Does anyone have a good US source for streptocarpus hybrid seed other than T&M or Parks? I'm really looking for a good mixture of interesting colors. I've found plenty of places selling plants, but not seed. Thanks.
AGGS (American Gloxinia and Gesneriad Society) www.aggs.org , I believe is their site address sells strep seed for $1.50 per packet TO MEMBERS.
Or you can go to Ebay, write in African violet (no "s") and often enough you will see an ad for strep seed, sometimes from a hybrid whose parentage is variegated. These are about $4.00 per packet.
Nancy, AGGS is by far the best source for strep seeds. The AGGS seed fund lists over 100 selections of species and hybrid seeds. You do have to be a member to buy seed (at $1.50 per packet); BUT, the seed fund is not listed on the Internet. It is only published in the society journal, The Gloxinian. New members receive the current seed fund listing when they join AGGS. On the web site (www.aggs.org) is all the information about the society, an on-line way to join, and photos. But, no seed list. I think the seed list is sent out fairly quickly when one joins. Membership costs $20 per year and includes four issues of the Gloxinian (a great magazine and source for gesneriad info). After the first of the year, membership goes up to $25 per year. This may seem like a lot, but actually membership doesn't even cover the cost of printing and mailing the journal, let alone other services and expenses of the society. So, it is a very good deal. by joining before the first, you will get a year long membership with four issues of the Gloxinian at the old price.
There are rather small strep offerings in catalogs--Chiltern, and Parks are the only two I have seen. Ebay is a good idea too.
Streps are very easy to self pollinate or hybridize. From a selfing of a hybrid or from crossing two hybrids one can get an amazing variety in the seedlings that one raises. Every seedling will be different in flower color and pattern. so, if one doesn't want to go the way of buying seed, it is easy to start with a few plants and make your own crosses to produce hundreds, if not thousands of varieties.
Chiltern Seeds, UK
I must agree with Jon, By the time you buy seeds on Ebay and or plants, $25 is cheap for being able to get species and hybrids at $1.50 per pkg. There are so many, and then make your own hybrids to get color and type you like. It is so much fun and the magazine is a wealth of knowledge from growers who have already gone through a lot of the trials and errors that we do. Understanding also that a pkg of seeds will give you a lot of plants. I feel that I save a bundle by having joined AGGS. Also I have learned from it.
I must also add that so many of the variegated Streptocarpus sold on Ebay are selfings of the first variegates that leave a lot to be desired for blooms and strength of stem. I grow the variegates and am trying like all growers to get a stronger better based plant. Though I love the variegation I also want strong bloomstalks and more blooms per (peduncle? Jon did I say that right?)
Good Luck in whatever you try. But at least look into joining AGGS as I think you will find that you get more than you pay with them.
Maggie in Oregon where the 2005 AGGS convention will be.
I understand that the seeds from Streps are dust-like. Are they easy to germinate for an average grower?