Next Meeting: Our Society's next meeting is the third Saturday in February 2015. It is held at the MANNING ACTIVITY CENTRE, at 3 Downey Drive, Manning. Click here for a site map. The year 2014 finishes with a Christmas Luncheon where yearly trophies are awarded to growers who have adorned our competition over the calendar year.
The Australian African Violet Association had its Annual Show over the weekend 25 and 26 October 2014. It produced some beauties and here they are:
Kent & Joyce Stork AVSA Vol. 47 No.2
Some African violets come from unstable genetic strains, that is, the plants will not consistently pass their characteristics on to the next generation through propagation of leaf cuttings. Some of the offspring will look like the parent. But some may bloom with an entirely different colour. This change is referred to as a sport. While many violets will occasionally sport, the unstable strains sport on a regular basis. Their instability is passed along to both the off spring resulting from leaf cuttings and to new hybrids made using the unstable plant as a parent. Violets with fantasy blossoms, those that show speckles or streaks of a contrasting colour to the background, are apparently all unstable. The fantasy hybrids that we have worked with will frequently produce sports which have some or all solidcolour blossoms. Recently, we had a sport on which one-fourth of the plant bloomed true (pink with blue streaks), one-fourth bloomed with a pink and blue chimera (striped) pattern, one-fourth bloomed blue, and one-fourth bloomed pink. These plants may also have a blossom which is partly fantasy, and partly a solid colour.
Another group of violets that tend to be unstable are those with bi-colour blossoms. By definition, these have at least two different colour areas on each blossom (which is different from edged blossoms or two tones of one colour). Some of the most unstable bi-colours are those which exhibit irregular colour patterns or splotches and smears of colour on a white background. These varieties will often signal that they are sporting to a solid colour with a change in the green colouration of the foliage. Dark patches on lighter green leaves is a good indication that some or all of the blossoms may be solid-colour.
Why are plants unstable? The genetic code of the violets is a chain of DNA which looks like a tiny twisted ladder. Without getting too complicated, just before the cell splits (which is the process of growing), the DNA chain splits into two half-ladders. Each half-ladder then uses some "spare parts "from the cell to rebuild itself. When that process is complete, the cell divides into two with each resulting cell containing a complete DNA ladder to determine what the cell will be like. Mutations result when a mistake is made in the process of rebuilding the DNA ladder. It may be that some plants do not provide adequate "spare parts" for the rebuilding. These "spare parts" come from the food the plant receives as well as chemicals produced in the plant. This explains why a plant that is unduly stressed by poor cultural conditions seems more likely to sport.
This is a fungus that attacks the centre growth of the plant. It most likely occurs if water falls on the crown of the plant and is not removed. It is noticed by the floppiness of the crown. There is no cure except starting a new plant from leaf cuttings and discarding the diseased plant.
Spring/Summer Growing Tips
Occasionally, a grower is doing everything well, and a violet will stubbornly remain out of bloom while developing beautiful leaves. Botanists would say that it is in variegated mode. In order to switch it to a flowering mode, the plant needs a gentle threat that will trigger a ‘survival of the species’ reaction. Squeezing the size of the pot or gently ‘thumping’ the pot on a table surface will disturb the roots enough to trigger a panic response, often causing the violet to begin setting flowers. It sounds silly, but there is a good science to support this action. Of course following other previous tips, provide light, watch the temperature and humidity, keep plenty of fresh circulating air, do not feed and watch out for pests etc.
(Thanks to all those beautiful African violet people who publish or offer their experience in growing better quality Gesneriad).
Saintpaulia Speak - Red Delicious
Red Delicious is a Standard whose bloom is a semi-double dark red pansy hybridised by Margaret Taylor. The leaves are dark green. It is a colour that does well In a brightly lit position.. This is a lovely image of this cultivar which I am pleased to say that was taken by myself..
Violet Talk. Come and join in the fun with our new leadership group and activities that will involve and interest you. Our Members get access to special web pages with loads of information (this month's edition has the Instability article on the left included) and a bigger brighter version of the Newsletter ‘VIOLET TALK’ . We send out a text only version to our Australian Association and Society colleagues in the African Violet world every two months. The October Web version combining interesting articles plus reports on our monthly meetings and competition results is now available to our members through the Members Only Page. We are a beaut bunch of people and will make your life interesting and productive with workshops and talks all squeezed into three hours on a Saturday afternoon once a month.
Creating a Miniature Greenhouse
Two approaches in creating your own small greenhouse. Technique one, is to cover the leaf and pot with a sandwich bag (zip lock bags can tip over) and secure it a bow the bottom of the pot. With the second technique, which works if you are setting many leaves, is to place pots in a covered tray with matting. Any plastic container with a clear cover will work well (plastic wrap can serve as a cover). Check periodically to make sure leaves are moist. It is preferred that you water each plant however, if time is short, just wet the matting. If sides or top of container appear, very wet, wipe sides and top dry with a paper towel. This is critical because too much moisture will rot leaves.
Leaves of an African violet plant turning pink could be the result of a condition we call “bleaching” in which the chlorophyll in the leaves are depleted.
Usually, when leaves begin looking pink, it is because the red underside cells of the leaf are visible through the upper cells. This is because the chlorophyll in the leaf (the green pigment) is being used up (by photosynthesis) faster than the plant can replace it.
There are two ways to counter the problem:
Alternating Tips Turning Your Violets: If you are growing your violets in a position where they receive light from one side (this applies to most situations), it is necessary to rotate your plants a quarter turn each day, otherwise the leaves grow towards the light and if not rotated regularly the main stem will bend in that direction, and sometimes no amount of turning will straighten it again. This spoils the shape of the plant. It has been suggested that to turn the plant in an anti-clockwise direction will be more beneficial than clockwise. This may or may not be true, but you may like to experiment. African violets need no rest period. Given good conditions they will flower continuously forever.
Novel Methods Of Growing African Violets: You may wish to try African violets other than in standard pots (100mm) and there are many ways that will make quite a spectacular display provided that you follow the general rules of culture and provide them with adequate light to produce blooms. A lot of our competitions (and certainly in other Societies and Associations) have a Novelty Section and growers purchase odd shaped containers to grow some of their smaller varieties in. Dish gardens can be an exciting experience of combining other plant varieties with African violets using various platforms such as wood for instance. It is fun and challenging at the same time.
Terrariums provide ideal conditions for violets and you can make very interesting displays in aquariums, fish bowls or other glass containers. With no drainage you need to watch the watering very closely. If there is moisture on the glass during the daytime it probably is too wet and the lid should be left off for some of the moisture to evaporate. Provide plenty of drainage material (i.e. river sand and/or charcoal) in glass containers so that excess water can remain on the bottom away from roots of the plants. Miniature violets and miniature Sinningias are ideal for terrariums. Keep the glass clean and if you use charcoal it is said to "sweeten" the water.
Strep hint: A suggestion is to start repotting outdoor Sinningias sometime in late July (even earlier for some if you can manage it). Usually most of them would be finished by now. Just doing a few each day is the trick.
Two of Andy Kuang's (The Early Morn Society in Victoria) recent Gesneriad hybridized outcomes.
Want to contact us or ask a query, click on the email button below and send us a "hello" or query about your African violet. Or maybe even join! Plenty of information in the Maintenance, History and Annual Show Pages above with links to other societies, as well as the rest of this Home page