First The Leaf !!

Time to  put down a leaf

………….and WAIT,  like an expecting parent!

Very simple to do. The same rules apply whether you are starting with a leaf, a sucker or a beheaded crown.

Here a 3oz solo cup  illustrates  the principle, the size container is up to you.

View cut away cup leafMost will start with a leaf. Trim the stem to length (you decide) cutting at a slight angle.

Set in cup on top of moist (about wrung out dishcloth feel)medium. Push firmly into medium but not deep.

Some growers cut the large top off the leaf, it makes the cup easier to handle and doesn’t hurt the leaf. I have put the cut top into another cup and got babies.

A sucker is handled the same way. Set the sucker (remember, it has 3 leaves) on top of the medium push firmly, but don’t bury the bottom.

Put the prepared container in something that will conserve moisture. A plastic baggy is great for single pots. I use an alum baking pan with clear cover to hold a lot of pots. Use your imagination to make a little greenhouse for your maternity ward.

in about 30 days,

Roots will develop.  During the next 30 days you should begin to see tiny baby plants develop on the end of the mother leaf.    These are “rabbit ears”.

In about 90 days

(remember the rule of 3? (30 days x 3) you will have babies who have some leaves at least the size of a dime. Each is ready to go into its own In 3 monthspot.

These are part of a group of leaves that I put down 3 months earlier,

On some of  these I have left each  attached to Mama); if I wanted more babies I would just take Mama away so I could put her back in a nursery cup to re-root and produce more little ones.

The mix will be kept about the moisture level of a wrung out wash cloth.  They will be feed a very weak fertilizer according to the program I have decide to follow.  Using a plastic cover over the plants makes maintenance simpler.

about 5 months

The babies are now about 5 months old.
There were different varieties in this batch which accounts for the 5 months oldvarious size plants. Even now I am trying to encourage the single round shape that the large plants will be groomed to.   
Continue the feeding program with weak fertilizer.  The stems are relatively short and the leaves have a nice color (most of these are variegated).

Within a Year

Optimara Little Inca

 Originally published in a Facebook Group  – The Plants Exchange.   All photographs property of the author

Patience Is A Virtue I lack !!

What a surprise to learn  many African Violets hobbyist are just like me!!  Our interest in the lovely plant goes  back  many years, we grew so many pots of violets it became an overwhelming task; plants, pots, light units were all stored away.

“Never again!” was the silent resolve until one day…………………..not sure exactly what happened but the bug bit hard!!

Out comes the “violet stuff” that has been packed away.   Tighten’ them shelves, wash  dem pots, trek to the garden center for the prepared mix and some extra perlite!  There is so much to do.

Oh why did I sell all my African Violetmagazines on ebay?  Wonder how much has changed in the past few years?  Are my favorite hybridizers still hard at work?   Gotta’ rejoin AVSA.

Hey, I don’t have to wait for the catalogs now!  Just go online and WOW!! (the pictured plants are gorgeous) I can not believe how the cost of things has changed!!   Leaves used to be 50 cents,  plants  $2 for the  really special ones, shipping cost was negligible!!

Yep, times  and prices have changed, but already I feel that old anticipation  to see a gorgeous 8 inch semi-mini  with a gleaming crown of beautiful flowers.

Not mine, but I can dream

Color is great, but no ordinary NOID (no name) this time round..No sir, my green darlings will have registered  names.  Since there are no growers or clubs with which I can associate, the required cash outlay demands that I start with a couple of small registered starter plants and an assortment of 20 pedigreed leaves from a dealer I recognized off ebay.

Leaves arrive and are promptly prepared

The assortment of leaves arrive on one of the hottest days of summer, with baited breath I open the box, expecting to see mush.    Low and behold, I pour out 21 packs (got a bonus) of  fresh, crisp leaves….all labeled!   I am on my way!!

Most of the afternoon is spent carefully labeling containers; putting down those precious beginnings of a new collection.   Finally,  they are snuggling in the nursery;  soon there will be babies to share, blooming plants to admire! I dream!

I wait, and I wait!  Why don’t I see little ears on those mother leaves?   I wait some more!

I have got to see some color; in desperation, I go to a home improvement store  to find a couple of blooming Optimara violets (NOID).     I wait.

It took forever, but one day there is  a little ear on one leaf!!!  Everyday the trays are examined, one by one babies appear.   Then I wait!

Will those baby leaves ever get to the size of a nickel (or even a dime)?   I wait impatiently!

Memories of  good experience in the past always speed events of the good old days.  With violets, it is no different.

When separating  babies this past week, and revisiting records on the mother leaves, the realization hit.   These little treasures are right on schedule!

The separated treasures  are right on schedule!

The separation of clumps is taking place EXACTLY three months to the day of the original putting down of leaves.

A  reasonable schedule of development is: roots  during first month, ears during the second  month, by the end of three months there should be enough growth for the babies to be separated from Mom.