keep me busy.
But I am curious what Lucy's trays look like, so I'll have a look-see.
How are you guys doing today? It's really hot and humid. And sunny..a great day to work in the garden, get some sun.
Av's need a drink. I'm debating whether or not to add fertilizer..I'm scared to fert every watering. But according to what I've read here on GW, many ppl fert every watering, or when using wicks, I'm guessing fert is available at all times, right?
For you who use wicks, does that mean the soil stays constantly moist? Does it not dry out?
Have a great day, guys, well, gals..hugs, Toni

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 3:01PM
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Lucy, I found the item..that was easy enough..(S)
When they arrive tomorrow, will you let me know what you think?
I was wondering if you had to order all 24 trays. I don't need anywhere near that amount..Half should do. Toni

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 3:11PM
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I got the trays, I did not remember til I opened the box that I had decided on the smaller 9 x 17 size. I also got my copy of 'Growing to Show' and have looked through it already, it is wonderful and easy to read.
And, yesterday i got the coarse perlite that Fred recommended, so just a few more things and I can set up, I can't wait.
Toni, if you order 24 of the smaller ones that may not be too many. I am thinking of setting up one of my light stands on my desk, and if you have multiple shelves you can fit 5 nine inch trays side by side under a 48 inch light fixture.
The way you do a 'best offer' on Ebay is to click on the 'best offer' and just enter the amount you would like to offer them. they took $15 immediately so it is my thought that they want to get them out of the warehouse.
Also, I negotiated a price break for the shipping, the weight/shipping were not calculated correctly so i got half off on that.
They are not fancy, I actually think the perma nest are a lot prettier, but they are enormously study and can fit in the dishwasher and i like that.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 5:34PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

I think you can find the wick-mate-eggcrate- permanest tray contraption on - it is easy - the edge of the mat is dipping into the fert solution - so the mat is moist all the time - and yes - the soil is always moist - that's why we need to have very light soil and that's why we need to repot every 6 months - wet peat deteriorates faster.

You ladies think you will keep the amount of AVs under control... They have the tendency to mulltiply and bring friends - and in no time the collector bug bites...

Have fun


    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 7:15PM
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Irina, may I ask about the peat please, why not leave the peat out and use chunk coir or similar that doesn't break down as fast?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 8:03PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Lucille -

you can grow them in pure perlite, vermiculite or expanded clay pellets - hydroton or leca - this method is called semi-hydro.

Anything organic in a presence of water breaks. Peat breaks, coir breaks too. Peat breaks getting acid because of the humic acid, coir breaks creating phenols - which are worse.

Non organic gets tired too - fertilzer salts, salts from our tap water acculmulate and start affecting roots.

We do not want to wear the same socks for a year, don't we?

The plants in a wild do not move to the new location - but rain takes care of the leaching of the soil. And they never look as good as your home babies.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 12:27PM
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Irina, thank you for your answer.
I had to laugh, though. When my boys were young if they could have gotten away with just wearing the same socks for a year they would have done it in a heartbeat. And never picked up their rooms.
I pray the good Lord sends them lots of children when they finally marry.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 4:50PM
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Good Day, ladies,
Lucille, I'm so happy you got your trays and book. Great news. You'll be busy for some time playing with your new toys and book.
You're saying the trays come in different sizes? When viewing the site I only saw one size, but didn't have time to read all the info either, so probably missed it.
I was shocked by their shipping costs. 30 something dollars..Yikes. How did you talk them down? LOL..I'm wondering if 30.00 is actual shipping costs or they include handling like so many other sellers are doing.
How did you determine the right size? How many plants fit on each tray? Do they fit according to pot size.
I think you said you bought 29 trays..How many AV's fit on each tray, and what size pots are your AV's in?
You also mentioned these trays are thicker than those sold at Walmart. Are the trays you're referring to used for sowing seeds? The type Peat Pellets or Jiffy Pots are set in?
If that's the case, I've got several. Before getting a gh, I used to sow annuals seed every winter/spring. Still have most of the trays. I agree, they are lightweight, so I double or tripple..
You've given me an idea though, Lucy..thank so much. I use two trays for a Coffee tree, a couple small Hibisucs, Azalea, and Ming Aralia. Since I have extras, I'll see how they work with AV's.
Each tray would probably hold, 12, 4" pots. The minimum, 9 pots.
I don't have an extra shelf to set AV's, they have to sit atop 3 single shelves in the LR windows.
One shelf w/lighting isn't sufficent for AV's, so in winter, I place lower light plants or plants in dormancy.
I'm really happy you got your goodies..I wish you'd take a pic of AV's on a tray to give me an idea what it looks like.
BTW, I was reading your Bio..You have parrots? Do you mind if I ask their types? birds are the best.
Anyway, thanks for the help..

Irina, it's too late..I've already contracted the AV bug..LOL..I'm planning on getting a Tiger, but waiting till cc statement is PIF. LOL.
I also want to order the two books, Growing AV's and Growing to Show, but that too will have to wait. But I will, definately buy both books.
About soil or soil less mixes, I'm afraid to pot in a completely soil less mix. I've been growing plants in soil so long, to change now is frightening..LOL. Don't get me wrong, my mix contains non-soil mediums like Perlite/Peat/Vermiculte/sand, but I still add soil, too. There are so many experiements I want to try, one is using a completely soil less mix, another is deadheading flowers so nutrients focus on foliage, last, breeding flowers..LOl..Is that what it's called?
In my AV Orthos books, one article details how it's done..It sounds easy enough, but waiting is the thing..How long does it take for an AV seed to germinate? Its' been some time since reading the article. I beleive it was stated AV seeds can take up to a year to germinate..
Also converting soil to completely soil lees would be like starting over. I don't water any plant by schedule. (Fertilizing and ST is planned by date.)
The AV magazine should soon arrive. I'm hoping between GW and the mag will explain AV care from novice to pro. I hope..(S)

How are you girls today? Do you garden outdoors? How about indoor plants? Or dedicatated to AVs alone? Toni

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 4:50PM
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I ordered the trays and when I got the tracking number, looked up the actual postage UPS charged. It was way less than what I paid. I sent the company a courteous note pointing this out and telling them I would be leaving factual negative feedback. Got a shipping refund of about half of what they charged me in about 10 minutes via paypal.
I did end up buying their case of 24 of the smaller trays I think 9 by 17 because these would fit in the standard 18 inch shelf sold at a lot of hardware stores. The trays are way heavier than seed starting trays.
I am back to considering what sort of surface my violets will live on; and I do have an old wire shelf out on the porch but I am waiting for the light stands before making any plans.
My great idea of the lighted china cabinet failed miserably as the temps got way too hot inside the cabinet even when I ventilated it.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 5:04PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

I think china cabinet can wait till winter - and fluorescent lights do not create that much heat - but it seems that the shelves are too close.

Toni - the violets will grow in soil OK - as long it is not heavy. If you think that soil in the bags form the store is soil - read the small print. It is compost, wood chips, peat..
It is not good just to get soil from your yard - you can get nasty nematodes from the outside dirt - I would say if you insist on adding soil - you need to pasterize it - 185F for 2 hours - means stink the house.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 8:17PM
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Haha, winter, that's a good one. Here in Texas we do not have lots of winter, I do not even think I got to wear all my sweaters this year.
The temp inside the cabinet was 90, I think maybe that is not good. I was using a large compact fluorescent fixture because the lights I got for the AVs have not been delivered yet.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 8:46PM
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I don't think a China Cabinet would work either..Does the cabiinet have doors??? AV's could overheat being enclosed.. Plants need air circulation..all plants..that's one reason they do so well outdoors. Fresh Air makes a difference. When air is stuffy, (and dry) this environment invites insects..
In winter, we run 2 humidifers, 2 indoor fountains, I hide little cups filled w/water behind plants, and daily misting. Once a wk, several plants are brought to sink/shower and hosed. (AV's go in the sink.)
Also run a ceiling and rotating fan a few hours per day.
Lucille, did you contact the company first to dispute shipping prices? If not, you should start by contacting them..perhaps they'll (open their heart, yeah right,) and either refund or send more trays for free.
Too many sellers are taking advantage of handling charges.
If the company refuses to resolve the issue, then I'd start by leaving negative feedback on Ebay.
Also, if their company is listed on, leave negative feedback there can explain actual costs of shipping and what you were charged.
Sellers do NOT want negative feedback. Most prefer talking it over with the buyer before negative feedback is left.
If you don't want to answer that's okay, but do you mind revealing how much profit they made? I think it's horrible..but again, check items on Ebay, especially shipping charges. Ppl are selling 3-4" cuttings, and expect 7.99 and up for shipping. That's ridiculous.
Hope you work it out, Lucille. As a buyer, I don't like leaving negative feedback..Out of all the items purchased, 5 or 6 pages, lol, I only left one neg feedback. That was in the 90's, I think. I think all buyers, if possible, should leave feedback on be it Positive, Neutral or Negative.
Good luck, and plese keep us posted.

Irina, I'd never use garden soil..LOL..There was a time I bought Indoor Potting Soil, found centipedes inside..bought an aluminum foil baking pan, and baked the darn stunk the house up, but soil was insect and weed free.
When I mention black soil, I'm talking about House Plant soil, not garden. Actually, house plant soils differ..some types, especially Hyponex, sell a heavy, black, rich soil. In fact, back in the early 80's, Hyponex was the top soil sold here. Later, a few generic brands came out, also heavy..the soil didnt have any bark, Perlite, etc, which is, after reading plant books, how I started mixing my own mixes.
But, Irina, I'd never use outdoor soil on house plants. Sorry if I gave you that impression..But you're right about some of the newer heavy soils..they contain bark, Perlite, etc..and much lighter, though depending on the store, they still sell heavy, black soils..I picked up 2 bags yesterday..1.50 each.
How are you guys? Anything going on this wkend? Toni

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 5:52PM
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You can see in my post they did refund me half the shipping price and I am happy with that.
I leave negative feedback if the person has earned it though, I feel like I am doing a service for the next buyer who comes along. In this case when they aplogized and sent a refund I would leave good feedback because of the response and that they communicated and fixed it right away.
I am waiting on the vermiculite and then I can report some of the new AVs and put them on shelves of some sort.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 6:32PM
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Okay Lucille, I see..that's good they adjusted the shipping cost..
I misread what you wrote..I thought you meant, they promised X price then after you paid, it was increased to the number written on Ebay next to shipping.

Are you having problems finding Vermiculite too? What's going on? I finally found a 1 bag at an Ace Hardware in the strip where my doctor is located..LOL.
I'm still debating whether or not to repot AV's, especially those in square pots..I prefer round.
Yesterday while shopping at our grocery store, they had house plants in 3" pots for 1.00. Well, how can I pass that up? bought 2 Syngoniums, (different colors/types) that will be repotted together. Another Coffee Tree..My other is a bush, so I want to grow this upright, so when/if it's older it'll be tree-shaped. And last a Dracaena Florida Beauty w/variegated foliage.
In the meantime, I'm procratinating repotting AV's..too worried about pot size for one thing..oh well, we'll see..
Have a great wkend..Toni

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 8:44PM
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