Sunday, June 3, 2012

Emergency Maintenance

I wasn't quite sure what to call this post.  It's not really a continuation of the "Will They Shape up For Show" series that met its untimely end this week, but on one of the Ravelry groups that I moderate, African Violets Anonymous or Year of Stash Socks, I mentioned that I was going to do some emergency maintenance on the plants, and one of the group members asked me what that is.

I thought you guys might find it interesting, but first, here was one of my kitchen counters yesterday morning:


Yes, I really did wash all those plant saucers.  I didn't want to have any of the old fertilizer salts left in them.  The other counter was full of drying pots.

The first bit of emergency maintenance I performed (on Thursday nght) was leaching all the plants with distilled water.  Leaching is watering from the top (under the leaves) and flooding the plant so that the water rushes out the bottom of the pot.  This helps to flush out fertilizer salts buildup, and distilled water helps suck minerals, etc. out of the soil.  I leached the show hopefuls upstairs again this morning. 

Then, I spent my Saturday night in the basement, repotting what was left down there, and putting down a few leaves.  (And I wonder why I don't meet anyone to date . . .  ;-D) 

I have more plants this morning to repot - ones that had no possible chance to go to National.  I also have leaves to put down:


Don't worry, I won't be putting all these leaves down.  Each cup holds leaves from one plant and I will pick the best two to propagate.  These are leaves that I groomed off of the possible show plants this morning. 

I talk alot about about grooming plants for show - here are some very good examples of what I mean.  Take a look:

compare_Fresh Air

This is Fresh Air. It's a standard, hybridized by Kent Stork.  I love to grow his plants!  On the left is how it looked on Thursday night.  On the right is how it looks this morning after I removed two entire rows of leaves.  All of sudden, it's looking a lot better.  Yes, a few more blossoms have opened,  but only two or three (and I have hopes for many of the rest to open by the show).  I hope you can see the difference grooming makes.  Sometimes growers go for size and they don't remove the leaves that really do need to come off.  With the removal of all those unneeded leaves, this plant now has potential.  It's a blue ribbon plant.  Probably not a Best in Class, but a blue nonetheless.

Here's another example:

compare_Allegro Cupid Pink

This is Allegro's Cupid Pink, hybridized by J. Stromborg.  It's a semiminiature.  Same thing here, but this time I removed only the bottom row.  There are a few more blossoms open this morning than there were on Thursday, but once again, this looks like a different plant. 

There is something else you might not notice until I point it out to you - look at the difference in the leaves in each set of photos and notice how the ones on the left look duller than the ones on the right.  Notice too, that in the photos on the right, the leaves are deeper/darker in color.  I don't know for sure, but I believe both of these positive changes are the result of the leaching .

Live and learn . . .  :-)

And now, it's back to the basement for me.  Those leaves won't wait forever!


Knittinggarden said...

Very interesting! I love African Violets and used to have some, even though I was totally a "put them on the kitchen windowsill and hope they bloom" kind of grower. It certainly makes a difference in how they look when you know what you're doing! Good luck on your rescue mission.

Michelle said...

I DID notice how the leaves looked much less dull, and thought you were going to tell us that you cleaned them and applied something to them. Pretty amazing change from within!

candy said...

It looks promising. Best of luck with the leaves and any plants that make it to the show. Do you still have Neptune?

A :-) said...

Candy - no, Neptune did not survive the debacle :-(