New to Posting, been lurking around the forum

Brighid(8)November 6, 2012

Hi, I just wanted to introduce myself. I've been lurking around the AV forum for some time now, but haven't really posted. I've loved African Violets since I was a child, and I have several plants in my home. They are such a joy to me, especially in winter when nothing much is blooming outside.

I'd love to start talking with fellow AV lovers about this beautiful plant. I have about 30 or so plants in my house now (lost count!), most of them are "babies" rooted from three or so parent plants. Whenever the plants start getting new crowns, I can't bear to throw them away, so I put them in little pots. The result: more violets than I can deal with!

I've given many away, and I even used them as centerpieces on the tables at my wedding.

What I'd like to get into now is growing rarer varieties, and different varieties from the ones I have now (all no ID's started from supermarket plants). Although, one I have is an interesting dwarf variety that everyone thinks is so lovely.

My first quest is going to be finding blue varieties. I read the post on finding a true blue AV, but none of the suggestions seem to be available from AV retailers like Violet Barn. Any suggestions from what is currently available from Violet Barn?

Thanks! And I have been loving your photos and reading about your AV experiences.

-Brighid

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aegis1000

Hi Brighid,

I've been growing African Violets for a while now, as well.

I also like discussing growing African Violets with other enthusiasts.

It sounds like you are better at growing plants from leaves than I am.

I've obtained most of my violets as starter plants from online retailers, including Lyndon Lyon, Violet Barn, Fancy Bloomers, Bluebird Greenhouses, and Bloomlovers.

For healthy viable plants, I like Lyndon Lyons best, whose starter plants are fairly large (in 2 1/2 pots) and are, either beginning to bloom when you receive them ... or will bloom, within the first month or so. Lyndon Lyon's plants run about $7.00-$8.00 per plant, with a fairly reasonable shipping cost of ~ $10.00 for (6) plants.

Violet Barn's starter plants are a bit smaller, but are ideal for those who wish to groom their plants into show-winners. Honestly, I've struggled with the starter plants I've obtained from Violet Barn. They probably need a higher degree of growing expertise than I've possessed.

Bluebird and Fancy Bloomers have some larger plants (4" pots) and some smaller. I've done fairly well with their plants, but have less experience with them.

Finally, Bloomlovers sells "plugs" of a wide variety of plants, which you have to pot up when you receive them. I've also had fairly good success with Tina's (of Bloomlovers) selections and her prices are a bit lower (4.00 per plug), ... because it's such an easy way to ship plantlets.

Of course, all of these vendors also ship leaves (at much lower costs).

As to blue violets, I have had great success with ... Private Dancer, Caribbean Blue, Blue Dragon, Anastasia, and Ness' Ruffled Skies.

All of these are available from Lyndon Lyon.

The photo is of Private Dancer.

Some of the others are featured in the African Violet gallery.

The trick now will be to obtain plants before shipping costs rise because of cold weather, which requires special handling (it may be too late).

On a side note, I recommend "All About African Violets", a series of podcasts which are quite informative and entertaining.

Welcome to the forum, ... happy growing to you ..., be talking to you ...

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:28AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Brighid -

there is a link in AVSA.org that gives you the list of all vendors in a country by state.Some of them have websites with pics. No vendor can have all of the varieties - so there is some kind of specialization - on minis or oldies or their own hybrids.
Since I love oldies - and the best blues are often oldies - look at Cedar Creek Violets, Violet Gallery. We have
our Travis from travisviolets.com who often posts and troubleshoots here - with good selection and his own very worthy hybrids.

It is not that there are only 2 vendors - Lyndon Lyon and VioletBarn. There are plenty of smaller ones. Just keep in mind that the time is running short - winter is coming - get yourself leaves or AV babies before the inclement weather.

Irina

Here is a link that might be useful: vendors

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 12:18PM
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Brighid(8)

Thanks to both of you for your suggestions. I will definitely order some leaves asap. I hope it's not too late for decent shipping! I'll try some from Lyndon Lyon this time around, I had looked at their website too. But there are a lot of vendors I hadn't heard about before. Irina, I too like the old "classic" AVs, they have a special place in my heart, because they remind me of the little violets my mom would get every mother's day in those blue and white china pots.

Aegis, your photo is beautiful. All three of the plants in it are lovely. Actually the lighter blue one in the background strikes my interest. The foliage on Private Dancer is really nice too.

And as for my growing from leaves skill, I don't know if I'm particularly good at it, or if the plants I have are just particularly hardy. That remains to be seen when I try some fancier varieties. I know the plants I grow have at least acclimated to my home very well, because they're unstoppable. The plants started from new crowns or "suckers" mature really fast into larger plants, but the ones I start from leaves take longer. They typically take about four months before sprouting baby leaves. Then after that they take another couple of months or so before they start looking like nice plants. So it takes some patience, but as long as I see that the leaves are green and firm, I let them be and they do what they like.

I actually have a new plant I started from a leaf I "stole" from an AV at Lowe's which is just now sprouting baby leaves, and I rooted that leaf back in July. So it's been a while. I don't put them under plastic or anything like most people do, I just stick the leaves in AV soil in coconut husk pots, put them on a shelf over my heater vent, keep the soil moist, and they seem to do fine. The coconut husk pots are actually what I use for sprouting vegetables from seed, because you can just put them right in the ground. I compost the AV ones once the plant is big enough for a real pot. They're fairly cheap in bulk, and convenient, and environmentally friendly too.

Anyway, thanks again! I'll have to post pictures of my lovelies too. I'm curious to find out if my minis are truly minis, or if they're "semi-minis" or what. They're really unusual.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:54PM
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aegis1000

Brighid ...

I think that I may have to keep my leaf pottings a little warmer. I tend to lose the leaves in a couple months. I've got a few left (that I've now moved upstairs). I'll try another set in the spring, I think.

The plants in the photo are Private Dancer (in the foreground), Caribbean Blue, and Pink Summit. All tough, vigorous, floriferous plants.

Another picture of Caribbean Blue below ...

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 6:47AM
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Brighid(8)

Just gorgeous! I'm very excited to try some new varieties. I ordered some leaves from Lyndon Lyon just in time for the summer shipping price. This is what I ended up ordering:

Arctic Bliss, Sea Drift, Ness' Ruffled Skies, Blue Mist, Mac's Scorching Sun, and Little Darlin'.

The last two aren't blue, but looked unique so I had to try them. My husband loves salmon-colored blooms, so I thought Mac's Scorching Sun might be a nice surprise for him. Especially since he's frightened that I'm going to overrun the house now with plants.

I was also very excited to see some other Gesneriads on the Lyon site. I couldn't help myself, and had to order three different ones to try:
Episcia - Pink Panther
Chirita - liboensis
Petrocosmea - sp. 'HT-2'

From photos and people's blogs, I'm leaning towards the Petrocosmeas as my favorite "other Gesneriad," but we'll see how these do.

I can hardly contain my excitement! I hope they all thrive!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 2:12PM
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aegis1000

Brighid ...

I have all four of your "blue" selections.

Arctic Bliss is very nice. It has very nice variegated foliage and double white and blue flowers. It grows fairly fast.

Sea Drift is nice, and has gorgeous blooms.

Ness' Ruffled Skies has stunning blue blossoms.

Blue Mist grows well, and has just unbelievably beautiful white/blue blooms.

Excellent selections.

Wishing you the best of success ...

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 2:27PM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

Glad you are on the forum. I love Blue ones too. I am new to named varieties since Aug. Learning a lot from this forum.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 4:29PM
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Brighid(8)

All of my leaves and plants from Lyndon Lyon came on Thursday. I was pretty ecstatic! They all look nice and healthy. I took extra care in putting the leaves in light AV mix, in 1.5" propagation pots. I even had un-softened water sitting in the "plant room" for a couple of days, which I used to water them.

I'm never that fussy with my plants, but decided I should give these new ones the best chance possible, since I don't know if they're more sensitive than my tough old plants. They even sent me two of each leaf, even though I only ordered one of each! That was really nice of them.

The other Gesneriads look much more delicate than I expected, though, I feel a little intimidated. But so far they seem to be doing fine.

At some point I need to post some pictures of all my AV's on here. I've just been very busy with work lately. Just three more weeks till my winter vacation though! And I'll be spending a ton of time with my plants, for sure!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:10AM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

I was also very excited when I got my Lyndon Lyon order in the mail in early Oct. I got 13 varieties of leaves. They all rooted and look great. The first one producing babies for me is Lyon's Magic Charms. I had ordered from Bloomlovers in Aug. which was my first named variety order and I got five leaves from them. They all have babies now.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 2:44PM
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