Super discouraged :c

KeOsikaJuly 27, 2014

Back again! I'd posted a bit ago about being really frustrated with my violets and I wanted to give an update on that situation.

They were doing GREAT when I had them in plastic bags, and by suggestion of the community, I cracked the bags every week to help get them out of the bags. 4 weeks of cracking the back open later..... they look.... eh.

I've attached a picture. No matter what I try they just look so.... sickly. I'm so discouraged. I love AV's and I want to be good at raising them but they just look so awful all the time. Even when I start with a healthy one from a nursery, they always die.

I always let their water sit out for 24 hours to remove chlorine. It's the best I can do on that front, unfortunately. I keep them in a sunny spot away from window drafts and only 1 or 2 have pots bigger than them. I assumed those would not do well but I had no other choice. I'm spending the summer at my mom's house and she never has bottles, cups or cans for me to make pots out of.

I bought them MiracleGro for AV's to solve the soil problem, which I recently found out is mostly peat moss so maybe that's my problem? I repotted them before they went in their bags a few weeks ago so I'm REALLY nervous about repotting them AGAIN if I want to add more to the soil again... Is it ok to repot them again so soon in order to lighten the soil? or is my soil ok?

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Also I always have people tell me to find a club or group or something, so I just want to clear up for you now that not only do I not know of any near me, but I'm also limited on travel so it's best I just not look into it. Thank you for your suggestions though.

PS: To clarify in the photo, the two biggest pots are 2 pieces; the disk shape at the top of the pots in the inner piece, which rests inside the outer piece, so they water from the bottom. I water all of them form the bottom and I don't fertilize because I know the MiracleGro has it already. I also don't know why the one on the far left has such long stalks.

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Your violets don't look that bad to me! Young plants are often gangly, just like teen-agers. You must wait until they mature a bit and take their true form. Your petioles on the left plant may be from not enough light but I think, again, they just may be young.

Your violets are WAY over-potted. If you do not have pots handy, get solo bathroom cups from the grocery and use them.

Your MG should be cut with perlite and vermiculite in equal parts. It is too heavy to use on its own. MG is mostly peat but most of us use peat with the perlite and vermiculite in equal parts. I would check and make sure your violets are getting wet when you water. Peat is very difficult to get wet; wetting before potting up is a good practice. You do not need to top or bottom water. It really makes no difference although setting your violets in water may help wet the peat. Remove in a half-hour or so.

I do not let my water sit to remove chlorine and my violets show no ill effects.

I would address the potting and soil issue first and I think that will greatly improve your violets. When plants do not do well, soil is the first thing to check.

Let us know how it goes!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 12:59PM
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Ke, want to see some gangly, ugly plants? Here you go:

Those are some rooting suckers and my nursery violets, a bit crammed, but growing. A few for too much water, others too much light...
There is one, that I know isn't doing well, and that was because it was grown from a leaf off a dying plant. I is too small, too dark, and suckerin like it is thinking about being a trailer. The others are just developing.

Yes, no show plants here (and I am not planning on growing for show), but they will come into their own with time...

This one had no centre leaves until a few weeks ago:

So don't give up hope. They are alive and growing, minor adjustments will have them thriving ;-)


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 2:37PM
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i agree, they look ok - but they are very young. it takes them a long time to get to 'shop-size', which is still very young.
you'll need another 3 months at least.
all yours are still smooth juvie leaves.
you'll know the growth rate will pick up when you see 'wrinkled' leaves like in the last pic.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 6:06PM
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As others have said, you can make pots from plastic drink glasses that are sold at Walmart, Dollar stores or other such stores. The 3 oz. size is the same as a "bathroom" cup and the 5 oz. is a little bigger. You just need to cut or poke holes in the bottom or along the edge of the bottom for drainage and you have a pot. The 3-oz. size can be used until a plant begins to bloom and is big enough for a semi-miniature violet.

You'll be better off if you use the same kind of pot for your plants. If you don't want to buy cups, something like small yogurt containers would work as well.

If you think they need extra humidity, you can sit them on a tray with damp pebbles. Don't let them sit in standing water. Trays from frozen meals work just fine for this or you might find something at a thrift shop that would work.

I would try adding some perlite to the Miracle-Gro but try to find some without added fertilizer. I believe the fertilizer in the Miracle Gro soil is good for about 3 mos., but if you plants haven't grown, it might last longer.

Good luck. They aren't that bad :)


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 6:39PM
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i use miracle grow AV soil cut with half perlite and about 6 mo after i pull the suckers off (quite small ones) i put them on wicks.
but i still add MG AV liquid feed! though not at ev watering.
next time i'll take pics of suckers regularly to note how fast they grow. but beginning is always very slow.
here's a pic of 2 young plants grown from tiny suckers since last nov, going into bloom for the 1st time. still in 3oz cups, but now on wicks for sev months (though i let them dry occasionally and water manually to ensure that they dry up periodically). they are both about 6" and one is still lopsided, but i am waiting for more leaves before i remove some to make it look better.
so that's about 9mo from separation.
they were half the size in march.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 7:04PM
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Hi. I agree with the opinions and advice here. Your violets look pretty good to me, too. I have killed violets with chlorine water though, so I always let the water sit overnight before using. Maybe it varies some in different areas. Hang in there!

Karin, I think your violets look good, too. :)


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 9:37PM
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Nearly all my plants have come into bloom that were grown from leaves started last fall or a bit later. I have a plant of Private Dancer here that should bloom before too long and it came from a leaf that was started on 5/6.

Admittedly, I am letting them in the solo cups a bit longer than usual to see if they are blooming true

Edit: Even I found that 5/6 date surprising, but I had a photo of a Private Dancer leaf with the 5/6 date. However, I see now that this plant is dated 1/21 so I guess I had another Private Dancer leaf set. That is more normal! Maybe I came to my senses and realized I didn't need a whole troupe of Private Dancers. That is 6 mos. from leaf to a plant that I'm moving out of a Solo cup, although I guess you could leave it in there.

Diana .

This post was edited by quimoi on Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 11:29

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 11:44PM
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Thank you everyone! I'm relieved to hear that they're supposed to look like that. I had read that violets with curling leaves were bad and mine looked nothing like the bigger ones you all have. Whenever I googled images of the violets, none of them had the smooth leaves like mine do, so I assume they were sick. I'm glad to hear that they're just juvenile. I also had no idea how long it takes for a violet to grow...

I'll have to give home-made pots another try. Froeschli's picture really helped because now I see what size you all are talking about, haha. I'm guessing paper cups are a no-go (my mom has like 8 bags of them for some reason) so I'll pick some plastic ones when we go grocery shopping.

I still have a couple of questions. Thank you everyone for all the advice and encouragement!

whitelacey said it doesn't matter if I water from the top or bottom. I always heard you had to water from the bottom. Is it just because of the soil, then?

I re-potted mine into these pots (which you all have said is over potted) back in June. Is it ok to repot them into the bathroom cups now? or is there a certain time you have to wait to avoid potting them too much?

What is vermiculite and how necessary is it? I have the MG (so peat), and I just bought a bag of perlite. Would my violets be ok with just those two? or should I get the vermiculite too? (I don't mind going to get it I'm just curious).

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:37AM
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I don't think you need to add vermiculite to the MG. I think just the perlite will be fine to loosen it up. Vermiculite is the shiny flakes of stuff that you see in potting soil. It is actually a mineral but it holds water. If my mix is drying out too fast, I add more of it.

You can see in the photo. The white chunks are perlite, the little chunks are vermiculite. It comes in larger sizes and you sometimes see it in larger shiny flakes. (That is not potting mix, that is what I root things in.)

If the root system of your plant fits comfortably into the 3-oz. cup, then there's no problem potting it into it. You might want to get the 5-oz ones too since they aren't much bigger. Paper cups deteriorate. It's not the time, it's how your plant is growing. If it's not doing well, then I will pot down.

Yes, you can top water or bottom water. Many of us find it easier to bottom water because violets can be hard to water from the top, especially when they get large.

Convince your mom to use plastic cups instead :)


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:33AM
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You can get by without vermiculite with small plants or leaves. Vermiculite holds water, so in my experience, it is harder for plants or leaves to form roots if kept too wet.
I use 50% 50% potting mix and perlite to root small plants and leaves. You can move the plants to the right size plastic or waterproof cup, then you will see growth of leaves. Just remove the entire soil ball and try not to disturb the roots when transplanting to a smaller pot. When they are in a pot that is too big, you don't see growth because the plant is growing roots instead, but doesn't need all those roots. No, you cannot use paper. Once you transplant, the plantwill look wilt for a day or two.That is why many recommend bagging or doming. Nice photos, everyone! J

This post was edited by fortyseven on Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 12:06

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 12:04PM
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Just a note re Miracle Gro. It's not something I've used indoors for a long time and I tried to find the labels. It wasn't easy. I would suggest reading them for whatever product you bought because the Moisture Control has coir and can vary by state. I gave up and didn't try to track down the African Violet mix label. However, it appears that Miracle Gro mixes may vary quite a bit and they sure make a lot of them. Scotts makes about everything now (makers of MG).

If you don't disturb the roots on your plant very much, it may not need the bag when being repotted but it's a good idea if they've been tugged around or you've had to trim them a bit. My Pixie Blue had grown all to one side and I just moved it to the center of its pot and didn't bother with a bag.

Re the pic. Well, I didn't have one of vermiculite, lol.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:06PM
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i use re-purposed applicator squeeze bottle with nozzle to water my violets and other tender seedlings with accuracy when i water from the top. very often the leaves are so dense that it is impossible to get to soil level and openings between stems are just tiny. it helps to avoid getting water into the crown too. i just water in afew places around the crown.
you can repurpose many diff craft /art /paint bottles. even squeeze bottles for sauces/mustard/ketchup/dressings that chefs use. i have a few.
also perhaps small caulking bottles work well.
disposable color applicator bottle as from 'hair coloring' ;) works very well. you can cut the nozzle opening larger or smaller as you need.

Here is a link that might be useful: smth like this

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:15PM
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Hi Diana, I see what you use! I will try that when I get more vermiculite. It looks less messy if a cup should tip over and spill. The MG for AV my store stocks is Scott's. I am in the process of repotting for spring, even though it is summer. About five per evening is manageable. I don't actually use plastic bags, I use trays with tall lids. I just mentioned the Baggie to be complete as others on the Forum use them and like them. I find when a plant is newly repotted, I need to watch it for a few days until it settles in. Then, after that, they all get the back patio watering can treatment. Any excess drains or evaporates and I imagine they enjoy being in the fresh outdoors for 20 minutes. As I repot, I am inserting wicks, planning ahead for being away briefly. Joanne

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 2:52PM
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Don't take me as an example ;-) i have my seedlings in 1oz shotglasses, because i rot them if i put them in anything bigger... even now i manage to keep them too wet sometimes. my mix is 2 parts perlite, 1 part av potting soil (fafard).

yes, they dry out faster than other peoples plants, but they seem to stay alive better that way...

This post was edited by froeschli on Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 22:09

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 4:39PM
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I don't know about less messy. What with the cat, we've swept up a fair amount of it. It's just what I've used and it seems to work as well as what others use.

I've been experimenting with long-staple blond sphagnum which I expect is less messy but I don't know about the results. I'm just using my own leaves and, of course, those usually have less problems. I lost one leaf although they didn't look the best initially and when I checked another, it had begun to rot so I recut it. One mini rooted and got little ones very fast and the others have come along fine but what with those issues, plus the fact that I seem to recall the sphagnum wasn't cheap, I'm not ready to change over to it. However if you have it on hand or a local source, it's worth a try. I know some people put the leaf in a baggie with the moss, but I would misplace the baggie so I used cups.

Baggies, covers, same general idea. I just wanted to mention that it's not always necessary although if you traumatized it in some way, then by all means I cover it for awhile (sometimes the trauma is for their good). A bigger plastic cup works for a cover too if you can see through it.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 6:19PM
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I collect the Space Hog Series.

BIG and Bigger

Yes, the little ones are growing and I just realized...

I have to dome/tent the Space Hogs.

Any ideas about how to economically tent/dome the Space Hogs? (Most large plastic bags are not clear, even trash bags)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:30PM
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Diana , will be interesting to learn how you like the s moss. Members of my club are experimenting with various different kinds of potting substances such as coir and organic mixes.

Karin, I enjoy your photos. I also prefer to water more often and not lose a plant to overwatering. We were away for a few days, an over zealous plant sitter killed a couple of plants that were a bit delicate.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:54PM
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Joanne, I just got a photobucket account ad am having fun ;-p

now i should work on having plants actually worth photographing!!!

This post was edited by froeschli on Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 20:34

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 8:23PM
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Clicking on the one thumbnail just took me to photobucket (main page, I guess). I thought you'd want to know.


You don't keep them in bags forever, do you? If you hunt, you find gallon storage bags that are not ziplock. These ones are called Homelife Twist & Tie Storage bags. I use these a lot - I hate the stiff plastic on the ziplock ones. If you buy an air conditioner or something like that, there is a big plastic bag on it. (This was a little big for me.) You can cover them temporarily by draping them loosely with plastic wrap.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 9:57PM
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I have a lovely photo of coarse perlite but I don't suppose I'll ever need one of vermiculite again :)

Yes, Karin. That is much better. It is probably worth noting that every bag of Miracle Gro perlite I've seen has fertilizer added. It's just something to be aware of. It is one of the multiple bags of lousy perlite in my basement.

Now that I think about it, I believe Adrienne on the podcasts blamed that for losing all her plants (you almost have to watch but it was an issue caused by over fertilizing). Just be cautious if your potting mix has fertilizer and your perlite has fertilizer. That's why many of us try to find things without added fertilizer so we have some idea of what we're giving them.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:26PM
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you can use clear plastic deep saucer pans from HD or any nursery for jumbo domes.
they usually have them in 8/10/12/14" diameters. i sometimes put sev plants inside and cover with identical lid, tape on the side - and you have a flippable lid.
and i have many of these stuffed in one saucer.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:38PM
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Thanks Diana
I have been very busy for the last month or so and frankly have not paid much attention to my plants.
I watered and not much else.
Now I am looking at every plant, removing suckers, checking baggies for mouse ears,
Some of the plants seem to thrive on neglect because they are a good bit bigger than I remember.
I had to repot one and it is too big for any dome I have so..
I will check out the bags you mentioned

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:38PM
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Thanks Petrushka
That is really nice looking.
Trash bags scattered around the house is a bit tacky...but then...oh well :)
All these little Dixie Cups with leaves stuck in them are in questionable taste perhaps also. It looks like someone forgot to clean up after a very strange picnic

This post was edited by lucky123 on Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 22:44

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:42PM
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Yeah. Architectural Digest doesn't stop around our house very often. The idea is that eventually they will get out of the bags though.

I knew those deep saucers were good for something but didn't know what. I didn't order any when I ordered from Novosel (they always have them cheaper). I have covers and keep using bags anyway.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:36PM
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Yes, Diana, the mg perlite has fertilizer added. And from the orange crusts I am seeing, more than the label proclaims. And there I thought the amount was negligible.
That is why I switched from the mg to the fafard av mix - it has no fertilizers added. I believe they also have perlite, though I was hoping to find a coarser grade.... I do like their small quantities though, no storage space needed :-)


    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 12:07AM
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Just plain folks who drop by, happen to look in the Dixie Cup.
Maybe start thinking there was a party earlier and I was serving some mighty strange dips and chips.

Or salad. "O Yum. See, minerals, vitamins, a bit of leaf garnish (or is that the chip?) Toss in an earthworm, you have a complete meal."
Lord knows what people think
They would never say anything of course but then again.. they might politely decline any offer of food or drink.
You never can tell..but then, I'm just saying, if you know what I mean.

This post was edited by lucky123 on Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 0:24

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 12:22AM
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Ah, I see. I recognize the vermiculite now that quimoi posted a picture. I'm not having too much trouble with my violets' soil drying out too fast, so I think they'll be ok without it. Thanks for the picture of the soil, froeschli. I followed that instruction and the soil seems much looser, at least. I hope this helps them (after their wilty period, of course).

I have one last question, this time regarding roots. I wish I would have taken some pictures but I forgot, so I'll do my best to describe my concern: All my plants have -tiny- root systems. On all of them, they barely reach an inch off the base of the plant, and they feel dry and brown. That's not root rot is it? Will the lighter soil help their roots? or is that normal for plants that size?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 12:23AM
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You're quite welcome if I helped at all.

I think we should have asked about the roots earlier. No, root rot is brown and mushy, as you would suspect. I don't remember how you are watering, but it sounds as though your plants' roots aren't getting the moisture and aren't growing into the bottom layer. The denseness of the MG isn't helping there either.

I think the bagging probably helped because the plants then absorbed moisture through the leaves.

What I would suggest is (a) loosen the soil mix as we all agreed; (b) pot the plants in the smaller container with good drainage (look at the bottom layer of perlite in Karin's thread on Little Coral - you can do that, I usually do); (c) gently water them from the top for awhile to be sure that layer of roots is getting watered.

Lighter soil will help but we need to get the roots into it.

Getting plants from vendors is kind of like one of those boxes of candy - you never know what you bought until you take it out of the pot ;) Sometimes it looked like a reasonably sized plant but then there wasn't much of a root system.

I'm glad you came back since we were thowing wild picnics here with you ;-)


I tried to use the MG perlite with my leaves and I don't know. Maybe the leaves weren't going to do well anyway. Like you, I wouldn't have thought it would have been that much difference. Some tried washing it and I don't know how that worked out. I had a so-so experience and just used other perlite the next time. I know it's hard to find something else in stores.

I have a bunch that is lousy - too fine or a lot of powder. I sifted a whole big bag of it. If you do that, what is left doesn't take up much room, although I used it in planters which aren't doing well because it rained for 40 days and nights and then the sun came out and I forgot to water them.


This post was edited by quimoi on Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 10:14

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:08AM
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Diana gave great advice. Just in general, violet roots are often very small , thin and short. Optimara roots are different, they are longer and more if them . That might be why violets are sensitive , most have very shallow root systems in comparison to their leaves. Variegated violets have even smaller root systems. That us why top watering in small amounts sometimes works better with young plants. J

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:12AM
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I have wondered

If the roots are shallow, then why not use shallow pots?

I had some clay saucers that were shallow and I thought about potting the violets in the saucers rather than the pots.

When you repot Optimara violets, the ones from the stores which are full grown, are the Optimara pots full of roots? ( all the way to the sides and to the bottom)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:24AM
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I first raised violets for their decorative and aesthetic quality. My family was happy. I had just a few. When my home began to look like a plant nursery, no one was happy. Not even me. Guests commented. Now, the nursery is confined to one room where the door can be closed. That is another reason I use rectangular trays with lids. They are more organized looking and hold a lot. Then I don't need baggies or lots of various size containers. Then when I have a busy time and can't monitor everything, they do maintain well. It is easier for me to monitor plants neatly lined up at a quick glance . If you have time, you might enjoy watching some of the podcasts called All About African Violets by Annie. Joanne p.s. I also maintain a collection of modest size. When it gets too large for the shelves, the plants get donated to friends, a club sale, there are many ways to donate plants.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:29AM
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If the guests want to munch the Dixie cup hors d'oeuvres, no harm there, Pure Organic and Gluten Free
If the guests want to comment, I will gladly, willingly and at great length explain the recipe, ingredients and intent of each Dixie cup.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:43AM
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I'm not Joanne, but African violets do have a shallow root system compared to some other plants. That is why it's recommended that we use what are called azalea pots or tubs. These are just 4" pots that are a bit shorter than a standard 4" pot.

As far as Optimaras, well I've bought a few.. It varies wildly as to whether they have their pot filled or not. Since the 6" ones are almost $10 at my Lowe's, I don't usually buy those, but I did buy a 6" plant of O. Pennsylvania last fall. I didn't expect that it would have that pot full, but surprise! It was full of roots. It did keep throwing up tiny suckers on the outside but it wasn't full of inside suckers either. I think it's just a hardy grower.

I believe it depends both on the variety and what's going on in the Optimara Greenhouse at the moment. If they are short on varieties, they probably ship them out when they are smaller. The last group I got wasn't as far along as usual but that's okay.

I would second watching the "All About African Violets" podcasts if you have time. I watched a lot of them while I repotted things. One thing to keep in mind is that she is a judge and her goal is to show plants. Therefore, her goals were sometimes very different than my goals. There is still a lot of good information in there. I don't agree with everything she does but mostly it didn't mean she was wrong ;).

(As to how much to limit your collection, we all live different lives. "Annie" in the podcast has a busy job plus two other very time-consuming hobbies. I don't know much about bagpiping, but I do know about the upper levels of knitting and fiber arts because I was somewhat involved before I became disabled.)


    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:51AM
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Diana, I am so curious, how many do you have? Or did I ask before and you said, too many to count?! I envision you in a big house with a big, wrap around sun porch ...
The photo above by Petrushka shows a very good small plant to pot size ratio--the one in the small white, deep pot. You need a lightweight plastic little pot, you need to poke holes in the bottom or sides, and you need to put a bit of perlite on the bottom before adding your potting mix or root mix. If your leaf has a 1" stem, then the pot has to be to a depth of more than one inch. If the leaf has no stem, then you still need to be able to stick it into the potting medium to 1/4" to secure it. Diana has posted a recent photo showing vermiculite that is in a condiment cup. (Such as are at take our restaurants for salad dressing.) They can be bought at the grocery store and are not expensive, maybe $3 for a large supply. The pot has to be deeper than it is tall. For tiny leaves, some people use coffee creamer cups. Whatever you use, has to have drainage. Clay saucers are too shallow, too heavy, no drainage and dry out too fast.
Besides, you have no idea if your leaf is going to be one that grows big roots, or one that has tiny roots.
Even if roots are tiny, they grow down and out. They need room to stretch and breathe and take in water.
As Diana noted, there is no telling with roots. I observed some Optimara minis have surprisingly long roots, but I think that is because they are not true AVs but were crossed with something else to make them stronger and more vigorous.
Karin also recently provided a great demonstration and closeups of tiny pots with wicks and vermiculite on the bottom. I forgot to ask Karin what size the square pots were. The smallest square pot I have is 2"

As for the guests, mine get glazed over eyes, except for those who love plants and gardening. So, that is why we have this forum ... and clubs ... Joanne

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:48PM
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Thanks Joanne
The Space Hog Series...I have a NOID/poss Midnight Sun that is a full 12 inches across and it only has 3 rows of leaves. I am not certain what the roots on these big AV's look like. I think many of the large ones are either older varieties or Russian. Optimara would not be a good guide in that case although you did send the Russians. Do you know how the roots grow or how big these Russians get?
I could drill holes in clay. I make pots or did so I have the tools for that.
However you are saying that AV's are not shallow rooted and need a bit deeper than wide. Azalea pots in small sizes I have never seen, only the 6 inch size.
Thanks for that information.
Now what could be crossed with an AV?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:29PM
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4" azalea pot

violet barn

Novosel Enterprises (I get mine here, they used to have more small pots - don't know if they are permanently disc. or what)

3" round pot at Novosel, same depth as 4" azalea. I use these a lot

2-1/2" azalea pot - violet barn

Anyway, Violet Barn has a great selection of pots and will ship a few with a violet order which is nice. I like that they have quite small ones. Novosel used to have a selection of smaller ones but they aren't there now. I still have a lot of them though. Novosel has bigger ones but usually we don't need those. Novosel has a lot of square pots, but did drop their smallest ones.

There are other suppliers and eBay vendors. Cape Cod ha pots but the ordering system is a bit clunky. I'm in the midst of attempting it.

Remember that a square pot holds more soil than a similarly sized round pot (i.e. both being 2-1/2" pots, the square is a larger capacity pot).

Want to know what Optimara is crossing with AVs also. Weeds?

Edit: That photo of the leaf top is actually in a "Solo" cup although I guess it could have been put in the "souffle" size cup but it wasn't. however those "bathroom" size plastic cups are way cheaper. They are the 3-oz drink cups. Usually Walmart has them (boy don't we wish we could pin this somewhere!). Get the generics, the cheaper the better.


This post was edited by quimoi on Wed, Jul 30, 14 at 9:34

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 9:21AM
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Thanks, Diana, great info! thanks for the correction. The photo shows how deeply a leaf needs to be submerged.
why drill holes in clay? the saucers won't work, anyway, they are too shallow, and drilling holes will probably just cause the clay to crack.
You can use the saucers under your violet pots. I do that.
I usually order pots from Lyndon Lyon's. They also have a selection plastic pots. I also buy plastic pots from a nursery or garden center. They are inexpensive. Some nurseries even have recycled pots for pennies.

I don't recall the roots on russians but i imagine they are big because the plants are big and very strong. i guess they must have been big, because i moved them to 6" pots. I don't recommend that, though, as they are also space hogs.

I don't know what optimara crossed plants with to get
the special kinds they develop with bigger roots.
however, years ago, in the 1950's, trailers were created by the Tinari's and Lyon's by crossing two species. the one with the trailing tendency is s. grotei.

somewhere i read that some AVs have been crossed with other species to get the stronger roots and trailing qualities. but i don't recall where i read it.

I find that using the recommended size of pots and the recommended material made a big difference. there was a time when i had to be persuaded not to grow AVs in clay pots in my Calif culture. I am so grateful i heeded that advice. My violets are much happier in plastic and the pots
are lighter weight and cheaper.

When leaves rub against the clay pots, they disintegrate, so the edges of the clay pots have to be treated with wax or something so that the leaves are not damaged.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:04PM
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the plants i was given are in 1-2" deep, 3-4" square drawer organizers, with about 1/2" layer of perlite at the bottom.
(i am guesstimating the sizes as i never measured them).
anyhow, i thought they were way too big and was worried about the size, but the plants are doing fine in them.
so if your clay saucers are big enough, why not try them.
i have one russian miniature (i think it is russian - frosted fantasy by sotkievicz) and though the plant is nowhere near about to span the 4" pot, the root system was filling it up pretty well (go figure, i pulled it up and put it in a smaller container just so i would feel better).

i am happy i got some trailers so i'll be able to use my assortment of bonsai pots, that i never grew trees for :-D
they are an average of 2" deep and various sizes across. i just can't help but buy them at a dollar each when i see them at thrift shops....


    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:32PM
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All of the plants were in plastic but lately I have been using clay for the plants I have repotted.
After I pop the plant out of the pot, I soak the root ball so I can get the soil loose from around the roots.
By the time I cut the suckers loose, or trim roots, the root ball is soaked.
I was having a problem with the root ball staying super wet and the plants were not doing well.
Now I put the super soaked plants in clay so the root ball dries out faster.
When the roots grow out and the plant recovers, I will repot into plastic.
I tried paper towels to dry the root ball during root/sucker surgery but the clay seems to work better

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:44PM
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I have a cute bonsai pot. Maybe using it for a trailer would be a good idea although I'm usually better off not doing a lot of mixing of types of pots. There's some succulent in it anyway.

Maybe I need to clarify that leaf top, which i only posted because it showed vermiculite clearly. When you cut off the top of a leaf (either because you trimmed it or maybe it was damaged), you can set the top if you want to. That is what is in the pot. It's not a leaf buried all the way :). The cut bottom is just inserted enough in the 3 oz. cup so it stays there. The plantlets will form along the bottom edge. Some people say there's a higher chance of sports from this method and I'd say that may be true although I never used it enough to say from experience. I probably didn't even own one of those "souffle" cups when I did that one.

I wonder if Violet Barn uses something for chimeras like those square shallow bins. Mine had been grown in something other than standard pot and then potted up. I just posted a couple of examples of places with pots although I do like the small ones from Violet Barn and you can get a few included with an order. Ebay has the azalea pots too. I usually throw out Optimara pots but the minis came in a nice enough small size pot and those aren't that easy to find. I kept them.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:35PM
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Growing any plant in the house is challenge
When I came to this forum, no one was more discouraged than I was.
Bugs had eaten my 6 scraggly violets.
I dipped the plants in 110 degree water for 15 minutes
Only one has survived.
I live in the Desert Southwest.
Humidity for 10 months of the year is single digits.
Light is intense, summer and winter
PH of the water is 9+
It is hot in the summer 100 degrees +
It is cold in the winter *8 degrees above *0
It is cold nights (35 degrees) and hot days (80-90) /low humidity (5%) spring and fall
I slowly learned to overcome all these problems.
I received some plants and leaves from forum members plus a few gift plants from family members
Now all 14 plants I received are thriving
I have 12 unique leaves that are rooted and should be sprouting mouse ears.
Treat AV's like a science project. I learned to read humidity on the thermometer and increase it or dome plants
I learned how to adjust PH
I know what light I have when and where
AV's have led me to become a sleuth of environmental conditions and how to adjust those conditions
This is FUN and nothing more than a science experiment:)

This post was edited by lucky123 on Wed, Jul 30, 14 at 15:26

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 3:20PM
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If they turn out okay, I took some photos of plant roots of small plants in Solo cups.

I'll post a thread on roots because they do matter. Sometimes we forget!

(I'm not the photographer that Karin is so don't expect too much :)


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:48PM
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Lucky, sounds like you are doing great. Your 12" plant would not be Midnight Sun, which is a small standard. I posted a pic on the Gallery. Joanne

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 1:59AM
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The plant is a NOID that the person who sent it thought might be Midnight Sun
It has large, dark crinkled leaves, dark red reverse and it is big.
Just what I like.
Can't wait to see the flowers!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 12:09PM
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It looks like an Optimara to me if it is the one you posted a photo of. Unless there is another plant named Midnight Sun that I am not aware of. The one I have by that name is small
and has smooth leaves.
By the way, crinkly leaves, or quilting, sometimes happens when a plant gets too much indirect light and not enough sun, such
as when grown under fluorescent light. When I used to grow
under lights, I had lots of big crinkly leaves but not flowers.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 1:46PM
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There is a link below for another post about Midnight Sun. The plant's leaves are red reverse, ruffled and the plants shows it's petticoat.
I don't know about size but Midnight Sun is not a smooth leaf. Dark Green, Red Reverse, Ruffled Leaves

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo Midnight Sun

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 2:11PM
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Okay. There are two plants:

Midnight Sun (2268) 12/01/1971 (V. Lorenzen) Semidouble royal blue two-tone. Plain, pointed, quilted. Standard

Lyon's Midnight Sun (7970) 10/08/1993 (S. Sorano) Semidouble dark red frilled star. Black-green, plain, ruffled/red back. Standard

There we go. The first one isn't listed as a small standard but it might grow small after all this time. That clears things up.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 4:15PM
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I can't find Joanne's photo of that plant in the gallery. I typed "fortyseven" and "midnight sun" into the search box. Nothing

Joanne, if you have that original royal blue midnight sun, great! Possibly the last one in the world?? I can't find it anywhere on the web.

Thanks Diana,

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 4:46PM
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Hi Diana, Did you just click over to the Gallery?
I posted it twice, by accident. Once under the heading
Powwow --scroll down to the third posting -- and once under the heading Midnight Sun.
The one I have is from Lyon's, it is a coppery red, very,
very dark. the leaves are very dark, almost blackish-green.
I have never seen a royal blue Midnight Sun, but there is a Midnight Waves that is a lovely dark blue-purple. I have that, too, or used to ...
If you still can't find it, I will post another photo on this forum but will start a new thread so you can't miss it.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 4:55PM
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I got my descriptions from FC2 so they are the official descriptions. I didn't look at the Gallery. FC2 has a photo of the Lyon's plant.

It should not be a small standard. It is listed as a standard.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 10:04PM
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Hi Lucky,
That is a great photo, thank you for posting it! I am preparing a collage of photos of red violets for the sales table at my club's upcoming AV sale. I will try to include this photo you posted because it accurately shows the foliage. I forgot to add it is red-backed,which adds to the beauty. It is a very difficult AV to photograph well. It is interesting that the person who posted the photo also said the flower is darker than it looks from the camera. Depends on the light, I guess.
Smooth leaf only means not quilted or bubbly looking. Some of mine have shiny leaves because they have fewer hairs
than other AVs. The ones that are not under the dome have dull leaves. Because the leaves are a very dark olive green color, the shine helps make a better contrast to the flower. I don't know why they refer to the leaves as blackish green.They are olive, not black. Sometimes I think whoever writes the descriptions is not too fussy about accuracy in describing colors.

Diana, It was Lucky who was asking about the photo, not you, sorry about that! Although it is listed as a standard in the Lyon's description, it grows as a compact standard for me. I've grown it for a few years. I had two that were almost identical looking and bloomed at the same time. They were like mirror images of each other. The leaves always draped downward, so they could stay close together on a shelf and liked it that way. When one died, its companion went soon after. So I thought when I got them from Lyon's, they must have been from the same parent plant. I was so disappointed when they died, as I had them for years. And so delighted that I was able to salvage a few leaves and now have babies. It is one of the more expensive Lyon's plants, so it must be difficult to grow. It was very slow growing for me. I find the reds in general to need a little more TLC than the purples or violet colored ones.

I was not able to find a photo of the Royal Blue Midnight Sun from 1971. I don't have FC2. My club does. So that is my excuse for not buying it. I don't have all that many plants to justify getting it. AVSA does have a good supply of photos on line now.

I saw there is also another plant called Midnight Sun.
Here is the description.
Ko's Midnight Sun (10003) 08/28/2008 (S. Ko) Single chimera lavender pansy/blue-purple stripe. Dark green, plain, scalloped/red back. Standard

I don't even know what is meant by a midnight sun, as there is no such thing as the sun coming out at midnight. Maybe for people who live in Alaska. A name like Scorching Sun
or Sunset would have made more logical sense.

For the royal blue plant from 1971, maybe Midnight Moon may have been a better name! Or Velvet Sky.

I can't even imagine why anyone would call a lavender and blue chimera by the name midnight sun. Maybe a better name would be Twilight at Sea. I will have to look if anyone has named a plant Twilight for a pale blue or dusky two tone.
Or I guess if I wanted to be clever, I might call a plant Ocean Smog or Ocean Breeze.

Hey, Karin, if you are reading this, may I help you name your seedling plants, once they bloom!? Joanne

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 2:00AM
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I will rename my noid Mud Knight Sin
I suspect that your plant is correctly named and is compact due to cultural conditions.
The plant I have is a noid thought to be Midnight Sun.
It has never bloomed. If it blooms it might be something else and that would be very interesting.
I doubt it is KO's.

This post was edited by lucky123 on Sun, Aug 3, 14 at 9:10

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 9:08AM
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ROFL!! Joanne

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 3:42PM
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Just because Lyon's description says it's going to be "large" doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be large. Red Rocket has never pulled it off for me. Still, I have to stick with whatever they have submitted as the official registered description.

As long as the hybridizer is alive, they can change the description, but after that, we are stuck with it. Although it's a pain the correct name is "Lyon's Midnight Sun," not "Midnight Sun." I'm to the point where I'm ready to call mine the names that seem right to me. Like Mac's Southern Comfort and Colonel Werris Creek. Honestly who cares? Of course naming your noid is a sin. I doubt that it's Ko's MS too. LOL at MKS.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 6:39PM
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I have an optimara standard (bought at 10" and blooming) that refuses to grow past 2" for me. I don't know if it just doesn't like me, or if it may have sported. Ah well. I keep trying.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 7:13PM
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Hi Diana,
That is interesting about Red Rocket. I was curious, as it is so hard to know which of the reds will be a great performer.
I find reds to be touchy. I've had some that died soon and others that were a disappointment.

For Lyon's Midnight Sun, they list it both ways, as Midnight Sun and as Lyon's Midnight Sun. So I guess you are saying that on FC2 it is LMS. Thanks for the info.

Do you have other reds that performed well for you? (other than Optimara's, we have a lot of red Optimaras in our club.
The person who orders through the mail or goes to the farm likes reds!)


    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 1:35AM
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