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Thoughts on Acquiring African Violets

5 years ago

There have been a
few posts on African Violet acquisition (i.e. Optimara, vendors,
leaves, plugs, Russians, reds, etc.).

I just had a recent
experience that got me thinking …

I started collecting
plants as far back as 1985. Most of the plants collected back then
where offered through local retailers, including Kroger's grocery and
Frank's Nursery and Crafts. These were nice plants, as you can see
in my “Blast From the Past” posting earlier this year. But, with them came the seemingly inevitable Thrips and other pest issues.

Ultimately, I
began to acquire plants through mail-order, first from Tinari, and
then from Lydon Lyon. One consistency in my early ordering of plants
was that there would be plants which were only available as leaves.
And my success rate with propagating plants from leaves was dismal
back (when, unbeknownst to me I was operating with Chloramine
toxicity in my water). I don't think that I had any true success
with propagating leaves during this period, so … my acquisitions
had to be already propagated plant statrs.

SO, there were many
varieties of African Violet which were, in effect, unavailable to me.
I often wondered why these plants were not popular enough to inspire
growers to offer them as starter plants, in addition to leaves.

Many years later
(say, 2013 when I learned of my Chloramine problem) and began to use
grocery dispensed Spring water for my violets, … my success rate
with propagating AV leaves increased dramatically. I decided to try
some of those selections which were only available as leaves most of
the time.

One of these plant
selections was a variety named “Jazzy Jewel” … described as
perfect halo of large, long lasting, two-toned light cherry red,
single, sticktite stars are all jazzed up with a narrow, white edge.
Large, strong medium green foliage.
almost constant bloom, it is superior for show, growing quickly and
easily. In
almost constant bloom, it is superior for show, growing quickly and
easily. “
So, I got leaves, … potted them up, … and waited for the results.

The leaves
propagated well, and soon I was on my way to having full-grown plants
of this long-coveted variety. The plants bloomed, … and I was
impressed with the bloom, (though I first mis-identified the
plant/flower as Red Lantern). But, that has been almost a year ago,
… and, despite having good watering, fertilizing, and lighting, …
I've yet to see any more blooming. I have (2) plants of this
variety, in different growing contexts. Each has bloomed exactly
ONCE, about a year ago. The plants, themselves look healthy and
mature. I'm just not getting any new bloom. (Actually, there's
another plant I have that, though being fairly mature, … has yet to
produce ANY flowers over the course of a year or so). Now that I
think of it, its plant structure looks similar to the (2) known Jazzy
Jewels that I have.

One of my Jazzy Jewels ... a year ago ...

So, … perhaps
that's the reason why this variety is not any any more popular than
it is. It just doesn't bloom, … at least in my environments. And
I don't think that it's a typical CARE issue, because plants are
growing and blooming all around these particular specimens.

I have learned now …
to scour the internet for photos of full-grown blooming examples of
plants that I'm thinking of acquiring … just to make sure that
SOMEBODY has had some success growing and blooming these plants. I
have learned that a dearth of photos of a particular plant variety …
might suggest some difficulty with its growth and blooming capacity.

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