Monday, October 17, 2016

On the Stands . . .

It's been awhile since we've taken a look at the stands.  I've let most of the plants come in to bloom because I realized I wasn't going to be going to show this fall after all.  Here's my Champagne Pink - a lovely trailer that's finally growing with the crown variegation in its description.  Certainly in need of grooming, but looking pretty good  :-)

And here is Cajun's McKenna Trail.  It's like a blue snowball!  Definitely a favorite!

And this is Knight Rider, a new chimera from Lyndon Lyon.  I don't always have great luck with Lyndon Lyon plants - I confess I was seduced by the blossom.  If you know me at all - you know that this hardly ever happens.  But it did this time - and you know I really wanted it because chimera's are spendy.  They won't propagate true from a leaf cutting - you have to have a sucker.  That means that they can command substantially higher prices than a regular African violet.

Here is how it was looking this weekend - definitely in need of grooming.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the symmetry was not bad at all.  A number of leaves had to go, however:

 I took those leaves off and then decided to "tease" the blossoms up through the leaves.  This is important for show growing - I think you'll see the difference immediately:

That is the same plant with the six leaves that I marked above removed - and with the blossoms "teased" i.e., gently coaxed upward through the leaves so that the blossom stalks stand up higher in the center rather than laying down out the sides.

I'm encouraged by the symmetrical foliage, but this plant is never going to be a heavy bloomer - each of those bloom stalks has only two blossoms on it.  The beauty of the blossoms makes up for a lot, but that's extremely low bloom count for any African violet.

Take a look:

In my hand is one blossom stalk on K's Tipsy Spritzer:

There are 14 blossoms on that one stalk - some are not even open yet - You can see that this plant is going to be a great show plant  :-)

Here is Knight Rider with the blossoms removed.  Now that they are out of the way, you can see that the plant has that beautiful triangular shape.  This is how you want a growing standard in a 3" pot to look!  Yay!  I'm excited to grow this one out to its full potential even with the low bloom count.

While we are on the topic of blossoms - This is a bloom stalk from Crystallaire:

There are nine blossoms on this bloom stalk - the blossoms themselves are physically quite large.  I've been pretty happy with this plant and I thought it was blooming true to its description:

Crystallaire (4295) 02/21/1981 (Eyerdom) Double medium blue star/white edge. Plain, pointed. Large
If you know about African violets or are learning, please look closely at that bloom stalk and tell me what you see . . .

Here, I'll give you a hand.  This is full double medium blue star blossom with a white edge.  You can clearly see two full layers of petals in this one blossom.

This is a semidouble medium blue star blossom with a white edge.  It looks like a single, but it has that little tuft in the center - that makes it a semidouble.

And this is a single medium blue star blossom with a white edge. A beautiful single star . . .

All of these are on that single bloom stalk - and in fact there was only ONE blossom that was a full double.


You probably know what that means to this show grower . . .  This was not the first bloom cycle so I can be reasonably sure that this plant is no longer stable.  It's not really a surprise - it's what is considered a vintage variety.  It's an old Eyerdom hybrid that was released in 1981, which means it's 35 years old.  Decades of leaf propagation have rendered it not quite itself any longer.  I can't enter this in a show and expect it to do well - it's no longer blooming true to its stated description and points would be deducted accordingly.  A lot of points.  If I wasn't a show grower I would probably keep it because I love me a beautiful star blossom - but I do grow for show, and I have been limiting my collection for quite awhile now - when this one goes, I will be down to 22 varieties.

If you are growing for show it's critical that you check your plants.  Check the blossoms against their descriptions in First Class 2.  Don't be surprised at show!

Here endeth the lesson  ;-)


candy said...

Lovely blooms! I really like K's Tipsy Spritzer. Is that Kay in Michigan?

A :-) said...

No - Kathy Hajner in New Mexico. Here's her Facebook page:

Janice H. said...

I always enjoy seeing what's on your stands. Your violets are lovely! I've tried growing Champagne Pink several times and it never lives very long. Recently I changed the soil mix that I had been using and now only use packaged AV soil with perlite. That change has been a big help and I'm thinking I may try a few violets again that have died on me in the past. Although my other houseplants seem to flourish in the basement under the grow lights, the AV's don't seem to like it as well. Seems that they're hinting they want to be upstairs. :)

I find it rather interesting that over time some violets have changed their flowers genetically. But I suppose that is due to the hybridization process. Some characteristics may not be stable and that brings differences in later years. That can be disappointing if you like a certain flower.

Janice H.

A :-) said...

Janice - when a plant becomes unstable over time, it's sort of like a copy of a copy of a copy, etc. When you get 35 years down the line, it's sort of inevitable that the copy won't be quite as sharp as the original :-)

Thank you - I'm glad you enjoyed seeing some of the plants! And a lot of people successfully use commercial AV mixes (although they generally cut them with additional perlite). If you find something that works for you, stick with it!

Oh - IIRC, Champagne Pink required a pretty long time under the dome until newer leaves started to green up. It was pretty much white for quite awhile.

yorkshirekib said...

I have been trying to rewatch All About African Violets but am unable to find it. Is it unavailable? I need to brush up on repotting techniques. Thanks

A :-) said...

Hi Yorkshirekib - I ceased production on the podcast about a year ago, and the videos are not available at this time.