New AV's en route

LunRTwilight(7)September 15, 2013

I'm so excited! I ordered two new AV's from Fancy Bloomers. It was so difficult to choose! I finally settled on Midnight Waves over Black Ace (the flowers were so similar in the photo, but I preferred the foliage on Midnight Waves) and Wrangler's Swinging Blues (I fell in love with the variegated foliage). Several of the ones I was interested in were out of stock :( but, that's okay. It gives me time to settle in my new arrivals before acquiring more.

They should arrive tomorrow. Is there anything I need to know when they arrive? How do I go about acclimating them to their new growing conditions? Are the variegated varieties more difficult to care for? I bought new 4" pots and I have a smaller, maybe 3" pot as well. They will be arriving in 2.5" pots, but they may be fine in those pots for awhile. Will my new babies need to be covered? Quarantined? How long?

Also, I've seen AV's grown in terrariums and thought this may be a good idea, particularly for suckers and leaf propagating (my aunt wants babies of my new plants when I get them). Has anyone tried this and what was the result? They look quite cute on Pinterest.


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I'm curious. Does anyone have Brass Band? The foliage looks almost like a dandelion weed, but it's kind of cute. The more I look at it, the more tempted I am to buy one of them as well.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 10:39PM
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my terrariums are probably a bit different than others', as mine are individual instead of very efficient, but i love them. they take up entirely too much room for a single super/micro mini, but dang they're cute.

these are my two one-gallon bowls, but i bought a half gallon bowl to try on a micro once i figure out which lucky plant is going to in it. :p

on a side note, all of the moss (not the pixie lichen, which i had to pay for) for the bowl on the left was collected for me by my brother and boyfriend when we went on our four-wheeling trip. it makes that particular bowl extra special.

[edit: found a better picture]

This post was edited by bttrflii on Mon, Sep 16, 13 at 1:09

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 1:04AM
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Bttrflii, do you leave the terrariums open as in the picture or can you keep them contained with a lid? I know the greenhouse effect is especially helpful for young plants, suckers, and leaf propagating, but I wasn't sure if it would be safe for a mature adult plant? Would the humidity cause rot?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 8:03AM
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mine are open, exactly like the picture. because the sides of the bowls are higher than the plants, the plants still get the humidity effect. as a matter of fact, sometimes i'll stick my nose right in there and just breathe in the smell of life (the combination of water, plants, and dirt). i keep one of my terrariums at work, so that's a very nice smell to have during stressful days.

i know closed systems have to have a much more concise water level, but my open ones are easy to care for. i have aquarium rocks underneath pete moss underneath the perlite+DIRT (yes, i said it again!) mix so that i can see how much water is in there. i generally let the rocks dry out before watering again, and so far the AVs love it. i haven't killed the twinkle blue in the right picture even after several months, and my loose noodle on the left is outgrowing the bowl. :)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 11:01AM
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Hi LunR,
Congratulations on your new violets on the way
from Fancy Bloomers. I am interested also to read
what advice other will give. I recently received
a bunch
from F-B. I got all 2.5" pots,
however, the plants were quite large. I let them
recover for a couple of days, then checked the
root system. Several were ready to be repotted.
Most have longer petioles. I will see how they
grow out. I isolated mine for a couple of days.
They are. They are very clean.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 4:18AM
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My new AV's should arrive today. This is going to be a long work day while I wait for the message saying that they've arrived.

I hope they arrive in good shape. If they need to be repotted, that's okay. I enjoy repotting them. There's something very satisfying about getting my hands dirty. I'll keep them at home for awhile before I bring them to my office at work, just in case. I want to get a leaf started from both plants right away, too, nothing wrong with an insurance policy.

I may need to play musical pots with some of my babies. I have some that are swallowed by their pots, so when I get some smaller pots, I will have lots of work to do. (Some may be smaller than standard, but I haven't a clue what any of them are as none of them have names to go with them save my best guesses). My local retail store has a poor selection of pots. I need to look at Home Depot or Pike's. (AV pots are hard to find with all the fanatics buying them up as soon as they hit the shelves haha). Ordering online is an option, but the shipping is just too expensive most places I've looked.

Does everyone mix their own medium? Or is there a pre-mixed formula that I can buy? What works best? I know the 1:1:1 ratio, but to save time, I didn't want to have to mix it myself (single mother of an energetic 4yo, so time is precious).

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 8:19AM
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I'm sure you will get additional advice but you always want to "isolate" from anywhere from a month to longer, as there is always the chance that your new violets may be carrying a danger to your collection unawares.

I have only procured violets from the most reliable vendors for a while now, ... and I've still seen some issues come in with some new arrivals (i.e. mites, thrips, mealy-bug, etc.).

I've got (2) plants now sitting in isolation which eventually showed thrips ...

I've had to toss up to 100 plants in one summer before because mites got into the collection at some point, so this is the risk you are taking if you don't adequately isolate.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 10:11AM
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Hi LunR and Aegis
Great advice about isolating new plants.
Donna of F-B has some helpful videos on
her website on potting and wick-watering
and her recommended mix. She also shows
how she uses deli containers as incubators.
These can also be used as saucers.

The plants were a bit fragile after being
shipped in a dark box for several days.
I live in a dry climate, so I left the new ones in a humid
bathroom with a lot of light during the day
for several days to help them revive.

A few dropped a few leaves when I unwrapped
them. I think the box had been jostled.
I am trying to start the leaves, but
only because they broke off. However, they
are probably too young.

Others on this forum will probably have advice.
In the past, when I have received a shipment
of new plants and leaves fell off, they did
not root, they were too young.

A new plant is trying to grow out
symmetrically, so it's probably best to
wait until the plant is more mature and
you can see the growth pattern, then
it will have enough leaves.
You mentioned a run on AV pots at your local
store, are you referring to the self-watering
AV pots? (I use plastic, mostly, either 2.5" or 4")
Donna of F-B recommends solo cups, she has
a demonstration of using a tool to cut holes
in the bottom. Others on this forum have
mentioned solo cups. Perhaps those are
more available in super markets.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 12:34AM
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Bag or dome your new little ones until they start to grow on their own. This will help much with humidity and aid in establishing the plants in their new locale.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 1:30AM
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Linda, thanks. I will do more of that.
I did it for a few that were tiny and delicate, they
seem to be doing well.
I looked at the photos that Polina posted
of the AV show last year, I saw Rob's table and how
they sold their plants. I then
realized I have to get transparent, clear plastic
to wrap my plants in. Not sure where I can find this
on short notice. I think the grocery store has "bouquet bags." I will try those, cutting them to size. At first I
thought I would use baggies, but they might crush the
leaves in transit.

Glad that you chose Midnight Waves. I have raised
this one for a few years. It is a good performer,
it stays compact in size and shapes well. It's a
sturdy plant.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 4:10AM
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Check a florist for clear bags. You might be able to get them there on short notice.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 12:11PM
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They're here!!! From left to right: Wrangler's Swinging Blues, Louisiana Lullaby (oddly enough, I did not order this one), and Midnight Waves!

I'm not sure if the third plant was a mistake or what, but it looks nice.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 4:41PM
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in my experience, sellers will often include a bonus plant of their choosing when you place an order. jack's violets did, the violet barn did 50% of the time, and fancy bloomers did. :)

the color of the leaves on that wrangler sure look awesome!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 5:32PM
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fortyseven, The Solo cups are a practical idea, but they aren't the most attractive container in the world. Still, I suppose it would do in a pinch. Yes, I was referring to the self-watering pots, but I'm fine with clay or plastic with drainage holes in the bottom. I just like something aesthetically pleasing that I can put on display at work.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 5:55PM
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lunar, you might take a look at canning jars a la african violet style. imo they're pretty attractive for not even costing $5, they wick (which i've had very good luck with so far), and you may even have some of the materials to make them already at home.

if you like the idea and are about to ask what to wick with, i personally got some nylon string but other people have many other recommendations and you can find threads about wicking on the forums here.

(ps this forum does not do so great about scrolling you to the correct post if pictures above it haven't loaded yet, so scroll down to my post on august 26th where i list different places to get the cups.)

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 8:12PM
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Awesome idea, bttrflii! I have read about wicking, and I just tried it out with one of my duplicates. It's only been 24 hours, but so far, so good. It's something I have to experiment with because I'm also trying one in a terrarium, and watering this one is difficult without wetting the leaves :/

I heard the nylon string works well. I've got some more ideas, when I get the materials, I'll post pictures and see if anyone else has tried it. This has turned into an addiction, and I get positively giddy when I'm working with my babies. It gets my creative juices flowing!!!

My new Wrangler has stolen my

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 9:37PM
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to my way of thinking, you better hide the wrangler or *i* might steal him from *you*!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:39PM
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Hi LunR (and to Linda, also, following reply to LunR),
Your plants from Fancy Bloomers look great! Donna
sends large plants! Yes, she usually includes a FREE
plant that goes with your color selection. You will love Louisiana Lullabye. Thanks for the advice on the cups!
I agree, in an office, you want something more attractive than solo cups. In the book "Growing to Show," she
talks about how to use an AV watering pot.

The link that was sent on the
various types of alternatives to cups or pots
was very interesting.

@ Linda
Thanks for advice on florist packaging!
I actually thought of that very thing!
Trader Joe's grocery store has plant and bouquet
bags, they were very kind to let
me take what I needed! (I buy plants and
flowers from them often.)

Today, one more idea ...
I got a shipment of violets from Jo's Violets.
She packaged them in tubes shaped from lightweight corrugated cardboard. She left the tops open,
then covered the tubes
with a thick layer of insulation, so that nothing moved
and no soil shifted.

All arrived in perfect condition, and are
easy to unpack as the only taping is a small
piece to secure the tube.

My plan is to first wrap the violets in cellophane
so that they can be displayed on the table, then
wrap each again in a tube of corrugated cardboard.

Well, just "thinking aloud"here.

Elsewhere, in these posts, I 'fessed up to a crime I did not
actually commit. Someone had commented that
if leaves "headed south," it could mean the plants
had chlorine toxicity.
I thought she meant pointing downward; she
probably meant dying. Several of my plants have leaves that drape downward, but are healthy. It is probably
just the way they grow, as others grow flat or upward,
under the same lighting conditions.

So, I now "plead the Fifth"-- I do not have to disclose
what type of water I use or how long I let it sit
to evaporate the chloramine (if it evaporates.)

My next task is to research
this forum about water.

The question that will be coming up next also is
how folks track themselves, or if they/you do ... Do you
use Excel or a hand-written notebook, or both?
Or print-outs in a binder with photos?
or folders on the computer? Are some "paperless"?
Do others love to have log books on their shelves?
All of these, or none of these?

Joanne 47

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 1:05AM
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You do not have to worry about getting water on a violet's leaves. That is an old wive's tale. (It rains on them in nature, doesn't it?) What you want to avoid is cold water. This will spot leaves.


Chloramine does not evaporate.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 2:41AM
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I left for vacation for a week in Florida and asked a co-worker to water them for me while I was away. When I came back, my violets had yellow burned spots all over the leaves. I had never seen this before and couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. I was quite upset. So, i read that AV's do not like their leaves wet. Sure, I've had a mishap or two where water splashes up, but I am careful. I leave the water in a bottle in a cabinet to let it come to room temperature. I dry the leaves with a paper towel if they do get wet, and I've never had a problem with my leaves getting spots (I dread going on vacation again, but maybe wicking will be my friend here, or I'll just let them dry out that week).


I'll let you know when Wrangler's big enough to start some leaves! I've got one down that fell off in transit, but it may not make it. The leaf was thin and weak, but we'll see. I never give them a death certificate until I have to, because it may surprise me. I want lots of babies from this guy!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 7:26AM
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Your co-worker probably used cold water. I went to Italy last year and gave my daughter detailed instructions on how to care for my violets. But-I forgot the cold water part and I had the same surprise as you. You also have to remember not to dry in the sun. But the water on leaves is a myth. I wash mine, usually monthly, and so does every other grower I know. Check out this video.


Here is a link that might be useful: Washing African Violets

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 12:03PM
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Hi Linda
Do you wash them while they are in the pot?
Or do you take them out of the pot? I am guessing
that you wash when in the pot. Seems that when
I tried it, the soil got too wet.

I do brush the leaves gently with a dry child's paint
brush. If an older plant looks dusty,
I will try to wash individual outer, larger leaves, barely
touching them. Just a quick rinse with the sprayer.
Not as thorough as shown in the video.

In the past, when I tried this, (being more thorough),
I did not have great success getting all
the water out of the crowns. The little hairs seem to
hold onto the water droplets. Maybe it is a matter
of "practice makes perfect."


    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 11:32PM
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Hold the violet sideways, in the pot, if your crowns are collecting too much water and your soil is getting too wet. Also, wash them earlier in the day so they have a chance to dry before dark. Spritzing will not clean the leaves sufficiently. The leaves have pores which must remain clean so they can perform the gas exchange necessary for good growth (and survival).

The method in the video is really the best.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 4:00AM
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Thanks, Linda. (The vids make it look easy, I seem
to be "all caffeinated thumbs" at times!)
I am working up to this bath-time!
Not sure if I mentioned that I do brush them
when they seem to need it.

BTW, my Powder Keg that I gave a room of its own
and a 6" pot --before I knew better--that is, before I
began coming to this forum, is getting gargantuan.
The leaves are getting huge.
I think Irina would tell me it is due to the pot.
I had thought that the plants were self-limiting in
size. Evidently, some are, others are not.

Well, I raised boys, when their feet grew, we just
bought bigger shoes. I seem to have applied that
same philosophy to plants, without knowing
any better.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 2:53AM
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Standards can be 8" or more. Sometimes the 'more' is a lot more. Some varieties can get very large especially with good growing conditions. They can be held in check somewhat with a smaller pot, but if the genetics and the conditions are there, grow they will!

Check out the picture of 'Tiger' on E Bay from Blue Mountain Violets. It's a monster!


    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 3:29AM
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Hi Linda
I did see that photo of Tiger! It needs a room of its own.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 1:01AM
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