Second Try At AVs (Somewhat Lengthy)

moonwolf_gwDecember 4, 2012

Hi everyone,

I have decided to give AVs a second try. I picked up this NOID at a local Christmas Tree event (held by our local garden club) and they had a couple AVs for sale (their one member grows LOTS of them in her home). It may be hard to tell, but the blooms are white and pink. I have never seen this purple color on the underside of AV foilage. Here are some photos. My plant may need some grooming, so forgive me as I've been busy with getting ready for Christmas and all. It'll need it's first watering tomorrow. It sets on a plant stand in my east facing bedroom window, sharing the sun with my Hoyas and (non) flowering jungle cacti. I bought distilled water yesterday at Wal-Mart just for it.


Underside of the foilage. Not all of the leaf undersides look like this.

Few more pictures of the entire plant.

Enjoy! Any help would be greatly appreciated! Sorry for the long post.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

Beautiful plant. I was recently using distilled water and found that some of my leaves on my AVs started turning pale. I know there are some experts on here that could give some good input on this. I had done some research and found some information about distilled water having no mineral content. So I switched to Brita filtered tap water and my plants are greening up again. I am no expert on water issues with AVs, so would love to hear what others have to say about it.
It would probably be worth doing a search on this forum about it. I hope someone will know the name of your plant, its gorgeous.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 1:51PM
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Using distilled water could become rather expensive. Is there any reason why ordinary tap water won't suffice? If your drinking water is not exceptionally alkaline, I'd use it for the plants, too. You might contact the garden club and ask them to question the AV grower for you about what he/she uses for water.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 2:46PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

You need to befriend this lady - she is your best source of know-how for your area. I am 99% sure she will be very willing to help you - violet people are like this - they want to pass the affliction ;-)).

Brita filter will work - unless they use chloramine and not chlorine in your water district, any bottled water will work - get the cheapest gallon of water you can find, distilled in a long run will be couterproductive because of lack of trace minerals.

Usually red backed leaves are on AVs with dark purple or red flowers - it makes a great contrast to have a plant with light colored blossoms and dark leaves.

Good Luck


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 4:14PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

BTW - Brad - when you are making pics - to avoid smearing - a result of hand movement - take a sit and put your elbows on the table - this is kind of tripod which is yours and free. Give a bit more space between you and a violet - you can always crop a pic. You need more light - a table lamp nearby will help - the faster is the time - the less trembles will get recorded.

My apologies for unrequested advice - making macro pics of plants requires a couple of simple tricks.

Good Luck


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 4:25PM
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Thank you, everyone!

Our water where we live, out in the country, is hard water. Luckily, I can collect rainwater and I use it on my other house plants. They all love it. Trouble is that when it's in my watering can, the water becomes cold and I have to add warm tap water so I don't shock my plants.

Irina, thank you for the photo tip. Suprisingly, the light from the living room floor lamp, the light over the sink and the celing florescent lights in the kitchen were all on.

The one lady who was where I bought my AV I know from volunteering at our local community theatre. I'll ask her the next time I see her the AV lady's name.

Oh and my plant is in a small plastic pot. The little kettle is wooden and just for decoration to hide the black plastic pot.

I have an AV book published by Sunset from 1974 (sixth printing) as well as other house plant books. Just thought I would let you know to those people of interest. Hmm, maybe when I go to Lowe's again, I might pick up another AV. :-). They don't take up as much room as my other plants do, lol.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 4:45PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Moonwolf AKA Brad -

Sunset of 1974...probably not that good. Read everything that is on Rachel's Reflections - and it is so much better.

If you use half rainwater and half tap water - or brita water - it would be great - just leave the jug with water and fertilizer added - in the room overnight to get the temperature up. (you will read about fertilizer on the same site - they do not bloom if you do not feed them.

You need some kind of photoediting software - Adobe Elements - or if you have something that came with your camera - for cropping the pic, adjusting the levels, contrast and color - they have automatic options - so you just press the button and your pic becomes bright. If it is blurry - too bad, but light level can be adjusted. You will have so much fun!

Good Luck


Here is a link that might be useful: Rachel's Reflections

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 6:53PM
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Irina, thank you again!

I have added Rachel's Reflections to my favorites :-). I will work more with my photo program that came with my camera.

The AV still feels slightly moist. Good to know I can still use rain water and tap water together. I have Miracle Gro African Violet fertilizer (liquid), but it's old and I may have to find some new fertilizer.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 1:50PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Brad the MoonWolf -

I just saw a good advice on using a free editing program for working on plant pics.

Wallace W. from G-files forum wrote:

"Post exposure manipulation with software will improve most images. I use the freeware Xnview (shift-E command) and adjust the gamma,brightness and color. I usually have to subtract from the blue channel by 10 points to get rid of the "blue haze" on the fuzzy leaves. This also brightens the oranges of flowers of that color."


Here is a link that might be useful: free editing program

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 5:11PM
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Irina is there a way to fix African violet pictures so the bloom looks the right color? I don't like that about digital cameras. Especially they make my purple blooms look bright blue.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 9:03AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Tricia -

they always distort the colors. The best for me to take a pic in a natural light, and then work on brightness with an editing program.

You can correct the color of the flowers in the editing program so they look more like what it is - but - then your leaves will look weird. So you kind of compromise - fix the flower color to some extent trying to have the rest of the plant stay real.

Blue-purple colors are always a challenge - both in digital and in film cameras. Better cameras do better job- and natural light is better than a flash.

You try to make your pics with different light - on the window, under fluorescent lights, under incandescent lights, with a flash - and see what works better with your camera.

Have fun


    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 12:11PM
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