AV Days, do you have them?

lucillleJuly 29, 2008

I've been going to school nights and weekends and I'm taking this quiz that's gonna take 2 more days and it is extremely horribly stressful.

I've been getting AV growing materials together but have been too busy to mix up mix and repot some of my new plantlets I got off Ebay or to really do any major stuff with the AVs.

So, Friday I am rewarding myself with an AV day, just going to ditz around and do nice AV stuff and reread my new AV book and daydream about how my leaves are gonna look when they are all grown.

Do you ever have 'AV Days'?

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Hi Lucille,

I have African violet days but they usually are not my favorite. They happen when I need to repot my African violets and other gesneriads. I don't particularly enjoy repotting so I don't necessarily enjoy the day. I like growing them, propagating them, manicuring them and watering them but I don't enjoy potting them. lol


    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 4:55PM
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barbara_in_la(So. Cal.)

I have orchid days since that's what I mainly grow, and like you, Friday is my orchid day if only for a few hours. With my new AV's, Friday will also be my AV day. :)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 5:00PM
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I, too, have AV days. Every day almost. I save potting and planting for 'fruitful' and 'semi'fruitful' moon phases, so I get a run of two days, then two barren, then two days, with an occasional 3rd day thrown in. On 'barren' days I fill wick reservoirs.

Due to the number of plants and starts, repotting is an ongoing process. If it isn't an established plant, I take a tray of starts and separate whatever is ready.

I love to do these tasks when my husband practices the acoustical guitar. Vvvvveeeeerrrrryyyy relaxing......really makes the time fly.

Lucille, have you thought any more about going to one of the two AV clubs in your area?


    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 6:00PM
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I will look into it, with so much to do I have not really explored it yet.
Invite some friends, order in a pizza, and make it a repotting party!!!

Maybe it is just because I don't have a lot of plants or maybe it is just because I'm excited about mixing up the mix because I haven't done it before but I am really looking forward to Friday.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 6:10PM
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Lol Lucille,

I would have to serve caviar to get my friends to come over and repot plants with me. lol Actually I'm not even sure if that would work. (sigh)


    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 7:19PM
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There is a dish my Grandma used to make. Blini. They are Russian pancakes and she served them with sour cream and red caviar. I would think that such a delicacy would draw friends from near and far.
Or, since I am in Texas, BBQ, Miller, and Blue Bell ice cream.

I am thinking that when my leaves have mouse ears and the meeces grow up and flower, I think I will have a AV party and my friends can help repot.

And I can set aside a bunch of teeny plantlets as party gifts for when they go home. This has real possibilities for getting some of my friends involved in AVs.

It has been ten years at least since I made blini, I think when the weather gets cooler I'll have a blini party.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 8:38PM
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"I am thinking that when my leaves have mouse ears and the meeces grow up and flower, I think I will have a AV party and my friends can help repot."

You'll want to pot up babies before they reach the flowering stage... usually when they're about as big as a quarter, or big enough for you to feel comfortable moving them :-)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 10:01PM
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I know, but there won't be a party at the teeny pot stage, only when I have to repot 60-100 full size plants.
No mouse ears yet, I check every day.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 5:11AM
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"No mouse ears yet, I check every day."

"A watched pot never boils"

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 12:19PM
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Lucille, good luck with your quiz.
Complete the test, then after it's finished, work with your AV's. (while waiting for results)
Working with greenery should be relaxing. You know what I mean? Turn on music of your choic, (like Barbara listens to her husband playing guitar,) a favorite tv show, or open windows and listen to Mother Nature performing: birds singing, wind blowing, trees swaying.

How do you combine soil/mediums? Do you measure? When you have a little extra time, why not start by mixing soil/ mediums? Then, whatever day you decide to repot, your mix will be ready to go.

Are the leaves you won on Ebay rooted or is it something that needs doing? Thank God mine root in water..LOL

So, does everyone here have a day dedicated to AV's? What exactly do you do?

Does anyone grow AV's outdoors?

Larry, what other Gesneriads do you grow?

PS...Luiclle, good luck again.. Toni

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 12:28PM
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Thank you Toni for the good luck wishes. I'm totally exhausted, but one more day to go.
I like the idea of mixing up a batch of mix and having it ready for whenever I need to repot, I have a nice covered large plastic bin that would be perfect.
But not until after tomorrow,

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 6:09PM
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Hi Toni,

I also grow Streptocarpuses and sinningias. I have a couple of kohleria, two chiritas, two columnea, an episcia and an alsobia.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 7:14PM
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I have plant days. African violets are definitely one of my favorite things to work with, but I feel just as good caring for any and all of my other plants. My daughter counted them all the other day and said I had 168! Why do I feel guilty about that? I'd say about 95% of them are doing very well, maybe more than that. I don't work Fridays so that is my plant day too, much to the neglect of housework, shopping, and other chores. There's really nothing else I'd rather do on Fridays, especially in the morning, than check and care for what needs to be done. I get a very happy feeling when I see a plant doing well that was previously ailing. People at work bring me their sick ones and I love the challenge of nursing them back to health. I think I need to sell some this Saturday. The only thing I fail at is begonias! I do not like those plants and they don't like me!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 9:47PM
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Lucille, one more day..How are you feeling? Optimistic? What time is your test? Keep us posted.
Last night, after advising you about preparing soil, I ended doing the same..LOL. My AV's all need clean, fresh soil, so it's time to measure and repot in the correct size containers.
Yesterday we stopped at Ace Hardware...got a bag of Vermiculite..also bought Perlite and a few other soils/mediums for AV's, Citrus and Succulents.
I was just about to go outside and weed, when the sky blackened..It's now pouring..Big time. So, that's out. Sam, our big dog, is at my side..he fears thunder. So, I'll have to figure a way to carry AV's in the back room to repot without tripping over him..LOL
Again, good luck..with the test and your plants.

Larry, what a variety!!! Do you purchase plants online or local stores? I've never heard of Alsobia..I'll google it.
I want an Ember Lace Epicia sooo bad. They are the prettiest of Epicias. They sell so fast, even on Ebay.
Sinningia are gorgeous, but large. Actually, I love all the plants you have..Wait, I'm thinking Gloxina..sheesh..is Sinningia the same as Glox's?
There's two plants hanging in the upstairs bathroom window..One is a Lipstick/variegated and green, the other is a mystery..its blooms resemble Lipstick, but leaves grow like Columnia. I'll have to snap a pic, try ID'ing. Maybe you can help..It's not flowering now, it bloomed late winter and spring..flowers are orange, and semi-tubular. I've read horticulturest had problems ID'ing the two. Do u have a website or pix?

Ido, don't feel guilty about buying plants..it could be something 'worse.'
What type of begonias do you kill? Have you ever tried a Wax Begonia? The type sold as annuals in garden centers? Right now they're inexpensive.. .20 at our store. Stores are trying to rid all annuals and perrenials, so plants are inexpensive. I used to kill begonias, too, but found they need more light than we're told..Soil should never stay wet..otherwise, goodbye begonia.. If you like them, don't give up. Some ARE more difficult raising. Toni

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 4:37PM
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hehehe Toni, one of my kitties is here sitting on my feet under the desk as I type this, 'cos she hates the thunder too :-)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 7:11PM
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I read in your journal entry that you have been houseplanting for 20 years. I would love to have you as a neighbor! WE could pot together. I have yet to find a plant friend in my neigborhood, but I would certainly enjoy that. When I was in highschool, an elderly friend of our family invited me and my mom up to her house in the hills of Virginia where we lived at the time. She gave me some impatiens, an African Violet, and a spider plant which I took with me when I went off to college. I fell in love with plants then and continued to enjoy them until I had children. Suddenly I lost interest in the plants to such a degree that they really suffered, so I got rid of them, passing them off to friends. Eight kids and 30 years later, I am so full of those nurturing instincts that I have just recently returneed to my plant pasttime. Although now I think it's becoming a passion. I cannot go to the store without buying a plant! Tomorrow I am going to sell some out front. Maybe that will bring me a kindred spirit.
Thanks for the advice about begonias. I think my mistake has been in too little light and too much water. They seem to just rot at the base. I got them at Produce Junction and they were beautiful when I got them...thanks for your thoughts. Wow. I got way off topic on this one. Sorry!!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 9:38PM
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All the AVs I have bought are now freshly potted, the plant shelf with lights has been set up, the plants are on their trays and the leaves are on the bottom shelf all sitting in the bottom of one of those underbed plastic storage containers (because it is almost 4 feet long and now all the leaves can be watered at one time).
I mounted strips of black lucite hanging down from the tops of the top 3 shelves so I don't have the lights glaring at me.
I really feel like I got a lot accomplished.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 5:03PM
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Sounds like you had quite a day. I just filled up wicking resevoirs today and felt like I had accomplished something. lol


    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 8:04PM
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Hi Toni,

I have gotten my gesneriads from several different places. Some from a store in town, some on Ebay and some from friends. Alsobias are closely related to episcias. In fact they were once thought to be episcias until they were separated and given their own genus.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 8:08PM
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Also, my alsobia is dianthiflora.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 8:09PM
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Time to put your feet up, have your favorite beverage close at hand, play some favorite music, and daydream about all your new plants.

You did good!


    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 8:09PM
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M3, you're the second person, (this week) who mentioned their 'kitty' feared T-storms. Rub her head, talk softly, explain, 'mom' won't allow anything to happen to you. Does ME get a lot of rain?

Nina, It's actually more than 20 yrs. LOL...aside from sowing seeds in my family outdoor garden at age 11, w/o knowing what the heck I was doing, I purchased my first houseplant at 18 yrs old..that was 37 yrs ago. So, add 17 years to the 20..LOL..How embarrassing!
In the beginning most plants died from too much TLC..in other words, overwatering. I can't begin to tell you the number of AV's I killed. Not intentionally of course.
One time, (late 70's) I assumed potting an Av in a super large container would grow 4' or taller..LOL. You can figure out the results. After reading and rereading every book I got my hands on, I learned the tricks of the trade. But still have a zillion questions that need answering.
Nina, you have 8 children??? Wow, no wonder you gave up plants..when would you find time? LOL I'm assuming they're grown, which means you now have time to pursue a wonderful, relaxing hobby.
Yes, it'd be great having a neighbor who shares our love of plants..My friends/family either don't give a hoot or live far/out of state.
We send each other cuttings though.
Nina, are you going to sell your plants in hopes of finding someone who shares your interest? Good luck..I truly hope you meet someone.
There's a man down the street who dotes on all plants..His wife doesnt' share his interest.LOL..Isn't that the way it goes? Other than him it's hopeless.
We've lived here 20 yrs. Our front and back yard was covered in dead grass, (temps were in the 100's and no one watered) totally dead bushes, and weeds over 4' out back. It took time and work, but eventually looked decent. Little by little (when hubby was at work) I'd dig sections of grass and add perrenials..LOL..now the entire front side has flowers. In fact, most of the front, and part of the back is the same..grass is getting scarcer and scarcer..LOL..Most house plants are in back, some in front.
Every so often, ppl ring our bell, asking the name of a plant. We notice, more and more people are doing the same. Digging grass and planting flowers. Still, during the last 20 yrs, we haven't befriended anyone who grows house plants..in fact, most ppl buy plants in spring, like tropial Hibiscus/Azaleas and toss in the alley in autumn. What a waste!!
I KNOW what you mean about going to the store and buying a plant/s..you are talking to a mirror image of yourself..LOL
How many plants do you have? Are you now collecting AVs?
Other plants?
At least you live in a nice, warm climate..that sure helps. Wish I could say the same; soon plants will be coming indoors. sigh.
Let us know how your sale goes. You never know, someone might come along, in which you'll find your kindred spirit.
Begonias aren't the easiest plants to grow..they need humidity, but don't like wet feet. If possible, try Wax begonia..this way you'll get a feel for their care. Keep us posted, Nina.

Lucille, you did it!!! Congrats..Now that the hard part is over, all you have to worry about, (at least until they need larger pots) is water and fertilizer. Of course there's always clipping faded flowers and inspecting for pests, but that's trivial to what you've accomplished.
How did you test go?

Larry, I researched Alsobia..the Dianthiflora is gorgeous..the white flowers are adorable. I love their flower texture and shape. Do they require a lot of humidity?
One thing that confused me was, while researching, Wikipedia said, dianthiflora and punctata are succulents..Is that correct?
Like most other sites discussing Alsobia, they all stated Alsobia were once related to Episica. Is Episcia tropical or succulent?
I'd love to get hold of Ember Lace, but it's almsot impossible. They're bought before the seller posts..LOL.

Have a great wkend. Toni

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 4:41PM
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Hi Toni,

I really prefer alsobia dianthiflora over punctata because it is a smaller plant in the flowers are whiter. Are alsobias succulents? The definition of a succulent is that the plant stores water in its leaves, stems or roots. There definitely is some water retention in the leaves of the alsobia, but not much more than an African violet. Some people consider African violets to have some succulent properties because of the amount of water in its leaves. Consider Seth's violet. It has not been watered for probably a month and there is a good chance that it will be saved. I think that the term succulent is a broad term and that there is a full spectrum when one uses the term succulent. I would not put an alsobia in the same class as an aloe for instance. I even think that a geranium is more succulent than an alsobia. I don't know of that answers your question.

As you would guess that if an alsobia has some succulent tendencies that it would not need real high humidity. I have never grown my alsobia in a high humidity environment. I grow them in the same environment I do my African violets. I also wick water them. I've never grown them in a terrarium though and do not know what they would do under those conditions.

I would not call episcias succulent. Most need to be grown in a terrarium environment to do their best. Although I do have one episcia call "Strawberry Patch" that does just fine outside of a terrarium. It even flowers for me. Again I have it on a wicking saucer.

I can't really say that I'm an expert on alsobias. Or even episcias. I am kind of hoping Irina will drop by and give us some of her expertise on this.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 6:16PM
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Hi Larry..I guess succulent has several meanings. The reason I asked is because Wikipedia labeled Alsobias as succulent.
As for succulents and humidity. Do or have you ever grown Peperomias? Though they are succulents, (thick leaves/stems) they prefer humidity, especially the Pep called, (sorry only know common name) Watermelon Peperomia. Leaves resemble watermelon.

I've heard of Strawberry Patch...it has quite a bit of pink, right?
Are you familiar with Ember Lace? Larry, if you ever see one for sale, (as long as it's not over 10.00) please let me know..
A woman on Ebay sells Ember Lace Episcia occssionally, but she wants a small fortune. I've bought plants/leaves from her in the past, and was disappointed. AVs were so tiny, I feared touching them. Considering they were Standards, there was no reason plants/leaves were so darn tiny.

I have a question now that we're discussing leaves..Let's start with standard AV's. When a leaf is removed for rooting purposes, approximately how large should the it be? The times I've given away AV leaves for rooting, the leaf was about 3x2 1/2" and stem 2". I've never rooted a mini so have no idea on size.
So, my question is: When I won leaves (Standard size AV) on Ebay, what size should leaves have been?
A few that arrived were small..
The leaves were about 1/2-3/4" and stem less than 1/2"..Isn't 1/2" too small to root? Those with short stems died. Was it my fault? Is there anything I could/should have done to prevent leaves from dying?
One set, (2 leaves) were 8 and change, plus shipping.
Oops, gotta run to the store..lol..Toni

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 7:02PM
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Well, I didn't have my sale. I woke to a dark sky and rumblings of thunder. I LOVE a rainy day, especially on a Saturday when I get to sit on my enclosed porch before hubby is awake, drink my coffee, and observe what's happened overnight with the plants. I swear they look better aftr 12 hours, but that could be the proud mom in me...Anyway, storms threatened all day (but they never happened) and I got off doing other things. I wore myself out Friday, my day off, just doing plants. Once I got started there were more and more things to do, so I made a day of it and was pretty tired even today. (We must be about the same age because I was 18 36 years ago!)
Anyway, I have close to two hundred plants. And more on the way--lots of propagating experiments going on here.

After reading up on all the AV propagation tips I decided to get scientific and try my hand at it, to see which method worked best. I have about 7 mature AV plants. I had tried removing leaves and placing them in a plastic covered glass of spring water. Nothing happened after 2 weeks, so I took those leaves and put them in two rows in my propagation case and did not apply rooting hormone. They are in Miracle Gro potting soil mixed with coarse perlite.
Then I cut fresh leaves off the plants, dipped them in RH and put them in a row, appropriately labeled, and watered lightly and covered with my dome. I'm looking forward to seeing it there is any difference in the results.

So after that I noticed that a couple of my planters with mixed green plants in them needed some attention. I have been quite pleased in my attempt to make planters. I got some baskets at Goodwill, complete with liner, the kind you pay $50 or $0 for at the florists, you know? They've all done pretty well. ONe had a wandering jew type plant with iridescent leaves that was going crazy, really dominating the basket, so I cut that back and of course had to root the clippings, and so the day went. Perfectly pleasant and supremely enjoyable. My two youngest daughters happened to be away from home this week (16 and 13) and hubby was at work so I had the whole day free of responsibility. I loved it!
You are in Maine, right? I would love to live there. I visited there once as a child a long time ago. I do not like the congestion and pollution of where I live, even if it is warm.. My ideal is a log cabin in a meadow with plants inside and out and time to quilt in between tending them.

Sounds like you have done a lot both with your yard and with getting neighbors interested in horticulture (maybe they are just embarrased at the comparison of your property and theirs!)

My husband likes plants--- The outside ones, and spends his Saturdays working out in the yard all day. He shows some interest in my house plants but not enough to get as excited as I would like him to be!
I tend to overwater too--loving them to death. I know that's what I did wrong with my begonias. I still have a couple and I put one particularly soggy one that I had left out in the rain in a pot that didn't drain well, into a clay pot. Maybe that will help. I moved it inside and put it in a sunny window. More light, less water, as you suggested.
I went to Lowe's the other night and got sad and mad because there were so many wilted, droopy plants- fittonia especially. When I told the girl at the register she said, "Yeah!" and threw up her hands like, "What am I supposed to do about it?!"

I know what you mean about people buying plants for the summer and leaving them out at the curb come October. I've picked up a few like that...take care,talk to you soon.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 8:33PM
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Hi Toni,

Yes "Strawberry Patch" is quite pink. It can also have some green down the middle. I'm not familiar with episcia "Ember Lace". If I see one cheap I'll let you know.

A 3/4 inch by 1/2 inch standard leaf seems pretty small. I have successfully started a standard violet with that small a leaf when I had a plant with severe root rot. But then I am pretty good at starting leaves. A 1/2 inch stem is probably as short as you would want it to be, however it really isn't too short. If you're having trouble with leaves with a short stem rotting it is probably the environment you are starting them in. That said, I do believe that a 3/4 by 1/2 inch leaf is pretty small. They say that the optimal place to harvest a leave from an African violet is around the third row of the rosette. A leaf the size that you describe would be either a second row or even a first row leaf. Again it's not impossible to root a leaf of that size. After all miniature leaves are much smaller than that and they can be rooted very successfully.

If you're having trouble with rooting African violet leaves with short stems then your rooting mix is probably too moist. I believe I said this in an earlier post, but I can say it again here. Most of the trouble people have with rooting African violet leaves is that the rooting medium is too wet and/or soggy. African violet leaves can be rooted in a medium if that is barely moist. I have accidentally neglected to pay attention to African violet leaves where the rooting medium has dryed out inside their plastic bags. Even with that they sprouted roots and even sent up babies. Now the soil was probably not completely dried during that entire period, but the soil was completely dry when the babies emerged. I don't recommend rooting violets that way, but it just shows that less is more when it comes to rooting African violets.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 11:13PM
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