General Questions about Chirita

susancarol(7)August 27, 2004

Where do you find Chiritas other than Ebay and mailorder? I think I have a new addiction just by looking at some of the pictures. Which varieties are the easiest to grow? From some of the previous posts I've read on the forum, they have about the same basic care similar to african violets.

Any growing experiences to share?

Thanks, Susan

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larry_b(Zone5/CO)

Hi Susan,

I have a chirita tamiana and chirita chastity and I grow them just like an African violet. Tamiana is nice because it is almost ever blooming and starts blooming young. Most of the other chiritas are seasonal bloomers.

Larry

    Bookmark   August 27, 2004 at 11:35PM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

If you don't have a good local source and don't like to shop at eBay or mail order nurseries, your next best place to find them would be at a gesneriad show. If there are no gesneriad shows in your area maybe there are African Violet shows; most violet clubs have at least one member who specializes in the other gesneriads and grows violets mostly to qualify as a member. (That's what I did for two different clubs!) Usually there will be a plant sale in conjunction with the show, but be sure to show up early as often the 'other' gesneriads go fast. I've lived so many places where there were no local clubs and no local sources beyond the occasional episcia or hanging basket of aeschynanthus or columnea that I started mail-ordering plants more years ago than I can remember, and if you choose your nurseries well you will be very pleased.

So far as culture is concerned, I think they will do well with African Violet conditions, but better with a little more light and a little less heat. For the most part, they are plants that grow up in the highlands of southeast Asia, tho' a few have been found from lower down, so they prefer cooler weather. I even find they will do well outdoors here with a little protection if we get any frost or freezes.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 1:17AM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

Hi,
John B. can tell you about the Capitol Chapter of the Gesneriad Society in Washington DC. That would be an excellent source for plants and leaves. At the AGGS convention on Long Island last July there was a great selection of chiritas in the plant sale. I think I bought about four or five chiritas. I just love my little plant of 'Betty', a knockout foliage form of sinensis. The chapter in New Jersey does a fantastic job of propagating these and other choice gesneriads. Their sale would be worth a special trip as well as the DC show and sale.

Another source would be to visit some of our mail order nurseries. I have heard many good reports from people who have visited Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses in upstate NY. The best grown chiritas that I bought at the convention came from them--'Betty', liboensis, etc.. Florals of Fredericks is another source that is somewhere in the mid-Atlantic area. I don't know about visiting them though. The last source I can think of is the AGGS seed fund. The selection of chiritas is down a bit from its highpoint but there are still many good ones. Just remember that not all chiritas are the rosulate kinds. They come in shrubs like moonii and walkeri (and 'Moonwalker'), as well as annuals.

For mail order I would recommend Lyndon Lyons, for the quality of the plants. They may arrive with some broken leaves as chiritas are not pliant, but those leaves and even leaf halves can be put down for propagation--that's what I did with pieces of my chiritas that I brought back on the airplane from the convention.

The on-line catalogs for these nurseries are linked from the AGGS sources page on their web site ( www.aggs.org ).

Happy chirita hunting!
Jon

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 1:26PM
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susancarol(7)

Thanks, Jon. I won an Ebay auction for Chirita 'Betty' a few days ago. Can't wait to get it! Actually, I got 'Tamiana' (sp) and an unnamed. I sure hope the un-named is not an annual. Oh Well!!!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 5:03PM
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susancarol(7)

OK-Jon-If you see this..Larry or GreenElbows....

What about sinningia (if I spelled that correctly)? Are they as easy as AV's?

Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 5:33PM
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larry_b(Zone5/CO)

Hello Susan,

Congratulations on finding your chiritas. I'm sure that you will have a lot of fun with them, especially tamiana.

There is a little more difference between different kinds of sinningias. Micromini sinningias are pretty much like African violets except that most need a little more humidity. Most people, including myself, have them in a terrarium type environment.

The small sinningias (not micro mini) tend to be like African violets and I treat them as such. Also, sinningias speciosa or what is commonly known as florist gloxinias like being treated like a violet, but take a little more light, otherwise they will run.

As far as the larger sinningias are concerned I really don't know much about them, so someone else will have to give you advice on them.

Hope this helps.

Larry

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 10:25PM
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larry_b(Zone5/CO)

I see that you are from Colorado. I don't know how close you are to Denver, but the yearly African violet show is usually sometime in late March. It is a good place to find different kinds of gesnariads of which african violets, chiritas and sinningias are members of that family. Also, the yearly gesnariad show is usually on the second Saturday and Sunday in September, which is coming up in a couple of weeks. Again, there are lots of different gesnariads there. They are both held at the Denver botanical Gardens.

Larry

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 10:32PM
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larry_b(Zone5/CO)

Sorry Susan,

I got you mixed up with someone else. I see you live in Virginia. Never mind. But, those of you in Colorado, this is a heads up.

Larry

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 10:35PM
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