watering my AV

gardenbear1(6 Ma.)June 12, 2014

I'm new to growing AV I have 2 that came from lowes and there flowering and seem to be happy in a south window, They are in the same room I grow orchids in with 60% /70% humility the temp is around 80 day time and 70 night time, I'm not sure about watering them, I water from the bottom and never let them sit in water after 1/2 hour, I'm not sure about what to feed them or how much, there a lot I need to learn about how to care for them, I find them to be a cool little plant.
Thanks for any and all help you can give me.


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A south window may be too hot, you want bright light, not sun.

Eighty degrees may be too warm; most growers try for around 70 max.

When you water, water thoroughly and then let dry to moist before watering again. Over-watering is the number one killer of AV's, so go easy.

This forum has many knowledgeable growers. If you have a question, this is a good place for info. Also, I've included a site that is a great source of growing info.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:15PM
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gardenbear1(6 Ma.)

Linda Thanks for the info, I guess I should have said the the south window is shaded by a large tree so they don't get direct sun on them, I was thinking it would be ok for them because I have some orchids growing in the same windows that need bright light but no direct sun.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:32PM
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There is at least one really fine AV club in the Bay State. I'll bet you would really enjoy going to their meetings. When I lived in MA, plants gave me great joy. If you can grow orchids in MA, you can grow anything! Plus, you've got a lot of the great hybridizers nearby in NJ and NY you can visit in person. Welcome and enjoy browsing this Forum.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 11:26PM
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How are they doing? If they seem happy, you are probably doing things right. I know that some growers use orchid food for the african violets so you may be all set.

If the window seems too bright, you can hang a thin curtain over it, but the tree may well shade it enough. It is in another thread, but I just burned my plants (east window). I hadn't realized how much shade a cherry tree had given that side of the house. We'd cut it last year. It all depends on the angle of the sun too. I just put some solar film on the one window in there in addition to the curtains I'd always used.

Bottom watering is fine, but most people will "flush" them by watering with plain water about once a month to get rid of excess fertilizer.

Lowe's violets are usually great plants to play with. They are often Optimaras. My DD says they have nice orchids on sale too (I don't think she ever gets them to bloom though).



    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:01AM
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gardenbear1(6 Ma.)

Diana, The first one I got was off the discount and it had no blooms on it and was sitting in water, I let it dry out a little before watering, it now has blooms on it and a few new buds, the second one was in the sitting in water too,but I,m going to wait a few days before watering it with any luck it will bloom and grow to be a nice looking plant. I hope to learn enough to keep them happy and blooming for a long time. I think they should do good in the south window with my orchids that need bright light but no direct sun.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:25AM
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Vikki(7b / 8)

ACK! I can't count the number of times I've gone to Lowes or HD and poured the water out of them. Optimara ships them in those plastic bags so the water has no where to go. I walk away leaving muddy puddles of water behind, which I'm sure they don't appreciate having to clean up, but hopefully I've saved a few from drowning that way. Funny thing is that I see other plants there wilting from not being watered! Maybe I should start bringing a little scissors with me and snip holes in the bottom of the bags so they can drain :)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:44AM
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My Lowe's mostly subscribes to the "drowned 'em" method too. They aren't in bags though.

They must have had an exceptionally nice shipment last fall because when I got there (always late) there were still two Ever somethings that didn't look bad and several 4" ones left but everything was sitting in puddles and I think it was about Nov. I generally repot them right away and get them out of that peat.

I have discovered that Bounty paper towels will absorb a good bit of overwatering, no matter who does it :) (Probably any good paper towel will work.)


    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 11:23AM
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gardenbear1(6 Ma.)

Question on the colors of the leaves, I now have 4 av 3 have red on the bottom side of the leaves and one is green on the bottom whats the difference ?
Thanks again for helping me learn


    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 8:53PM
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They are just different varieties. It is generally the darker foliage that will have what is called the "red reverse" and the lighter green foliage will have green or "silver" reverse.

It's helpful sometimes in telling what Optimara you have. Sometimes an young plant doesn't show the red reverse until it gets a little older. (I'm waiting for my Nook to charge - taking forever.)

Arctic Frost, for instance, has a silver reverse. However when it birthmarked and sported to a solid blue blossom with darker leaves, they have a red reverse. I think this is the same plant Lyon's calls "Evening Splendor."


    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 10:03PM
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Just the variety of plant,

They can come in many different varieties, styles, shapes and sizes! (including foliage and blooms)

here's a link to different kinds of foliage


and as far as I have learned plants may change over time as they mature or depending on your climate/growing conditions

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 10:06PM
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Unless you painted them ;-p it's genetics.
you aren't asking if something's wrong when you see a violet with pink blossoms. right? same idea.

there are many variations on violet leaves. they usually look about the same if you get them at a store, but when they 'grow up', they develop character. some have red backs, some green, some have serrated edges, some plain, etc, and in all combinations.
Some turn more red if they have more light, or as they age.

sometimes you'll even come across a phenomenon called 'birthmarking' - that's when the gene for red backed leaves randomly decides to make an appearance, leaving red splotches here and there. This can even affect the bloom color, so if you see it happening, you're supposed to pick a 'clean' leaf and start the plant over. though, i find it rather fascinating :-)

then there's also variegation, which comes in many different variations...

and if you really want to boggle your brains, look up leaf chimeras ;-)


Here is a link that might be useful: different leaf types

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 10:14PM
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gardenbear1(6 Ma.)

Anon-Cdn,Thanks for the link, I guess I have alot to learn so I will be asking lots of question, the ones I have now are noid from Lowe's
Diana, once I learn a little more I'll buy some named ones.
Thanks again for the help

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 10:16PM
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Generally (very generally), darker blooms accompany darker foliage with darker backs. Lighter bloomed plants have lighter foliage with light backs. Again, as with everything in the plant world, this is a general genetic trait.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 12:41AM
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I certainly didn't look at everything but a couple of pink variegated ones have red reverses and so do a couple of light blue ones. Harbor Blue does and I know O. Manitoba does.

I guess it depends on your definition of "light." I think light pink blossoms are light (Dominique). Some pink ones have light reverses, as does Fantasy Girl which is described as lavender with blue or purple fantasy. It's not especially light and I was going to say purple. The reverse is very light on it.

Now my small selection of white ones do not have red reverses so if you limit "light" to white, that may be true. It might even hold for blue and white as long as they're stable. Definitely genetic though.

Let us know what the red reverses are!


    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 9:06AM
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