Do people routinely achieve at home what I see at Pikes?

Begonia2005(7)September 2, 2012

This is, in fact, a sort of follow-up to my other thread where I was asking about why my AV-s no longer bloom. of them clearly got root-rot, leaves were limp and did not seem to recover, roots looked I threw it way. And like someone here once described ..."when you give a mouse a cookie"...because I threw it away, I had to buy a replacement.

I picked again a classic, crazy blue-violet ruffled one - an absolute beauty. Pretty large too. Fool bloom, tons of flowers, incredible color, the works.

What troubles me is that, based on my experience, once this cultivar-induced blooming goes away, it will never look the same again.

So my question is: do some people actually manage to make them bloom again like they were when they got them from the store?

I am attaching some pictures here. The blue one is the new beauty, just arrived from Pikes (seems very healthy).

The burgundy one is one I have had for 6 months and it qualifies as one of my successes as it is still miraculously blooming while the others have completely ceased to bloom and one got complete root-rot;...but as you can see, the bloom is pretty pathetic compared to what you get from the store the first time. I should note that the burgundy one was almost as full when I first got it from the store.

So ...anyone makes them bloom again like the cultivars do?

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And the new on and the old one (6 months in my care) side by side...

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 1:52PM
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nyxx(z7 Virginia)

Here is a picture of Rob's Penny Ante,

And Aca's Glamour Puss

I bought both of them a few months ago as starter plantlets so this is the first time they have bloomed. With that said I can't say for sure that this isn't a straggly blooming for these particular plants but they look pretty full to me. I would say 7 out of 10 times my plants bloom fairly full. Then there are the 3 times I just repotted not long before or didn't add water before the cup empty. Or some other little thing I did slightly different that time.

So from my perspective and seeing pictures of others plants on here I would say yes the home grower can achieve the same blooms as the commercial growers.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 3:31PM
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Hey Begonia ...

Happened to see your question and thought I'd share.

I've grown Violets from a leaf that look as good as the one you just bought.

I'll attach a photo after my comments.

It all comes down to honing your skill at growing the plants.

For most of us, it's just something that comes to us by trial and error, but we often are helped by other's experiences, as well.

I would say that the following are the main keys to successful growing ...

* Determining the ideal amount and scheduling of watering, plus using the right size pots (never too big) ... this avoids plant death.

* Provision of adequate LIGHT ... without this, your plants won't bloom.

* Provision of adequate FOOD ... this will keep your plants healthy, growing, and blooming.

* Avoidance of plant problems (PESTS) ... avoids losing all of the benefits of your hard work ... to a opportunistic bug.

* Planting your violets in the best soil-mix. This one is newer for me. The lighter (i.e. fluffier) the mix, the better. Right now I use Miracle-Gro Potting Mix. It's pretty fluffy, but even it should be mixed with some Pearlite to open it up more (to let the roots breathe).

* Finally, some violets just grow better/easier than others. The one in the photo is "Lyndon Lyon's" Private Dancer. I've had it for about (5) years. It is easy to grow, and is almost always in bloom.

If you master these points ... your plants will grow and bloom like the one you just bought.

I heard or read this recently ... the difference between a casual AV grower ... and a master AV grower ... is the amount of attention you give to your plants. The master grower will check his/her plants DAILY ... to make sure that their growing conditions are as optimal as possible.

And now ... the picture ...

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 4:06PM
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nyxx(z7 Virginia)

I don't know why this one didn't show up last time so try it again.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 6:01PM
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Well...that gives me hope.

Mistakes I did with the ones I bought 6 months ago: over-potted, did not use humidity tray, left my husband with them for 2 months while I was out of the country and he did not feed them - just watered. I guess these were enough to mess them up.
This time I will be doing everything right and I really hope they give better results this time.
I love that exlposion of bloom...but instead, all I got was a few miserable spindly flowers, at best.

Of course, I am still trying to recover my remaining old ones who are now small in diameter because they lost the lower leaves and they continue to refuse to bloom.

The one I got recently (the blue one) also seems to have a serious genetic propensity to bloom a lot, because I remember the old ones didn't have that many flowers even when I got them from the store. I remember they were quite full, a far cry from where they are now...but they were not like this one.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 6:57PM
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As for light...I don't know how I could do any better. I have them on an Eastern window ...they get as much bright (but not frying) light as they are going to get in this house. I can't use fluorescent lights where I have them, as I like them mainly for decorative purposes.
That is, I would not be interested in growing them in basements or other places where they can't be routinely admired.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 7:00PM
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Hi Aegis,

Wht a gorgeous violet you have there. I am inspired and have hope that someday I will also have an av as gorgeous as yours one day.

I hear what you are saying about using av for decorative purposes. I have a similar feeling, in that I too want to be able to enjoy them while they are blooming. With this in mind I have a growing spot (under opague skylights in foggy CA) and a show place in the Kitchen Bay Window.
I do hope you experience some great success using the great advice from Aegis.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 8:30PM
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For additional light, you can put the new spiral CFL fluorescent bulbs in any variety of decorative lamp fixtures.

I use a combination of natural light (windows) and artificial light.

Another example of what you can achieve ...

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 10:28PM
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Everyone's violets are beautiful; and I am crazy about Aegis' blue color!
There is somethhing about those dark blue, classic violets that no other varieties seem to do it for me.

I am not sure where I could fit some decorative light fixtures, but I am hoping the natural light they get during the day should do the trick.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 10:34PM
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nyxx(z7 Virginia)

The natural light from a window can indeed do the trick. I raised mine in windows for years with great success. I just have to make sure to turn them on a regular basis. During the winter months you will probably find they don't bloom as well due to the decrease in sunlight. They do bloom just not quite as much. Hubby set up some lights on a table in the basement for me and I rotate my plants so that I have blooming plants in my windows pretty much all year. When the blooms fade I clean up the plant and change it out with one from under the lights. Not only do I have the full blooms all year now I also have room for twice as many plants. Well I should say quadruple lol First my hubby got me some of the hanging window plant shelves from amazon. Then he built me the table and light in the basement. He even thought ahead and built the table big enough for even more plants. Anyway you can if you have room on end tables just stick a plant or two under the lamp in the living room with the twirl light in the lamp if you find one needs more light in the winter. As the saying goes, where there's a will there's a way.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:03AM
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I was wondering if this would work. I have one spot on a plant stand which sits at the window, but the living room floor lamp could also be brought to shine right above the stand. This lamp has an incandescent bulb and is open towards the ceiling (as shown). The plant would be about 30 inches below from the light source. Would that do any good?
I know that plants must be kept far enough away from incandescent bulbs because they put put a lot of heat.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 12:43PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Begonia -

there are things that come with an experience and a desire to perfect your growing skills.

Yes - the show quality plants grown by amateurs easily surpass anything that you can get from commercials - unless they grow plants for a commercial exibit of course.

Show quality plants are grown under fluorescent tubes - not window and not decorative lights. There is a separate class on the show for window grown plants - and even they are quite good - you can always see it. Commercial growers keep their plants in greenhouses with controlled light, humidity, fertilization etc. - and unless they are in Florida - with supplemental lights.

If you have an ambition to grow superplants - you need to get the setup for them - growing stand, trays, wicks, correct soil and fertilizer - and do quite a strict routine. There is a book by Pauline Bartholomew - Growing for show - annd you can purchase it from AVSA website.

So far I think that your plants do quite OK for windows and you already learned a lot.

Regarding this poor plant in a double ceramic pot
under a torchier lamp - I would say - it doesn't have a chance to bloom - it is overpotted and severely lacking light. It would do better on the window. You can purchase a light meter and measure the light just above it - and it will be like 100 foot candles - while for them to bloom - they need 600-800.

It is not a rocket science - and big commercial growers have it all on a calendar - and they just keep churning plants every 4 months. Since you do not need to churn anything - you just want to improve your skills - if you have a horizontal surface to hang a shoplight above it and put trays with fertilizer solution and wick a dozen of plants - you can grow a dozen of quality plants - no worse than Aegis - and if you give them more space (yeah, who is talking - mine are on the top of one another too) they will easily grow into show winners.

So - get yourself some books - the above mentioned Pauline, something by Melvin Robey - the best one is 320 pages long - and plan. By the way - the best plant is grown by you from a leaf - it will always surpass the one you bought "finished" - because it will be used to your condition and thrive - while the one from the store will go into shock and decline - because it is missin its greenhouse.

Good Luck


    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 1:44PM
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Begonia ... what would you think of using a lamp like this one ...

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 3:24PM
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Hi Irina,

First thank you for all the details - as I think you clarified quite a few things for me and that helps a lot.
I did have a hunch that I would not be able to get that explosive bouquet of blooms (like my violet from Pikes has now)...only by placing them at the window and doing everything else just right.

I am, of course,a bit disappointed as I really love lots of blooms but I am not interested in growing AV-s under special fluorescent lights, commercial style.
I simply want them to decorate my living room on the runner table I have across my bay well as a corner piece with three shelves I have in my kitchen where there are lots of windows and the best light this house can get.

Regarding the input you gave me, I just wanted to say that the double ceramic pot that you saw is actually much smaller than it looks. It is one of those "water from below" pots where a squatty, shallow, smaller pot in which the AV is planted, sits above a much bigger, fatter pot that is supposed to hold water.
I do not actually use it to "water from below"...I water from the top anyway.
I will attach a picture tomorrow with the actual pot only (without the water holder) so you can see how much smaller it actually is. Maybe you can let me know - after you see the picture - if you still think it is over-potted.
You also said that the plant would do much better in a window than under that light. fact, IT IS in a window, and it just happens to be one of the most luminous spots I have in the house. In that spot, it gets a lot of sun in the morning until 1:00pm or so; or at least as much sun as it's going to get in this house. (I admit we do not have the brightest house ever...). The picture you saw was taken on a very cloudy day.
I was thinking to use the lamp to bring with it some supplemental light - but I am not counting on it as the main light source. My Eastern, bay window is going to have to do (I have attached a picture).

I am certainly off tomorrow to get a light meter from Home Depot because I am clearly not understanding this light situation just playing by the...well...eye. So far I have read that if you put your AV-s in an Eastern facing window, they should get enough light.
I did just so but the reality is that by 1:00pm the sun is moving on the other part of the house and the bay window is no longer bright for the rest of the day.

That being a lamp like Aegis suggested might be an option. The lamp could just co-exist on that runner table with my AV-s...but it is not clear if it could cover all three of them.

Also, I did read Melvin Robey's book but I think it is the short version (the one about the basics, with Q&A-s) because it certainly doesn't have 300+ pages.

I am clearly still learning. Any other advice based on the pictures I posted would be highly appreciated and would surely do a lot more than book reading.

Thank you so much again!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:51PM
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Nice bay windows perfect drapes and a good sun location.If it comes up missing, I want your brown SWC. I'm not the biggest fan of the white pots for AV's it sounds like you have a good handle on them for a while. Not a fan of black the upward curves of the table would deprive me of adding a couple more items on it but the height is good. I agree 100% your pic frames and mirror will add alot of charm for your AV growing table.

Doesn't apply to you but, all natural lighting AV growing for me is on a second floor bay window. My 2nd floor bays collect more filtered sun during the summer months because it's above the tree line sometimes resulting in a 10 month blooming season for some AV's
On my first floor bays like your first floor bays and natural lighting consider: The lower and more direct shorter time sunlight will be available for AV's when the trees in yard loose leaves.

Winter time here snow and sub zero temps out side VS heat inside. ( Maybe a fib ) If your comftable inside then your inside gowing plants are comftable. Not knowing your actuall zone and windows I'd check the windows in concern of ice frost being seen on them and add distance away from windows if palm of hand is chilled inside by temps outside.

No promises but first floor windows maybe a bit more sunlight time as a result of the leaves being gone is also possibe for you as well and definatly brighter sun if reflected off snow.

Worst critique is on your stand up lamp: In my opinion it might be to tall. The light cast up where your violet is. Even for a stand up light if the light cast downward and with right light bulb(s) the leaves would be AV relaxed not reaching/stretching up as the ones in your pic do. Aegis shows a pic of very resonable and good AV lighting assitance

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 12:57AM
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Thank you mrlike2you!

I am in the South (Atlanta) and we are very far from frost here. My kids still go to school in shorts and short sleeve.

As for the lamp in the picture, it really is no big deal. It was normally sitting a few feet away, but I thought I might as well move it and set it above one of the AV that sits at the window. Again, I was not relying on the lamp anyway, I was counting on the natural light at the window.
I didn't worry about frying the plant because, like you said, it is far enough from the plant; but I thought it would still bring some extra light to the natural window light; better than nothing.
After I talked with all of you here, it is clear that during the fall-winter months the window will not provide enough light.
Yes, this bay (the only one I have) is on the first floor and when it is sunny outside, it does get bright light from morning to 1:00pm. After 1, the light goes on the other side. So that would be the duration. As for intensity...I really don't know how much it is as I was gone almost the entire summer so I didn't get to study it in a "plant" context.
I do know that it gets quite bright provided there is a sunny day outside (which in the summer it always is, here in the South).
But now summer is gone and I think I will just need to get a couple of those fluorescent desk lamps and be done.
They will not take care of ALL of my AV-s but the idea of rotating plants is great. I have a total of 6 and I need to stick with this number.

As for the white pots, any ideas as to why you did not like them as much? As you can see, I placed my most cherished AV, the blooming blue one, in one of those - so I really don't want to mess this one up. At first, I was afraid I would over-pot if I put it there, but when I saw the pot it came in from Pikes was not any smaller than my glazed white pot, I went ahead and used it.
The plant's diameter is 14 and the pot's is 5-6. Not exactly 1/3 but...
My biggest fear with this one is that it is glazed so it will act like a plastic one. I hate plastic pots as they caused the soil of my older AV-s to get water-clogged.

If you think this pot (ceramic white, thick, glazed from Walmart) is too big, just like Irina thought that my other one (not blooming currently) is over-potted in the double-ceramic one, should I do a re-potting in smaller containers for each one of these two, even though I re-potted them recently after a I brought them from the store?
If I did this to correct the potting mistake, would I subject the plants to too much stress if I moved them again?

Finally, a last question I have: I hear everyone saying "change the soil the AV-s come in from the store as it is too heavy, and use a combination of peat moss, perlite, vermiculite and AV soil instead. I did just that every time but all I can say is that the soil from the store seems to me a lot fluffier than what I obtain by doing the recommended mix. The store seems to use exclusively peat moss which is very fluffy. I never understood why I have to change the soil from the store if it seems so light.
When I change them in my mix, they seem to sit in something much heavier and gritty than what the store had. But I followed the instructions and used 1/4 AV soil, 1/4 peat moss, 1/4 perlite and 1/4 vermiculite.

Again, sorry for the bombardment with questions and I thank everyone who had the patience with my ramblings and pictures... but this time I am determined to get this right. :-)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 8:17AM
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nyxx(z7 Virginia)

If you are getting the vermiculite from lowes or walmart then I'm pretty sure that it is super fine, reminds me of glitter. I too did this as it was all I could find in my area. Vermiculite retains water as does perlite, so once the super fine stuff gets wet it is worse then regular african violet soil in my opinion for being compacted around the roots and holding too much water. If you follow the link below it should take you to some 1:1:1 mix on Amazon. I don't know if it will take you to the right picture, but there is a picture of the 3 ingredients laid out in separate piles with a nickle next to them so you can get a good idea of the size of the coarse perlite and vermiculite. This is what I use for my AVs both the standards and the minis. Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: 1:1:1 mix

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 9:34AM
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Begonia If you are concerned that Plastic pots caused the soil to get waterlogged, I think it indicates that either you are using too much water or the mix is too heavy.
One way out of this is to switch to Texas Potting.
This takes all the guess work out of watering and even if your mix is very heavy it still wont over absorb the water.
In this pic the flasks contain one inch of perlite and two inches of mix. The tray is filled with water to a depth of one half of an inch and when all the water has been absorbed which can take up to a week or more, it is then replaced. It cant take up too much water - the perlite wont allow this to happen.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 9:43AM
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I have done what I read in AV books.
Water until the plant doesn't absorb anymore. So as soon as I see a bit of water coming out through the drainage whole I stop; but that still seems like a lot to me as during the first couple of days, the soil is certainly not just moist, it is more on the wet side.

I am not sure what Texas potting means.

I certainly can't change the soil now, and I had no idea that the regular vermiculite and perlite are bad for AV-s. I wish those who write books would specify that. All I read was mix vermiculite, perlite and peat moss...they didn't say mix "horticulture grade/course" vermiculite, don't get the regular type, etc.

Goodness...when they say AV-s are fussy, they actually mean it. In the meantime, I bought a decorative lamp for the table...and I hope that will help. I couldn't find wnything elongated that would work, so I surely cannot host more than two AV-s at a time under this lamp...perhaps not even two; they might have to take their turn.
But the lamp looks good on that table, so I went for it.

I will post a picture later.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 12:15PM
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The 1:1:1 mix looks nice but it sounds very expensive.

Perhaps I should just left the AV-s in the peat moss that they seem to come in? That seems the fluffiest to me.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 12:16PM
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I take it Texas Potting means watering from below (letting the pot sit in the water) and putting one layer of perlite at the bottom and the mix (however heavy) on top.

Your cups seem quite deep; what if you have those squatty, short pots usually recommended for AV-s? Would the perlite layer still be that thick?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 12:29PM
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...and this is the lamp I placed on the table, above the AV-s. Not sure how much of a difference this is going to make, but it looks pretty anyway.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 12:32PM
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Begonia ...

Very nice lamp setup you have ...

When it comes to lamps, ... keep these things in mind ...

* The light source (bulb) should be no more than 12” above your plants.

* The light source must be fluorescent (so as to contain all of the necessary spectrum of light).

* The lamp should use a STANDARD CFL bulb. This makes for easy replacement of bulbs.

I’ve gotten lamps that where it was difficult, if not impossible, to replace the bulb. The lamps should have a STANDARD light bulb socket.

* I use bulbs with DAYTIME light. That light best approximates the light from the sun.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 1:47PM
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Begonia ...

I got some of that really fine Vermiculite too, and it made my mix worse.

Now I just use the Miracle-Gro potting mix with some Perlite.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 2:02PM
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As for the lamp: yes, it is a standard lamp, I got a CFL bulb with 1700 lumens. Could have been brighter but we'll see how this one does. It sits about 10 inches above the plants.
I plan to do the same with another lamp I have upstairs (a very cheap, ugly one). In fact, I wanted to do so with a bulb I'd had for a while and which LOOKED fluorescent, but it did not write CFL on it. I managed to break it and since it says it contains mercury, I hope I didn't cause some sort of disaster disaster. I vacuumed everything off the carpet quickly good riddance, as I was not even sure it was an actual fluorescent light.
But the one in the living room seems to work nice.
If I manage to obtain nicer results like this, then light was probably the main culprit.

As for the you think I should now re-re-pot...given I have that very fine vermiculite in my soil which seems to make it heavier than the soil at the store was? I should have just used regular AV soil, some perlite and some peat moss. To me, peat moss seems the fluffiest thing around and stores appear to sell their plants exclusively in peat moss.

Any idea why?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 2:52PM
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As for the white pots, any ideas as to why you did not like them as much?

A second look at the very top pic I see a 4" pot inside a white 6" pot which works fine for standard AVs ..

The white pots and why I dont like them for standard AV's Size there to big. For other house grown plants drainage can be compromised if small slits are jammed with soil.

Then asked is ...As for the you think I should now re-re-pot...

100% of the time I'll agree that peat based soils do appear and feel fluffy but, do they let anyone wet it down before they buy it ?
Odd The answer to your why is a question and asked because the fluffy looking peat compacts very good when wet if too wet then peat turns into mud for roots to drowned in or peat becomes almost as hard as a brick when dried. Either wet muddy peat or hard dry peat results are usually restricted healthy root growth.

Why they offer peat based soils: the stores already knows how to make money off plants that we try to keep alive. If the plant grows for a few flowery months all is good, but if they dont grow to our expectations of several years then where do we look ? About 96% of the time we dont consider soils or which is the right soil.

If there where a custom mix available for most of the common big box store plants they certainly wouldn't sell them to the public. They already know the other bagged soils just dont work. Big profits aren't made by selling items that work.

Not really the big box stores & common local garden centers cant sell custom mixed soils cause we make them ourselves or know someone who can make and/or offer a custom made soil to us...

Fun stuff I found today:: Atacama desert has never had rain in reported human history and is one of the longest time periods known without a drop of rain.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 5:29PM
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Begonia yes I do put in a one inch layer of perlite in all my pots before the mix goes in. I used to have a bad habit of over-watering and I've learnt the hard way that it is a darn sight easier to recover an AV from under-watering than from over-watering. Sometimes my plants go for days sitting on an empty reservoir but the base perlite continues to supply the plants water needs.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 6:18PM
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"Waow" about the "soil" topic; so even THIS goes back to good ol' profits and the science of obsolescence! I almost can't believe that they do it on purpose.

That being said, I will take them AGAIN out of their pots as soon as it is time to water, will pot them one size down...and I will use a mixture of AV soil (1/4), perlite and peat moss ...and this time I will try the Texas style potting.

After all these...I'd better have it right and I'd better get more than a few miserable blooms on one out of 4 pots. :-)...

Thank you so much everyone for your guidance, I learned more today than I learned from X books and articles I read so far. Could not be more grateful!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 8:59PM
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Begonia2005(7) I could possibly be done asking questions.

So just one more: how many lumens should the CFL bulb in that lamp should ideally have ?
I have 1700 right now...should it be more?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 9:38PM
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This response is a copy from prior postings on GW I was unable to find comments regarding how close to the plant the light lumen should be measured or length of time that light should be cast for AV's..... Violet usually require about 929 - 1115 lumens, 10,000 to 12,000 lux, or about 900 to 1100 foot candles.

I find a range of 14-16 hours of lighting to be sufficient also relied on is the natural sun window exposure light that you also have.

Shorter sun exposure during winter months would require additional lighting. I attempt to keep the added bulb light and natural sun light total time to no more than 18 hours per day.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 8:28AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Mrlike -

I think 900-1100 footcandles is too much, lux and lumens less important - it all depends on how far is your source of light from the plant. I do not think you can buy lightmeter at HD, more possible in a good nursery, about $30-35.

As a supplemental light I would think 27 wt spiral bulb that says use 27 wt, but gives you 100wt worth of light is just what needed - and probably not for the whole day - since Begonia has pretty good natural light. Exactly like MrLike advises - in winter extra light will make them bloom. I just wanted to say - that you have great windows, as long as there is no direct sunlight on your plants - do not close the curtains - utilize whatever comes naturally, only close windows for privacy when the sun goes down.

Regarding double ceramic pots - they are not good for many reasons. I would use it as a cachepot and put a plastic one inside. To start with - they absorb salts from the soil and burn the roots, like any porous clay pots,they require about 50% perlite in a soil, they get clogged really fast and stop letting the water in - and to restart them you need to bake them in a kiln with 1500F. And they are expensive to boot. And they probably killed more violets that anything else combined - that's why people think that violets are hard to grow. Some people with good growing skills and patience do decent job with them, but it is like swimming against the current.

Why I am set on fluorescent lights - you can get a small and very attractive setup, the plants look gorgeous under the lights - flowers and leaves - and they bloom exactly 10 months a year. Cannot beat it with the window.

Atlanta has several violet clubs - and plenty of great growers. Check AVSA website for affiliates - and check the coming events for the local Shows. We will continue discussing things here - but Begonia - you need to see them and truly enjoy!

Good luck everybody!


    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 7:07PM
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So Irina...I take it you recommend plastic pots over ceramic?
Everything I had in a plastic pot did poorly so far. The only thing I had in a ceramic pot - a Peace Lily - is also the only plant that has been doing great from the very beginning. It is true I water more often but I do not fear the soil getting waterclogged.
When I came back from overseas and attempted to rescue my plstic-potted AV-s, I put them in terracota pots and they seem to be doing well now (except that one that got complete root rot and I threw away). No flowers yet but they have nice, hard leaves.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 8:54PM
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Also...Yey with the light! At least I got this one right.
The lamp you saw in the picture is exactly what you suggested: CFL, 26w (worth 100w regular), 1700 lumens.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 8:58PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Lumens - this is about how much this lamp emits - but the amount of the light reaching the plant decreases as as square of the distance. So double the distance - the amount of light decreases 4 times. Footcandles - that's the measurement of the light density at the level of the plant crown.

Anyway - we brough this bulb to the club and measured the light density on the plant 6 inches from the CFL - and it was not enough (something like 250fc)- so we cannot have it as an only source of light in a dark - but it will work as a supplemental source beautifully.

There is another thing - there is a flexibility - you can have 500 fc for 16 hours, or 800fc for 10 - and the plants will bloom in both cases. So - probably window in a middle of the day is more than 1000 (direct sun outside is 10000 fc) - but it is only for a short time. So - if you will turn your window plant quarter way every several days - you will help even distribution of light, symmetrical growing and better blooming.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 1:01PM
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Given the lamp is about 8 inch away from one of the plants, and a bit further from the that bulb good enough?

Also, in the afternoon/evening, when there is obviously very little to no light coming from the window...should I have additional lighting? I only have this lamp over them, , 8 inches away. I know they wouldn't get LOTS of light from the lamp in the afternoon/evening, but I suppose this amount, as little as it is, still adds up to the light they received during the day from the window, is that correct?
Otherwise, why do it at all?

Or maybe I should get an even brighter CFL?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:59PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Begonia - more than 26 wt CFLs are huge, ugly and expensive.

Keep your curtains open and put the lamp on the timer (Walmart has them) so it will turn itself off at 1am or something. The plant will bloom, just not 10 months out of the year, it will take time in between to build the energy.

I am attaching the example of overpriced but very cute table fixtures you can grow your violets with (T8 tubes only, not T5s). Since I am cheap and do not care about appearances - I can do a similar thing with 2x24" grow sticks from WM (T8s, $10.47 a piece) as long as I can figure out to there I can attach them. Lets say to a piece of white board i can hang from the ceiling of the bay window - plus a timer so I can regulate the time it is on.


Here is a link that might be useful: table light stands

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 4:58PM
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Waow, those look really nice. Does the difference in price reflect the length of the fixture, namely how many plants you could fit under the fixture?

Also, I looked for the grow sticks on the WM's site but did not see them. Would you be able to post a link? I would appreciate it.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 7:45PM
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not this but from wally world not a bad price

After finding a mounting device for this one it might not be easy on the eye for you

There are other lighting tools at WM you can also use the search on the top of the page
Either blue line link will take you to them

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 11:10PM
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