Saturday, July 2, 2011

183:365 A Very Sad Violet

I can't believe that with this photo, I'm halfway through my 365 Project. Wow!!

This plant, called Rainbow's Limelight, is very sad. You'll recall that it's part of a project that I'm working on with two plants that have been sorely neglected, to see if I can get them to shape up for show.

Let's take a closer look: Halo-ing on the leaves (that's where it's lighter on the edges), leaves hanging down over the pot (usually a temperature issue), old spent leaves (a sign of neglect), and slightly stunted, but healthy center growth - this plant needs desperately to be repotted.

I put it down in the basement, but the cooler temps down there just were not for it. I thought it might perk up down there, but no-go.

Pretty much the same story with Decelle's Triomphe, with the addition of a lot of immature leaves in the mix. I thought it might like the cooler temps of the basement because it is a variegated plant. Um . . . not so much.

Last we saw these two, it was near the end of May. I left them to their own devices down in the basement. There was good news and bad news. The good news was that once I disbudded, the foliage on both plants layed back down in a much more normal formation. The bad news was that neither of them were happy in the steady, cooler temps. Truthfully, I was surprised by this - but the evidence is clear - the leaves of both plants were now hanging down and hugging the pot - a pretty reliable indicator that they are too cold.

So, today, I disbudded again and repotted them both, and moved them back upstairs where it's warmer. I've photo'd and documented repotting before - it's not for the faint of heart . . .so I will spare you all the leaf pulling, rootball cutting and neck scraping and just show you the finished result.

Both plants had been in 3" pots. I moved them both up to 4" pots.

Here's RL. What a difference - I know that some of those leaves are still halo'd, but they already look better than they did - and did you notice that the twisty upside down leaf settled itself back down? It had been forced out of alignment by my failure to tease the bloomstalks up above the foliage. Once I disbudded initially, I was able to gently train it back down into its proper position.

And here's DT. I know, you're probably thinking, "WTH?! Where are all the leaves???" Well, all those leaves needed to come off. Yes, this plant is looking a little lopsided, but that's only because I took off a leaf that was between the bottom center and the bottom right.

African violet leaves grow in triangles -each row with three leaves - and each row ideally overlaps the one before it. Be removing the lower rows of leaves, I'm giving the newer ones a better chance to grow out to their full potential.

These plants will not go to show with me this fall, but It's my hope to take them to the AVSA National Convention next June, in Detroit. I'll be able to drive, so I'll be able to take some plants. I don't know that these two will ever be big winners, but it's my hope to get them to blue-ribbon shape by then :-)

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