May 28, 2011


Tim is posting again at A Passion for Petrocosmea. If you like these amazing plants, check it out.

Hort Log has a post on Aeschynanthus hians v. tricolor. I'm one of the crowd who has been wondering about the difference between the two.

And... do you have your Convention wish list yet? The May issue of Gleanings has a "sneak preview" of some expected sales room appearances. (Among other very educational pieces!)

May 25, 2011

from the Baltimore African Violet Club Show (part II)

by Brian Connor. Photographs by Barry Woolf.

Shirley Huffman also had some wonderful plants, including the best species, Saintpaulia ionantha clone pendula var kizarae. Seems like nowadays many former species are now considered subspecies or specific clones of S. ionanatha. If you are looking for a robust trailing species to grow, seek out this variety. Shirley brought a couple for the sales table and I could not resist snapping one up.

Her 'Rhapsody Dolly' was pretty amazing as well.

John Boggan should feel proud, because Shirley entered two of his Kohleria hybrids. 'Brimstone' won best gesneriad in show. She also entered a smaller 'Silverfeather' that had beautiful leaf coloration.

There were some large Columneas (Shirley and Andrew), Aeschynanthus longicaulis (Shirley), and lovely Episcias (Shirley in this case, but Marie and I also showed Episcias).

Columnea orientandina

Aeschynanthus longicaulis

Episcia 'Pink Acajou'

I will end this series of photos with Sinningia 'Bewitched.' This is another Peter Shalit hybrid, a parent of S. 'Tomorrow.' It is similar in that it is a peloric S. cardinalis type of flower. The outer tube is a lighter shade of color than 'Tomorrow.' 'Bewitched' is usually the more floriferous of the two I believe.

May 24, 2011

from the Baltimore African Violet Club Show (part I)

by Brian Connor. Photographs by Barry Woolf

On May 6-7, 2011, the Baltimore African Violet Club held its annual judged show and plant sale.

Here is a lovely Chirita 'Patina' shown by Andrew Norris. In the sunlight, you can see the red hairs on the leaves that distinguish this hybrid from other Chiritas. 'Patina' is one of Peter Shalit's unique hybrids using C. sclerophylla as a parent.

In addition to his wonderful Chiritas and Petrocosmeas, Andrew showed a charming little Pearcea hypocyrtiflora:

Petrocosmea flaccida

Saintpaulia shown by Marie Burns always seem near perfection. Note the symmetry and the consistency of the leaf size and color. The leaves lie flat and none stick out at the wrong angle. For the variegated semi-mini, the variegation in the leaves is evenly distributed without extreme disparity.

Saintpaulia 'Cherry Frosting'

Saintpaulia 'Robs Kitten Caboodle'

And Marie showed some large Streptocarpus hybrids as well....

Streptocarpus 'Raspberry Network'

Streptocarpus 'Bristol's Solar Wind'

More to come....

May 17, 2011

Saintpaulia 'Teeny Bopper' and Saintpaulia shumensis

by Lee Linnet

At the Mid Atlantic African Violet Society (MAAVS) convention in Fredericksburg a few years ago, I obtained two leaves each of these miniature African Violets and have found that they fit in with every growing scene: terrarium, dish garden, on the light stand.

'Teeny Bopper' has very tiny (about Sinningia pusilla-sized) dark green, glossy leaves and purple cup-shaped flowers in profuse clusters held above the foliage.

A small specimen of 'Teeny Bopper' exhibited at the National Capital Area Chapter show in 2006. This is a truly diminutive plant.

S. shumensis has larger (but it's still a mini) medium green leaves with white, single flowers that also stand above the foliage.

Saintpaulia shumensis
Saintpaulia shumensis cl shumensis Mather EE, exhibited by Nancy Carr at The Gesneriad Society's 2009 Convention.

Both sets of leaves rooted quickly and produced leaves in two months, although I wasn't sure I had leaves on 'Teeny Bopper'; I thought the green was algae until I looked through a magnifying glass. I used a 1-1-1 mix and sifted the top layer, then bottom-watered until the mix was moist, used a toothpick to position the leaves, put the pots into one of those clear
plastic covered containers fron the salad bar and put that at the end of the lights, approximately 8" top of container to the bottom of the tubes (two 40 watt daylight).

Now they're in various locations, depending upon the planting - terrarium, dish
garden, or just in pots. The humidity ranges from 100% (terrarium) to 65-70% for the others.

When I transplanted these African Violets, I used ProMix with some added horticultural charcoal. The mix is kept moist and I rotate fertilizers at 1/4 strength every second or third watering except for the terrarium where I use an eyedropper of fertilizer every two or three months so as not to overwet the plants.

If you are fastidious about removing suckers, you'll have your work cut out for you because these plants invented the word! However, if you let them produce suckers, you'll quickly have nice mounds of blooming plants. You might have to remove one or two, but for the most part, the plants will produce suckers symmetrically around themselves.

These are true miniatures and give an added dimention to a decorative planting -- plus you won't have to wonder if that tuber or rhizome will resprout and if it doesn't, what can you put in its place....


May 10, 2011

May Petal Tones newsletter (PDF edition)

The May 2011 issue of Petal Tones (PDF) is now available on the National Capital Area Chapter of the Gesneriad Society's website.

This issue includes a short article by Jim Roberts on his trip to China, and photographs from the Delaware African Violet and Gesneriad Society Show.

Jim will be talking about his China trip this Saturday, May 14, 2011, at the regular meeting of the National Capital Area Chapter of the Gesneriad Society.  Location: the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.  Doors open at 10:30 a.m., program begins at 11:00 a.m.

To sign up to receive the e-newsletter by e-mail, email the editors. Back issues are also on our website.

May 7, 2011

Sinningia (Li'l Georgie x self) - F2s

I recently harvested a couple of seed pods of (Sinningia ‘Li’l Georgie’ x self).

S. 'Li’l Georgie' is cross between musicola and concinna by Jim Steuerlein, and I got mine as a tuber at the Gesneriad Hybridizers Association meeting during The Gesneriad Society’s annual convention in 2009. People report it to be an easy and vigorous grower, and this has been true for me as well - a very easy and steady bloomer.

Having confirmed that the plant will set seed in my growing conditions, I had to decide what to do with the seed. For starters, I didn’t have many - only about 30 seeds total from two pods. I did a little Googling and saw on Sinningia & Friends that Jim Steuerlein was growing F2s, so I asked him how they came out and whether he thought it worth sowing the seeds.

Here’s some of what he had to say, and some photographs of his F2s:

There will be more variation than you might think. To put it another way, NONE of the F2's were exactly like Li'l Georgie.  I only have 14 F2s that have bloomed/survived, so my results are not definitive and growing out more F2s could produce even more interesting plants.

The only complaint I have had about them is they are not as vigorous as Li'l Georgie. They have been more like the grandparents, muscicola and concinna - seemingly more picky and slower.

Here are some pictures of the F2s from Li'l Georgie.

The flowers range in color from muscicola to concinna, and may or may not be spotted. The flower "shape" and size is more variable than the color. Some F2 plants seem extra tiny, too, but it's hard to be sure. Some have tiny leaves like concinna but indeterminate growth like muscicola.

There is one purple/white individual that has smaller, almost coke-bottle shaped flowers. The picture is older but that one survived; I'm glad.

One picture shows a tiny leaved plant with long leafy stem, next to another that is very rosette and tiny with an almost Streptocarpus effect.

One has a cupped face that never flattens out:

I hope someone gets an all-dark-purple individual and I also imagine the possibility of something with MORE spots than concinna, or a spots in stripes effect.

Finally, below is a picture of my (Li'l Georgie x White Sprite) plants showing one with a deformed blossom and others that have never bloomed. The deformed flower is the second flower ever on this plant in more than six months. Its first flower was not deformed and roughly resembled pusilla or ‘Bright Eyes.’

(Li'l Georgie x White Sprite)

Jim Steuerlein

May 5, 2011

Chrysothemis from a mixed seed packet

by Donna Beverin

My Chrysothemis - I think pulchella with a bronzy hue - blooms every year. I started it from seed fund package of mixed gesneriad seeds 4 years ago. I rejoined The Gesneriad Society after a hiatus being just too busy working my full time job. I was excited to receive the magazine and seeds in the mail. The seedling grew into a big tuber that I lost track of while it rests from late fall to spring.

It was living in a pot with a jewel orchid and the Chrysothemis pulchella would rest in the winter while jewel orchid would bloom on my southeast windowsill. I really did not take much care of this plant and was pleasantly surprised every year when it showed up again in the jewel orchid pot which summers on my deck. This winter, the pot fell and in order to save the jewel orchid I had to repot the Chrysothemis and the jewel orchid into separate pots. The tuber was dormant when the pot fell so I let it rest and potted the tuber when I saw a tiny bit of new life sprouting.

So now, Chrysothemis is growing quickly in my front window supplemented with fluorescent tubes. This year the leaves look a lot darker since starting inside.

I shall put it on the deck when weather balances out for its summer cycle. I may eventually repot them up together again since they were so happy in their symbiotic relationship which happened by pure accident. Chrysothemis is native to Central America and you can see more photographs and an antique print at The Gesneriad Reference Web.

Donna Beverin

May 2, 2011

Baltimore African Violet Club Show and Sale

The Baltimore African Violet Club will be holding its annual judged show and plant sale on May 6-7, 2011, at The Shops at Kenilworth in Towson, MD, near Baltimore.
Gorgeous show plants, and hundreds of beautiful sale plants - African Violets and other houseplants, leaves and cuttings - as well as supplies including soil mix, plant rings, self-watering pots and more. Experienced growers will be there to answer any growing questions. Free admission.

Location: The Shops at Kenilworth
Address: 800 Kenilworth Drive, Towson, MD 21204, USA
Fri. May 6, 2011:  Sale 9am-5pm, Show 1pm-5pm
Sat. May 7, 2011:  Show & Sale 9am-5pm

The show will be on the upper level and the sale will be on the lower level of the mall.

*Visit the African Violet Society of America's website for a listing of various events by AVSA and its member clubs.