Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Growth of an African Violet Trailer

Darling, don't be Blue (yet)!

Darling Blue Trail
This tiny, little plant has been trying to bloom since the first week I planted it. 

We've come a long way already, huh? 
Okay. So, it grows itself...just as advertised
All I have to do is pluck a leaf now and then or nudge out the tiniest little buds you ever saw! 

Have faith in the forgiving ease of growing a trailer!
We went from this (on the left) to this (on the right) in just 2 months! Once the center grew out I removed the longest, lanky leaves and set it lower in the pot. Since, I've only taken one leaf off directly over the new crown. 

It has 2 crowns and several more sprouts I'm watching. Hoping they're not blossoms?
It's true.  Read this somewhere: Get the leaves the way you want them BEFORE it blossoms. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Curiosity of Variegation

Multiplying African Violets 

Tiger Trail (6897) 07/13/1988 (P. Harris) Double bright fuchsia/pale pink back. Variegated, quilted, glossy. Standard trailer.  

I received 4 leaves of this plant in September and need to check with my friend in Montana to see if they came off the same plant? It's a curious thing! 
I'm watching the differences of variegation in leaves growing out right before my eyes. One solo cup of leaves has pink variegation and one has white? 
Same variety . . .
Is it something I've done? :)

Their tray has them both together, just off center from the middle of the shelf, fairly direct beneath the tubes.
My thinking was that I might have put 2 with more variegation in one pot and 2 greener ones in the other.  From the picture I cropped taken at the time, this doesn't really seem to be so. I remember trimming just a snip from the side of one; one leaf was mushy on the edge so it got trimmed heavily,  trying to be sure a few plantlets grew. 
I trimmed the others only after babies appeared and the mother leaf was awkward in the tray.

Leaves have been set on my shelves to produce new plantlets in 3 waves of time - which only seemed farther spaced apart than I remembered, once I checked the dates on the cups.
So it shouldn't have come to much surprise to find all the babies are at about the same stage.  
August 20 - Ebay batch of misfit clearance sale plants. 
September 14 - Montana to Maine box of joy, towards replacing some old favorites and new. 
And the Round Robin leaves arrived September 19.

In answer to my questions, Tiger Trail's history has been detailed here!

Snip of tray photo - Sept 17th arrival - tag not showing but I can tell!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Oh, flowers!

How could this NOT brighten your day?

S. ionantha
With the all too vivid memory of how fast a collection of African Violets goes downhill if you don't pay attention to them - at least a little bit - every day, I'm relieved to be still enjoying their care after nearly 3 months.   
And happy to see I can still coax them into putting on a show! 

S. ionantha was a gift from Mrs. John in Montana and I'm so pleased this one forgave my rough treatment and has settled in. I've grown this before and would easily add it to my Top Ten Favorites List!  :)

Most days my second cup of coffee in the morning competes with the attention needed by a shelf of plants.
Rob's Heat Wave
Often the coffee goes cold!

I remember very well the overwhelming "I'll do it tomorrow" lack of energy that took over before, almost without realizing it was happening, until all my plants were dead or dying.  
I do not want to follow that path again. 
I keep remembering a quote from one of the vintage African violet books I own that scolds, "Don't be at it all the time." 
But it feels like so long as I'm "at it" I'll catch problems before they snowball out of my control.

Kandy Kitchen, maybe?
I'll admit there are still times when the plants might prefer a gentler, softer touch than my Rip, Repot and Ask Questions Later method!

Kandy Kitchen suffered a bit of a set back when I went to lift it back onto a higher shelf after watering and noticed some frighteningly red leaf backs.  So of course my first thought was "I've done something wrong!" - thus following the Rip & Repot routine one more time. I've been told this is likely birth marking, combined with sporting and not actually my fault. I'm not totally convinced it wasn't brought on by something I've done, but it was in pretty dreadful shape when I got it!

It was just looking as if it had turned the corner and lots of buds had begun to appear. Of course I didn't remember to go find a camera to document how the plant looked until AFTER I ripped off all its leaves.  I disbudded all but one bloomstalk. I wanted to at least see what it was going to look like in bloom.  
Turns out it's bloom is supposed to be quite different 
I like it this way, but several new plantlets have been separated off on their own to see if they might grow better under my conditions from the beginning. 
Perhaps one will bloom true. And then we'll see which is nicer. 
Unless Mother Nature has other ideas!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Making Kids Cry

That kind of week!

Lollipop Kid had a water bottle tip over onto it when I went to set it down on the wire rack shelving and crushed a leaf over the edge of its pot.  I didn't notice the damage when it happened, but the next day found this sad tear rolling out of the leaky break.

Earlier in the day Jax went after a buzzing housefly that was bouncing off one of the T-8 bulbs and knocked a tray of plants on the lower shelf sliding sideways. Not too much damage, other than a few tipped starter plants. I took Beca's Pink Crochet out of the self-watering planter and yanked a row of haloing leaves off, so it was smaller anyways. 
It has a few less leaves now.

I potted up 2 leaf pots of babies for this variety, but it's very pink (possibly unacceptable *) blossoms aren't likely to make my future Favorites List
The spooning/haloing leaves only makes it worse. 

It was not too hard to keep only 4 of the nearly 20 plantlets produced by 3 leaves. I tried to pick just a couple of the larger plantlets WITHOUT spooning leaves. I don't know if it's something I'm doing (or not doing) but Beca'a Pink Crochet is racking up a longer list of "cons" than "pros"...the word "crochet" might not save it!

* Pink has to pass the Acceptable Pink test in our household, as defined by daughter Stephani. ;) 

Later still in the day, I went to take something out of Jax's mouth, while holding a leaf pot in my other hand. She made a grab for the leaf cup of Optimara Little Moonstone and chomped a slice in one of the 2 leaves.
Luckily, not the one actually just starting to pop up babies. 

Trinket Terrific is surviving it's rough treatment for some sort of bug. it's putting on growth finally, but not sure I trust it to be pest free yet. Or ever. Yanked off all its roots (twice) and sloshed it up an down, first rubbing alcohol, then Safer Soap treatment the next week when aphid-like bug was found on the backs of several Round Robin leaves. They all got treated.
They should probably have all been pitched.
below left:
Reflections of Spring has the biggest blossoms ever! 
Rob's Heat Wave will make my Favorites List!
Rob's Heat Wave family photo
I had too many leaves set in the solo cup, so tried to move one off on its own. Broke the mother leaf right off. These very tiny babies trying to survive on their own are Exhibit-A for why "you should not be at it all the time".