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Reformatted Post (Aquiring African VIolets ...)

5 years ago
last modified: 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 I was interested in 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 successful acquisitions had to be already propagated plant statrs.

SO, even though I eventually expanded my vendor sources, 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), I learned of my Chloramine problem, and began to use grocery dispensed Spring water for my violets Consequently, … 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 “The 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. In 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 for Jazzy Jewel, … potted them up, … and waited for the results.

The leaves propagated well, and soon I was on my way to having mature 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 other 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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