Hello!!! New and addicted~

Empress012October 17, 2012

I am just getting started in the AV world. I owned one no name variety that bloomed prolifically for me back in middle school until it succumbed to crown rot. After that I was (and am still) caught up in an orchid frenzy.

Anyways, I wanted to get back into AVs because they are so much simpler and easier than my orchids are. And it would be nice to be rewarded every once in a while for my hard work. ^^;;

Anyways, I started but buying leaf cuttings off of ebay as my AV selection here in SoCal is next to non-existent. And I lost most of the 23 leaves I got (it was actually 13 varieties but I got doubles and sometimes triples). And by most I do mean half, and then the remaining either haven't given me babies or they did and then I killed the babies...

On another forum I was suggested to try with a cheapie AV and find a successful growth formula that works for me. I thought that was a great idea! But now I can't find AV anywhere!

So I was wondering, if anyone would be wanting to send me some leaf cuttings to play around with? I would pay for postage, if that helps. OR! If you're familiar with the Orange County area, maybe you could point me the right direction?

Thanks so much for helping a gal out. It is really appreciated! And any pointers, suggestions, or otherwise is always greatly appreciated.

The AV I am currently (trying) to grow:

- Ness' Satin Rose

- Mystic Green

- Cool Blue

- Little Ebony

- Trinket Summer Skies

- Bud's Melanie

- Whiff O Green

- Frozen in Time

- Pretty Poison

(I really like the green flowered varieties. So if you know of any green flowered varieties please share their names so I can go and hunt for them!)

Here is a link that might be useful: My Folia: African Violet Garden

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irina_co(z5 CO)

Empress - welcome -

the best I can do is to recommend to check with a local club.
Look at AVSA affiliates - and there is one in Anaheim, and another in Fountain Valley. These people will show you the ropes and generously share the cuttings with a newbie.
The newbie site you need to look at is rachelsreflections.org, but the best of course is to learn from the best.

Good Luck


Here is a link that might be useful: CA clubs

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:54AM
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nyxx(z7 Virginia)

Welcome Empress always nice to see new people join us.

Irina's suggestion is great. Not only might you be able to get a couple leaves but if you show one of the leaves you are trying to root they can give you some pointers.

You mention "mostly potting mix" on your page, what kind of potting mix?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 12:31PM
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Thank you for the help and advice and suggestions!

@Irina: I am going to check out that site and give it a good look over. As the AV societies. I saw both but I had the hardest times deciphering the meeting place and times. I guess I will just have to email. One of them is definitely out of the question as I work at the time of the meeting. So sad.
@Nyxx: I had leaves in a mixture of coco coir with hydroton, perlite, and small bark and another set of leaves in regular potting soil. The potting soil was a cheap brand and it was terrible! The dirt would just clump up. The coco coir was good but the mix I made was so bulky a lot of the babies died because they couldn't come up for air then infected the mother leaf.

We live and we learn! Am going to try an organic AV soil mix my local farm supply store sells. I would mix my own but I live in a small apartment and live off a fixed budget.

Thanks again for your time and help!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 1:46PM
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suecirish(6 SE MA)

Hi Empress! Glad to see you here on the forum!

Checking and hooking up with local clubs is the best idea if you can find one that you can attend even an occasional meeting. Definitely email, because they may be able to connect you with a mentor or sponsor even if you can't make all the meetings.

I'd send you some leaves but our weather here in New England has taken a decided turn for the cold, and they's probably freeze to mush before they made it on their way.

suecirish aka Sneirish

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 5:57PM
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Hi Sneirish!!!
I actually just got back from Lowe's and they had a newish shipment in. So I bought one to play round with~
My supply store still had no AV soil so I bought some Cottonseed meal to mix into my Foxfarm's Ocean Forest soil mixed with a little vermiculite to make it wicking compatible.
Does that sound alright? It'll be fun to start experimenting!!!
I will also definitely look into the AV societies. I work M-F but I'll keep my fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 7:26PM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

Our AV club here had outdated info on the AVSA listings, so its definitely worth it to try to contact them and find out more. Even if you can't make their meeting times, AV people are so friendly they will probably help you with some leaves if you explain your schedule conflicts.
I use regular Miracle Gro AV potting mix and their perlite, one part each equally. I am having very good results. I roll it with a rolling pin in a plastic bag to make it finer textured for putting leaves down in.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 2:15PM
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suecirish(6 SE MA)

You can use the Miracle Grow or another peat based houseplant potting mix. Just be sure to generously cut it with perlite as Perle_de_Or suggested, at least half and even more is ok. I use a brand of potting mix called Soillite brand name New Era. I think ProMix also makes one that is ok to use. I'm not familiar with the texture of Cottonseed meal, but it needs to be something that will lighten up the peat base, making it airy and quick draining. Many people use coarse perlite with larger chunks.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 6:45PM
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@Perle: Whoa! Look at those babies~ My babies are so weak. I am going to try fertilizing them. Hopefully that will pick up the performance.

I really don't remember my first AV being this hard!

@Sue: I will need to pick up some perlite then. My previous mix (though it worked) was a bit too lumpy for my dears, me thinks. So perlite will definitely be a part of the mixture this time.

Thanks for all the updates and info!!! Keep it coming~ I am loving it! And will be sending out emails to the local AV club tonight~

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 1:01AM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

I really hope the AV club contacts work for you. The mix I use has fertilizer in it, so does the perlite, so I have not fertilized any of my leaves put down. Also, your containers need to be small. In my first picture the larger ones are the little solo cups and the smaller ones are condiment cups which are only a little larger than coffee creamer containers. Here is a picture of a miniature I have put down in a coffee creamer container. It still looks good, and I am hoping it will give me some babies. Its called Kid Karla. I am totally new at miniatures and have learned they rot very easily from too much moisture. Send me an email through my page anytime!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 7:35AM
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That mini in the creamer cup is so cute!!! I don't drink a lot of coffee so creamer cups are far and inbetween for me but I found these 1.5 inch pots at my hydroponics store a few months ago I was using for my mini orchids. I think I will try those! Thanks so much for your pictures! They help a lot.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 10:16PM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

I forgot to mention that I melt holes in the cups with a soldering iron. Outside of course, to avoid fumes in the house. Works better than trying to stick the little containers with a knife. Also, I use foil baking pans with plastic lids as mini greenhouses, available at Wal Mart for cheap.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 7:57AM
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I have set up 2 leaves from my NoID in a mix of cactus soil with cottonseed meal, charcoal, and Ocean forest potting soil. 2 more leaves in a forsythe pot I had set up to help an ailing hoya bella. That pot has just vermiculite.
Now, I guess it's just sitting and waiting.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 3:48PM
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Wow! I think I just learned more about starting from leaves in this thread than I have anywhere else! At least more home-made and economical ways. Thanks for such great tips.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 6:13PM
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@armygrdnr: Right? I never would have thunk to use a baking pan with lid as a humidity tray. I wish I had! Spent 10 dollars each buying a dome and tray from my local hydroponics store.
But now I know where to go when my collections grows bigger than what I have. ;p
After a few more helpful pointers from Perle and some thrifty thinking. I have reconfigured my planting and here is the result:

Hopefully it works! And those babies perk up... Most of them I lost the mama leaves for. T-T

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 1:46AM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

I love your pictures. I am kind of new at this myself, I learned a lot from forum friends and youtube videos, and also I have a local club which has helped me greatly too.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 9:39AM
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Hi Empress, welcome to this great addiction. If you can wait for another 2 months, I will be moving to the orange county area from the east coast. Did you find a local AV club out there? if not maybe we could start one?

I actually sell african violet plants on Ebay and because of this tentative east to west coast move, I will be giving away most of my plants as the moving company has a no plant policy. So I will be bringing along with me a lot of leaves and can surely share.

I am still deciding whether I can still ship all of my plants (over a 100) economically or just save the leaves.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 2:48PM
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@BabyViolets: I wish I lived close to you right now. I can't imagine how happy your close friends and family will be to receive your plants. As I can imagine you will have to part with so many!
If money weren't an issue (and I hadn't already promised a purchase of 20+ leaves; I know! what was I thinking?!) I would offer to purchase your plants/leaves. Though, if you have any green flowered ones I would be more than happy to deal! Ha ha~ I am completely gaga over most of the green flowered varieties and have a long (and quickly getting longer) wish list.
I have found a violet society here in the OC. Of the 3 available it would seem only 1 is really active BUT the date and times of meet cross over with my orchid society meet. So am at a cross roads as I haven't attended either yet but don't really want to have to choose.
However, if you do come to sunny CA, I would be more than happy to have a fellow violet friend. I have got any physical friends yet.
Actually, now that I think of it... I haven't got any friends who share my hobby with plants. Only food and tea. Ha ha~
Anyways, please let me know if there is anything I can do to help with your move. My offerings are limited but I would happily help, if I can.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 3:15AM
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Hi Empress,
Thank you for your kind words and I appreciate your help. Will surely contact you again once my move date gets closer.
This time I decided to become a member of a club wherever I move, because I am not a member here and I always kind of regretted that.

Also, theres no need for you to buy any of my plants/leaves at the moment, I can surely understand. I will have lots of leaves, hoping they survive and will be more than willing to give you some green flowered leaves (will have to go back to my plant room and check), :)


    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 7:43AM
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@BabyViolets: Good luck!!!

And a quickie update on my leaves.

And the consensus is... They're not doing too well. I am losing several of my motherless babies to soft fungal rot. T-T I am besides myself with grief! But I will overcome... Its all a learning experience after all.
I do think that my violets need more light but I am stuck between a rock and hard place with this one.
The only light I can offer them is either full sun or hardly any sun. Sigh... I will figure this out!
Pictures of the sad mess on the morrow when it is brighter.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 12:26AM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

Empress, if you have too much sun in your window just put a sheer curtain over it, gives perfect light that way. Also there are several threads on this forum you can search on fungal problems and I think some people use Lysol sprayed up in the air and let it mist down on the plant. Also Physan 20 is good for fungal problems.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 8:40AM
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@Perle: I used the Physan but maybe it was too strong? All the plants got brown even faster.
Its ok. I am chalking it up as a learning experience and will try again with healthy leaves.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 3:14PM
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As promised, here are some pictures from earlier today. Have a box of tissue ready. It is really sad.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 1:27AM
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    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 1:28AM
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On a happier note. The baking pans with plastic covers Perle had previously mentioned are also available at the Dollar store! I just went there today to purchase some plant only measuring cups and spoons when I saw the 'mini greenhouses.'

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 1:31AM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

Empress, is that cinnamon on the leaves? I used a tiny amount of cinnamon for fungus gnats, but not on the leaves. Also, is your potting mix equal parts with perlite? From the pictures I can't tell, the mix should be one part soil to one part perlite. All I can think of is they are too wet for some reason. Do a search on this forum for powdery mildew for lots of info on that. I haven't had it so far.
Your soil should be damp but not overly wet.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 9:37AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)


Sorry to say- but most of your starters are dead meat and no amount of cinnamon is going to fix it. And yes - the soil is way too wet. You need to add at least 1/3 of perlite to your soil. As I see - you have them on containers and wicks - your wick could be too thick - you probably need only one ply out of the trhead.

The good part - you just try again - and very soon you will find the secret - and then you will be overwhelmed by the amount of babies.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 1:07PM
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@Perle: I made up a new mix with tons of perlite that I amended from the attached website. Hopefully it will work better for me as I am having the darnedest time finding AV soil.

@Irina: I put the cinnamon on because I had used cottonseed meal to add a little acidity to my mix. And I had read that a "harmless mold" can be formed when using cottonseed meal and the way to get rid of it is to sprinkle a little cinnamon over the dirt. ^^;; I got a little carried away...

Anyways, those poor dears are dearly lost in the garbage now. But to ease my loss I received my package from Jack's today!
3 already started plants and a freebie to fill up my windows with again.

Green Dragon

Lil Glimpse O Spring

Cool Mint

Coral Kitty

Did I mention I really like the green ones? Ha ha~ The Coral Kitty is not green but I will still treasure it until I give it away to my friend who adores pink and I am currently sucking into the extravagant world of orchids and AV.

Here is a link that might be useful: Debbie's African Violets

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 12:19AM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

I hope your new plants do well. I had been looking for Lil Glimpse too. I have seen Debbie's site before, its a good one.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 11:13AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Empress -

just be cautious with adding all kind of stuff to your soil. I imagine that a cottonseed meal is a godsend for plants in a yard - but inside.. our soil doesn't have the bacteria to process it - so mold takes over. The standard mix - peat-perlite-vermiculite - is already on an acid side - and it gets more acid with time because wet peat desintegrates producing humic acid. You start with a balanced soil - and where it goes from there -depends on the water you use - some people have good city water - and some have well water with a lot of salts and high pH.

I would really think that you be better sticking with a standard soil mix for some time and doing the experiments on one - two plants so you can decide is it for the better or not.

Regarding cinnamon - if you have a mother leaf that started to rot - you had some on the pics you showed earlier - you cut the rotted tissue with a sharp knife - to the healthy one - dip Q-tip into cinnamon and treat the wound to prevent rot to return. If you just sprinkle the rot on the top - it doesn't help and covering leaves with cinnamon is not good too.

Good Luck!


    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 12:31PM
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@ Perle: If I keep it alive and when it stabilizes, I would be more than happy to share a leaf with you! Just let me keep my fingers and toes crossed at the moment. >w@Irina: I followed the recipe from the previously mentioned site only I didn't use the peat (not available, but I did have coco coir) and I amended it with worm castings and that is about it. I may have added an extra cup of perlite though... I subbed in a few things as money is tight such as blood meal in place of the super phos.
I did my research and I looked it all up and tried my best. Really couldn't go running about buying everything on my current budget.
And the cinnamon was a bit of an accident really... ^^;; I guess I wasn't clear on my previous post but I was trying to get it on the soil and it got everywhere.
At least it smells like Christmas in the house!
Ha ha!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 11:00PM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

Empress, I would love that, and I still have Irish Halo for you. I know you love the green types. I came across a site that has two that you might not have seen, one is called Shimai and one is called Emerald City. The URL is

Scroll down to see them, they have green stripes.

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

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 9:57AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Empress -

the same issue - blood meal - too much organics - you will get it moldy and probably stinky. Bone meal - is a way to go - but just a bit. And try to avoid coir at all costs. It is not working for AVs at all. Means - it works for a short time - and then they go into decline. Worm castings are good - but in a very small amount.

Good Luck = and stay with the leaner soil. Otherwise your plants will get indigestion!


    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 1:11PM
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@Irina: Thanks for the input. Thats good to know cause Google told me otherwise. Oh well... We live and learn. Thanks for the info!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 1:06AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Empress -

Google is like a world's landfill - you can find rare diamonds - and a LOT of refuse...

I am thinking that you need to read good AV books and look at the reputable sites. Why to waste time on something that is not exactly to the point. Rachelsreflections.org - is all good. AVSA.org FAQ are all good, books by Melvyn Robey are all good - you can get them in a library through the interlibrary catalog even if they do not have it in your town. Joyce and Ken Stork book on the AVSA store site is good - even it doesn't have pretty pics.

Learn from the experts!

Good Luck


    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 12:39PM
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@Irina: Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 12:07AM
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I also grow AV from leaves and use "BLACK COW", it is cheap and really great. I always start my leaves off by getting roots on them before planting. I use small cups or Cat treat containers and place the leaves in water until a good root system is established before planting. Never let them get dry, they seem to like moist soil and indirect light. I have really good luck this way. Also, I do have some named and NOID leaves for trade if anyone is interested. LMK

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 6:06PM
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