Growing Robs' mini violets?

cyberdancerAugust 10, 2014

Hi all

I've been thinking of ordering some of Robs" mini violets. Would they do well in natural light (east window) or best under lights?
Any varieties you would recommend as best, would also be helpful.

Thanks, cyberdancer

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froeschli

I tried growing a few from leaf this spring, but they nearly all died because they got too cold. The only survivor was rob's jitterbug, that managed to produce two wee plantlets before croaking. I am babying them, and they are hanging in there....
I was given a rob's slap happy not too long ago - it is doing well enough, finally showing some variegation, but the blooms are a rather dull pink, not what I expected.
Sorry I am not much help here. I am growing under lights, and as long as all the windows remain closed, my AV's are doing great.

Karin

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 9:30PM
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cyberdancer

Oh goodness!!

I hope your luck improves. Sounds like I'm in for a challenge.
Thanks for responding.

cyberdancer

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:04PM
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fortyseven_gw

Rob's Love Bite grows symmetrically and does not sucker. I bought it from Lyndon Lyon's nearly one year ago. Lyon's has a nice assortment of minis from various hybridizers. I've bought around six as gifts. So far , no complaints. I also kept Old fashioned Rose, also fine with no suckers

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 11:14PM
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quimoi

I have grown some of Rob's over the years but didn't grow them in natural light. I don't remember if I tried or not. For best results, I would suggest a small light fixture. You can get a very nice selection of minis under one and all be happy.

Now I can tell you what varieties I have grown in natural light successfully. Ice Storm, Snuggles (although it's being cranky now), Snuggles Little Dreamer, Pixie Blue, Ness' Crinkle Blue. I had these in the window for years.

At the moment, I am also growing Baby Moonbeam, Jolly Jubilee, Country Romance, Smitten Kitten, a sport of Misty Miss, and 12 little Optimaras, nearly all of which are blooming heavily.

I grew Love Bite a number of years ago and it's nice but I seem to recall having it under the stronger part of the light. I don't know how big you want. Rob has the tinies and then the somewhat larger ones. Right now I love Chilly Willy which is small, variegated and blue. I've gotten mine from Violet Barn. His small ones have come beautifully grown. I really liked Outer Orbit which I grew under the stronger part of my lights to keep the variegation. Love Bite and Shadow Magic both seemed to fail for me after awhile but they were nice for a long time.

Pewter Bells is a lovely plant but tends to get a little large. You have to keep at it to keep it from becoming something in between a semi and a standard. OTOH, it's nice and I've been thinking about getting it again. Rob's Dandy Lion is unusual too. Fuddy Duddy kept getting powdery mildew for me but maybe that was just my plant.

Diana

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 9:43AM
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froeschli

Nah, the challenge wasn't the leaves, it was DH leaving the window open and turning the heat off both at the same time ;-) I lost a dozen plants as well, most of which optimaras.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 11:24AM
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froeschli

this is my "slap happy"

when i first got it, it was solid green (grown in a north window). these are the first blooms since i've had it, after being treated with forbid (thrips), which apparently can deform blossoms. i am hoping to see better blossoms next time around.

Karin

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 11:46AM
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petrushka

how about that yellowing in the center? is that normal?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 2:04PM
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froeschli

I am hoping it is the beginning of the crown variegation it is supposed to have ;-p
In any case it is scheduled to be repotted next weekend.

Karin

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 2:17PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

They'd probably be fine growing in a window. However I do think you get more bloom under lights.

I've got three growing in an eastern window but they are all standards so far. Mostly they were too big to keep in the trays under lights with the babies I've got, plus I can enjoy them more.

Don't know if there's a difference in light requirements as far as size, but I'll hazard a guess that if a standard is getting enough light then a mini would certainly do so also. I'll be moving a couple out pretty soon, so we'll see.

Our Russian Mavka has 20 2-inch sparkly blooms on it! We set it at the window right when it first started blooming about two months ago with just a couple blooms and it hasn't stopped yet. Now it's not a Rob's mini, but the principles are the same.

The thing we have to watch for here is winter time-they'll have to go elsewhere because the window sill is far too cold then. Thinking about extending the window ledges out eight inches or so, that may help.

Now that Diane has mentioned how big the pewter bells get, I can't wait for mine to grow faster! :-) Just got one and well, it's already got a sucker....dang it! But they're darn cute-as far as I can tell with the pictures I've seen!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 7:50PM
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cyberdancer

Thank you, everyone!

Great information and suggestions, just what I was hoping for.

froeschli, your SLAP HAPPY is beautiful. Great symmetry and healthy looking. I hope I can grow them that well.

I prefer semi-minis and I don't mind if they grow larger than they should. I've concluded that it's all going to be trial and error, so I'll experiment and see what happens.

cyberdancer

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 12:22AM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

I had a lot of trouble with Rob's plants. I got rid of a lot of them, but Rob's Little Pueblo is a great plant for me, its strong, very symmetrical and a good bloomer. Jitterbug is also good and so is Dust Storm. I guess it depends on everyone's conditions, but the highly variegated ones like Chilly Willy and others like that never bloomed for me.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:04AM
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quimoi

Minis often require higher light levels than standards. That's why it's hard to "mix and match" them in the same condtions. Snuggles Little Dreamer is quite nice, easy.

Pewter Bells becomes an ungainly looking plant, neither semi mini nor standard. This has been reported by quite a number of growers. Just be aware of this flaw.

I quit growing most of Rob's for a long time also. As I mentioned a couple of varieties just seemed to "burn out" for me and I've never figured out what happened there. Some do love Fuddy Duddy which, as I mentioned, was nothing but a powdery mildew magnet for me. Maybe I should have tried another one.

Chilly Willy is blooming but Rob's Twinkle Pink looks healthy but hasn't bloomed. I expect it needs more light but I'd fry the standards. I already have those minis elevated. See how tricky it is to mix them under the light?

Diana

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:28AM
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cyberdancer

Oh dear! Getting discouraged. Are Mas' standards any easier?

Which other hybridizers' minis would you consider easier? You have mentioned some, but in general or does it really depend on the particular plant? Guess I better do some more research.

Have any of you grown the Russian minis?

Thanks, cyberdancer

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 5:21PM
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snappyguy

I've grown some of Rob's mini/semi and trailers. They have all done well for me in windows and I grow all my plants in natural light. Currently, I have Rob's Humpty Doo, Boolaroo, and Sticky Wicket. Ultimately, what will grow well for you depends on your specific growing environment, but those have performed for me. Probably the best plant I have ever grown is a miniature trailer called Tiny Woods Trail. It grows evenly and is in constant bloom for me. Like many other trailers, the number of flowers is huge, and the flowers themselves are larger than would normally be expected on a trailer.

Mark

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 5:42PM
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quimoi

I don't think think the trailers and the single crowned plants are really in the same category, Mark. Obviously, it depends on your window too. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought we were talking about the semis and minis (not trailers).

Cyberdancer,

I am just now trying Ma's again. I had tried a couple earlier and didn't care for them so it's another go-round. I think I probably have about as much experience as most people with growing in natural light. It depends on your conditions and some plants will work out and others won't like it. Harbor Blue, Maverick's Faded Jeans, Tommie Lou, Nortex's Snowkist Haven, O. Manitoba, O. Texas, O. Chico, O. Dali - all no problem. Also Feather, Witch Doctor, Fredette's Evening Star, Happy Harold and Candy Fountain (standard trailer, but I just let it grow in a pot). Some of these are very vintage and not to everyone's taste.

If your windows get too cold (or too hot), the smaller pot will react to that faster. I've always grown in windows but generally had a light too so I could put them under the light if they didn't like the window.

If you want a beautiful standard that seems to prefer a window, get Private Dancer. You should have it anyway with your name :)

Pixie Blue likes the window. It's listed as a trailer but doesn't really "trail." It's kind of a shrubby little plant.

Every hybridizer has plants that are better and plants that are pills. Even Optimara has gems and some that aren't such easy care-free ones. At the moment, I'm having good luck with Little Cheyenne and Little Ottawa. Those are two you might like. They are all blooming well but those have a little better habit.

I have Rob's Vanilla Trail under a light and it seems to be doing well. You might try that one. I just haven't tried it in the window. (I have a plant of Rob's Argyle socks in the same window as the small Optimaras and I believe it is going to have to go under the light.)

I have a Russian mini ordered but haven't tried any. Don't get discouraged but try a variety.of hybridizers. All Rob's might not work. Some old ones are still staying around because they are good.

Diana

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:58AM
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froeschli

Vanilla trail is one I've wanted since I first saw a picture of it a year ago (I've only been growing av's for about year).

You can't know what grows well for you until you try it. I haven't got that much experience with different hybridizers, but the Canadian ones seem to do better for me than the others (figures, I am in Canada, an their growing conditions were probably similar to mine). So it may be worth trying some from your general area.
Optimaras are generally sturdy plants. And if you're working on learning how to grow successfully, I highly recommend their minis (little jewels and little Indian girls), they are cute, fun, and hard to kill, unless you have a penchant for too much water and cold temperatures. They will teach you about suckers etc. mine are all NOIDS with probable ID, but I am working on collecting as many of them as I can.
Also, with some plants, light isn't the only consideration. I have a mini, Von's small gift, which does ok wherever I place it light wise, but sulks if it isn't under a dome / in high humidity. I put it in a fish bowl, but I am considering just leaving it be, if it cannot cope with my 'normal' growing conditions...

Karin

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:14PM
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cyberdancer

snappyguy, thanks. That's good to know. I'll keep that in mind if I ever decide to grow trailers. Right now I don't know enough about growing those.

quimoi, LOL about Private Dancer. You have given me quite the list of varieties to think about. Really appreciate it. I'm putting everything mentioned on this thread on my want list. I'm also very interested in your Russian mini. Please post on its progress.

froeschli, you are right, you won't know what will grow 'til you try it. Yes, the optimaras are easy growers. I do grow the standards, so I really should try the minis. Hopefully, all in due time.

cyberdancer

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:01AM
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Linda

Cyber,

Bear in mind that different plants respond differently to different conditions. You have to use trial-and-error to see what grows best for you and it may be something that does not do well for someone else.

Violets that are hybridized and grown under greenhouse conditions are also judged for performance under those conditions. Their ease of growing may or may not translate to good growth under home conditions. You just have to try different hybridizers to see which ones plants do well for you.

Back to minis-I have several micros from Lyon that are growing great under lights. You have to remember to water more often as their teeny pots and teeny-tiny root systems can't store much water!

Linda

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 2:01AM
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daniel.edmondson

if i was going to grow any of the rob's under natural light it would be the trailer, they are the most vigorous growers.

Rob's Gundarooà(9294) 11/21/2003 (R. Robinson) Semidouble medium blue pansy. Medium green, plain.àSemiminiature traileràààà( PAULIâÂÂS-Best AVS)ÃÂ

ROB'S BOOLAROO (8053) 03/05/1994 (R. Robinson) Semidouble light pink sticktite pansy/bright blue fantasy. Medium green, quilted. Semiminiature trailer

I also find that
ROB'S ICE RIPPLESÃÂ (8610) (05/31/1997) ((Rob's) Large, lightly frilled semidouble white stars with excellent medium blue edging, wavy; glossy, medium green foliage; constand bloomer; eye catchingÃÂ Miniature

Rob's Smarty PantsÃÂ (8614 ) ( 05/31/1997)Frilled white stars edged in pink and speckled with blue. Medium green, wavy foliage.ÃÂ Miniature.

grow good under natural light!!!
I will let you know that if you buy any plants from The Violet Barn you should repot them in a light soiless mix. His mix is just to heavy for most home growers , you will over water them and they will quickly die of root rot

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 5:27AM
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quimoi

Those are lovely, Daniel. That is a good reminder about repotting. I did it pretty fast and forgot all about it. I usually do it with everybody's because I can't be messing with all those different mixes.

As to the Optimaras. I found them at Lowe's, for $2.89 in their little wicking pots with plastic slip pots. It was a great opportunity to try them. Some got potted up, some stayed in the little Optimara pots, which are really a nice small pot in a hard-to-find size. The largest is in the Solo (3-oz) cup size. All bloomed well except Little Comanche which looks fine but took nearly 3 months to bloom while the rest were blooming like mad. They are doing pretty well in moderate light. (I didn't get Little Hopi and I managed to disassemble Little Maya.) The two with the neater shapes and best blooms were Little Cheyenne and Little Ottawa, but you can't lose too much if you find these. What appears to be Little Creek is nice but more purple and not too little. I have leaves set of O. Little Moonstone and Rose Quartz (not from Lowe's).

I've seen Thunder Surprise listed as a nice plant (Rob sells that). I grow Ice Storm in the window and it's a trooper (Rob sells that). Just keep an eye on Ice Storm for birth marks. Blue and white varieties sometimes do that.

Be aware that your plant may not come in the right size pot or even labeled correctly as to size. Always check. Jolly Diamond was labeled as a semi-mini and it's a mini. It got potted into a condiment cup. The Optimaras I've just had to shift around according to how they've been doing. A few have stayed in their tiny pots; more got moved into Solo cup sizes.

Diana

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:49AM
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