Buying leaves vs. plants

bunnycat(z6 NY)October 25, 2013

I've only bought plants in the past, mostly from Violet Barn, Lyndon Lyon, or at local violet shows. That way I get immediate gratification(!!) and get to accurately see the colors of plants. Sometimes I knock plants off my wish list after seeing them in person. Late last fall I decided to order a bunch of leaf sets from 2 reputable dealers. All arrived in great shape.
Some are just starting to bloom, and I am disappointed. I know that reproducing fantasy from leaves isn't a guarantee. But so far, I am not seeing green on the edges of Irish Luck. It has the blue edging, so is still pretty, but not what I'd hoped for. Irish Magic has no green edge and is just a plain dark blue ruffled flower. Once again, not what I wanted. Is a green edge tricky to reproduce from a leaf?
Leaves are inexpensive, but waiting almost a year to find out the plant isn't "as advertised" is annoying.
It is certainly fun to plant leaves and wait for "mouse ears" and there is less risk of bringing in pests.
But I wonder how other people feel when violets that should have fantasy or green edges or other features don't develop as they should. In my experience some like Jean Pierre Croteau reproduce pretty faithfully, and others are almost impossible to reproduce accurately from a leaf. If I fail with a leaf from my own plant, no loss other than time and plant shelf space. But some sellers only offer leaves of certain plants, so that's the only way to get it..unless that's not what you get in the end.
I'm not sure sellers should sell leaves of unstable varieties.
Your thoughts?

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Linda

Bunny,

First, and sometimes second, bloomings often do not show their full colors. Remember, these are young plants just coming into their stride. Give them a couple more rounds.

Also, temperatures can affect colors. Usually, cool temps. will bring out more color.

And remember, every one of those varieties that you see pictured was started from a leaf. Green edges are no more difficult to propagate than any other color, in my experience. Fantasies are genetically unstable so it may be better to buy a plant so you can see its coloring. If a fantasy leaf does not bloom true, often the sport is equally lovely even though it is not the plant you had hoped for.The only other colors that are tricky is the chimeras because of their genetic composition. These are also best bought in person, in bloom.

Linda

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 12:21PM
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bunnycat(z6 NY)

Thanks, Linda.
I hope the green shows up soon. The plants stands are in a cool bedroom, so maybe the green will show up soon. I have a few green-edged standards and they don't seem to lose their green in the summer. But I bought them all as plants, didn't start leaves.
I have planted a number of LLG standard fantasy leaves in the past, and had the flowers not be "true," but lovely none-the-less. It's only a problem if I want to trade them as named plants, vs. giving them to friends who don't care.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 1:16PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Bunny- a year for the bloom is way too long. Probably - buy leaves in spring! They grow so much faster.

Irina

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 1:36PM
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bunnycat(z6 NY)

Irina, thank you, that's true. I know that fall and winter growing is s-l-o-w, but DH has had several long hospitalizations over the past 2 years. I had an urge to grow babies to keep me company when I wasn't at work or going back and forth to the hospital. They didn't get ideal care at times, but survived and look healthy in spite of everything.
I noticed that I'm not having problems with any of my Rob's varieties, either leaves from my older plants, or from Rob's leaves purchased from another seller. The leaves from his fantasies seem to breed true(so far).

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 4:19PM
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bunnycat(z6 NY)

Irina, thank you, that's true. I know that fall and winter growing is s-l-o-w, but DH has had several long hospitalizations over the past 2 years. I had an urge to grow babies to keep me company when I wasn't at work or going back and forth to the hospital. They didn't get ideal care at times, but survived and look healthy in spite of everything.
I noticed that I'm not having problems with any of my Rob's varieties, either leaves from my older plants, or from Rob's leaves purchased from another seller. The leaves from his fantasies seem to breed true(so far).

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 4:21PM
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fortyseven_gw

Hi Bunny, Irina,
Thanks for posting about your experience. I was glad you
mentioned Jean Pierre Croteau, because I just got that as
a plant from LLG. It is in bloom. It is helpful to know that a
leaf from it will be true as it has quite a complicated fantasy
pattern.

I have been reluctant to order leaves. But it is
getting harder and harder to order plants from various
hybridizers with so many no longer selling retail.

When I put down leaves from plants I had, usually,
the pattern did not reproduce, neither the chimera
or the fantasy. I usually give the resulting plant away.

I recently got a couple of leaves of a fantasy
from Optimara. When they bloom, I will let you know.

I like the hybrids of LLG, plus the plants they offer of
other hybridizers. They are always large and usually
in bloom. They package well and have great customer service.
I like their solid color pale pink
double called Southern
Delight. It is carefree and easy to grow quickly.
Foliage is
beautiful and shiny. Blooms
are large and showy. For those reasons, I often
put down leaves to give as gifts. A very rewarding plant.
They have had it for years, very strong stock.

I have wanted to try other hybridizers, so I have been
hunting around to find growers that offer them. It
takes a while. People on the forum have helped.
I would like to find a couple of Ruth Bann's.

I am thinking, Irina, that CO is full of light with your "mile high sky."
In my experience, when on the east coast,
the plants knew when it was winter, no matter what
I did, and slowed down and did not bloom. In Calif,
they are much easier to grow with all the natural light
and mild temps.

I hope others with more experience with leaves
will post on your topic, it is a very good topic now
that the selling environment has changed.

Joanne

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 12:16AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Joanne -

chimera always needs to be reproduced from suckers. And there are several "fishy" plants - better be reproduced from suckers than from leaves - Playful Spectrum and Cranberry Swirl are typical. These plants should be bought blooming.

I do not grow on natural light. I grow practically everything under the lights. Much better bloom, more bloom altogether - and everything grows fast. Leaves root too. Colorado is way too dry to grow in the open - so my plants are sitting on mats and wicks having an extra ambient humidity around them. They still know what is the time of the year now - of course - and give a stellar bloom in spring.

irina

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 1:06PM
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fortyseven_gw

Hi Irina,
Thanks! Shelving and lights are on my to-do goal
list.
(I had a set-up once, but it looked too much like
a nursery than a home. Other family members were not
pleased with the look. I reduced the collection drastically,
then discovered the natural light where I lived worked
well. There
is so much good advice on the threads,
that I wil look forward to having a more attractive
arrangement than before.) Just have to figure it
out. And get family members to be willing to live
with it.
Joanne

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 2:37PM
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Linda

Joanne,

Tell your family that plants make you happy and when mama's happy, everybody's happy. Works for me!

Linda

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 1:22AM
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