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African Violets and Gesneriads: Your best tips for growing beautiful African violets

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Forum: African Violets and GesneriadsReplies: 41, Views: 418
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kathy_ann
Judsonia, AR
(Zone 7b)

January 6, 2013
12:09 PM

Post #9377288

What are your best tips for growing beautiful big healthy and lots of blooms.

I've been growing them for about 6 months now, and I have a huge shelf and each shelf is lit up. I absolutely love all the variegated ones, and have stuck mostly to that type of AV.

What are your best tips for growing them. Especially keeping them in bloom.
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 6, 2013
4:54 PM

Post #9377590

I love the variegated ones too!!! Mine are either in bloom or about to bloom. Lots of tips and methods out there. I have mine wicked and constant feed them. I will flush them and skip fertilizer maybe every 5 or 6 weeks. Best tip I have is keep the roots hugged up in their pots. They love to be rootbound and it also keeps the roots from rotting. My neighbor bought an Optimara and asked me to help her repot it. It easily went from a 4" to a 2" pot and started blooming for her in no time. What are your tips Kathy Ann?? Join in Lynn, Jim, Karen, Roly and others :)

Connie
kathy_ann
Judsonia, AR
(Zone 7b)

January 6, 2013
6:20 PM

Post #9377656

thanks for those tips, I don't really have any of my own, I'm learning lol
Roly0217
Miami, FL
(Zone 10b)

January 6, 2013
9:15 PM

Post #9377735

Kathy I did see your stand. Looks awesome !!! I would say that if you can keep the light on a timer so that they get about the same amout of light every day. I keep mines in trays with pebbles at the bottom and water once the tray is dry. Like Connie says they like to be snug in their pots. Remember to trim the inflorescence once the flowers start fading otherwise the flower might start decomposing on top of a leaf and end up with bacterial rot. I fertilize with every watering as well skipping a week out of the month. Given that I have to water twice a week. Variegated leaves are great and I love them but try some of the fantasy flowers with the variegated blooms. Those are gorgeous too !!!! I am no expert either. Still can't get new plants to grow out of leaves...:( But will try again soon.
Roly0217
Miami, FL
(Zone 10b)

January 6, 2013
9:18 PM

Post #9377740

Here are some pictures of ones blooming now or about to bloom again. I love the variety in the flowers

Thumbnail by Roly0217   Thumbnail by Roly0217   Thumbnail by Roly0217   Thumbnail by Roly0217   Thumbnail by Roly0217
Click an image for an enlarged view.

kathy_ann
Judsonia, AR
(Zone 7b)

January 7, 2013
5:57 AM

Post #9377869

Beautiful!! I've got to get a few streps!! I'm really surprised I have done well with getting the leaves to grow for me. Got lots of leaves going now!! Thanks for all the tips!!

I dont have a timer, but the lights stay on all day and my husband turns them off before bed every night. Same for every day.
lbrabec
(Lynn) Omaha, NE
(Zone 5a)

January 7, 2013
10:51 AM

Post #9378178

I love the pictures Rolando! Who are they?

I guess my best tip would be isolate,isolate.isolate.
Lynn
Roly0217
Miami, FL
(Zone 10b)

January 7, 2013
11:10 AM

Post #9378190

I will look them up when I get home. I can't remember the names off the top of my head.
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 7, 2013
11:32 AM

Post #9378201

Nice A.V. blooms Roly!!

Connie
Roly0217
Miami, FL
(Zone 10b)

January 7, 2013
1:40 PM

Post #9378374

Here they are from left to right excluding the first two. I had the last 3 on Instagram with their names added but the first two I only put African violet. I won't be home until tomorrow at 6 am

A.V. Mama's Red Dust
A.V. Ness' Pink Confetti
A.V. Fancy Free
kathy_ann
Judsonia, AR
(Zone 7b)

January 9, 2013
4:50 AM

Post #9379794

I meant to ask, what do you all use to fertilize, i've been just using the african violet liquid plant food and putting it in the water, I set my water out to sit for 24 hrs before I use it . My grandmother use to use peter's special in her's , but that stuff is hard to find . she use to use this mix she made up also, I think it had tea, dish soap and something else. She swore by that mix, I don't remember what it was exactly, she's no longer living. I wouldn't try it, I'd be affraid of killing off my AV's lol
chiquib313
Homestead, FL
(Zone 10a)

January 9, 2013
5:42 AM

Post #9379829

I believe that the Peter's brand was sold and now it is sold as Jack's but the formula remained the same. I use the Jack's 20-20-20, 1/4 tsp per gallon of water for my AV's, episcias and streps.
Chiqui
kathy_ann
Judsonia, AR
(Zone 7b)

January 9, 2013
6:28 AM

Post #9379864

Thanks
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 9, 2013
9:29 AM

Post #9380037

I use that brand and had to order it because we don't have nurseries here. I use 1/8 tsp per gal. for constant feed. Just make sure your 3 numbers are pretty even across the board and add up as close to 60 as possible. Don't get one with a high middle number which is a bloom buster. Growers might use it right before a show but rarely as it has an adverse effect on your plants if you keep using it. Several growers will also use Miracle-Gro for tomatoes. Doesn't matter what they label it for as long as the numbers are good :)

Connie
jannich
Andalusia, AL
(Zone 8b)

January 12, 2013
8:29 AM

Post #9382704

Hey Kathy Ann,just wanted to say Hi to you!

Jan in AL.
kathy_ann
Judsonia, AR
(Zone 7b)

January 12, 2013
11:52 AM

Post #9382855

Hi Jan!!
KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

January 17, 2013
3:58 PM

Post #9388508

My best growing tip: don't overwater! I've killed a hundred a.v.s over the years, but just keep trying. Many years ago, I could grow the most beautiful fancy a.v.s, but now, I can't grow one to save my life!
lbrabec
(Lynn) Omaha, NE
(Zone 5a)

January 17, 2013
5:26 PM

Post #9388592

Kay,
Don't give up! Things have changed.Everyone here is very helpful.
Lynn
KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

January 17, 2013
5:30 PM

Post #9388600

Lynn, thanks for the words of encouragement, but it might be the water where I live.
lbrabec
(Lynn) Omaha, NE
(Zone 5a)

January 17, 2013
8:28 PM

Post #9388777

That can be corrected too.What do you think is wrong?
Lynn
KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

January 18, 2013
3:26 AM

Post #9388876

Lynn, I have filtered water.
lbrabec
(Lynn) Omaha, NE
(Zone 5a)

January 19, 2013
10:57 AM

Post #9390168

Kay,
I will try to get you some help on that from others who have filtered water.
Lynn
KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

January 19, 2013
11:24 AM

Post #9390211

Thanks!
lbrabec
(Lynn) Omaha, NE
(Zone 5a)

January 19, 2013
12:17 PM

Post #9390269

Do you mean it has been run through a water softener? If so,you may be able to divert the water before it goes through the softener or buy RO water or water from the places where you take your jugs in and fill them.
Lynn
KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

January 19, 2013
1:21 PM

Post #9390334

No, it's just filtered water.
lbrabec
(Lynn) Omaha, NE
(Zone 5a)

January 21, 2013
12:36 PM

Post #9392563

Kay,
I asked some experts and this is what they said.
Lynn - We'd need to know exactly what kind of filter is being used. Generally speaking even if it's a R/O filter (which removes everything except hydrogen & oxygen) the plants should be fine as long as she's using a fertilizer with micronutrients.

KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

January 21, 2013
1:52 PM

Post #9392678

It's R/O water. I know my problem - overwatering. With our humidity, just because the pots are light, doesn't mean they need water. I just have to learn that.
kathy_ann
Judsonia, AR
(Zone 7b)

January 22, 2013
4:59 AM

Post #9393366

I have a tendancy to underwater mine since they are quite many now lol i did loose one to rot not long ago never would dry out completely which I think is why it rotted, it was shabby looking from the day I got it though, never quite did recover, i have some babies not doing well either, every time I under water they loose a few more leaves. I have no help for you Kay, sorry, They do love their lights I have mine under though.

Mine don't have a choice but to get dry feet between waterings, so much to do, I know if you water when their still wet, they do not like that. Or rather, mine don't seem to like it, I use faucet water which has set for at least 24 hrs, and I use the av fertilizer, but i'm about to bite the bullet and buy jack's av fertilizer off ebay. No where else to get it.
lbrabec
(Lynn) Omaha, NE
(Zone 5a)

January 22, 2013
11:07 AM

Post #9393740

The most important thing to remember if you have filtered water is to use a fertilizer that contains the micro-nutrients.It would also help to get some PH strips and check your water.It should be around neutral (7) or slightly below.
Lynn

This message was edited Jan 22, 2013 1:46 PM
imadigger
Palm Bay, FL
(Zone 9b)

January 23, 2013
10:33 AM

Post #9394846

My tip is for those who wick water. Make sure your trays do not go dry. The wick will dry and not pick up any water. I have my violets sitting on mats, over grids, on trays. Over the holidays, I got involved in family festivities and forgot to check my trays. A few were empty. So I added the fertilized water and went about my business. I never checked the mats. They were bone dry. I lost about 10 small young violets. They were in smaller pots and just dried up. I had to take the pots off the mats, and rewet the mats. I also had to change all the wicks in the pots. It was a big job. So I now try to check the trays every three days.
carpathiangirl
Akron, OH
(Zone 5a)

February 4, 2013
7:49 AM

Post #9407961

I still have to master the science of balanced fertilizing, sigh... So my best advice to keep the plants happy is to repot often, like 1-2 times a year. It really helps me with nutrition, aeration and grooming. Getting rather time consuming though when the number of plants magically keeps growing, hehe

As for wicking some growers don't recommend it for AVs and Streps because these don't like to be moist all the time and benefit from drier soil between watering. In my experience wicking is great for baby plants though.
kathy_ann
Judsonia, AR
(Zone 7b)

February 4, 2013
8:21 PM

Post #9408818

I have trouble keeping the babies happy. :(
j0onahra3
Pomona, CA

February 5, 2013
10:39 AM

Post #9409265

Man, this thread made me realize that I might be overwatering too! o_o...
Sallysblooms
South, TX

February 5, 2013
12:52 PM

Post #9409391

I use mostly semi hydro for my violets. Good IGS plant stands, Berkey water filter. This was a pic. from last year. Need a new on. The plants on the floor are on a stand now.

Thumbnail by Sallysblooms
Click the image for an enlarged view.

lbrabec
(Lynn) Omaha, NE
(Zone 5a)

February 5, 2013
1:16 PM

Post #9409423

Beautiful Sally!
kathy_ann
Judsonia, AR
(Zone 7b)

February 8, 2013
5:22 AM

Post #9411837

LOVE your pic sally, nice plant trays too. I have to water alot more because of the wood heat, but i think sometimes I over water too. they wilt a few days after they r watered . I also have a few nats flying around, what are your remedies for that?
HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

February 8, 2013
6:44 AM

Post #9411914

Hi All, I use the 2 piece Violet pots. I have used them for years and my violets seem to do very well. I have been told recently that they aren't good to use and impedes root growth. I never use fertilizer. When I potted these up more than 2 years ago I may have added some time release fert but that has long passed. So does anyone else use this type of pot and how do you fertilize them?

Thumbnail by HollyAnnS   Thumbnail by HollyAnnS   Thumbnail by HollyAnnS      
Click an image for an enlarged view.

lbrabec
(Lynn) Omaha, NE
(Zone 5a)

February 8, 2013
8:34 AM

Post #9412022

Very pretty Holly.I think lots of growers use these pots.
Lynn
Sallysblooms
South, TX

February 11, 2013
12:22 PM

Post #9415621

Kathy, I don't have gnats. I had them once, but now I use mostly semi hydro ceramic pellets. They have helped with watering for sure.
kathy_ann
Judsonia, AR
(Zone 7b)

May 23, 2013
10:14 AM

Post #9531188

I was wondering if you root the strep leaves the same way you root AV leaves? I've posted a trade for them but no takers so I'm going to purchase some leaves. any helpful tips would be appreciated.
aspenjocop
Northeast, MO
(Zone 5b)

May 23, 2013
10:27 AM

Post #9531207

You can root them in the same medium and the same way as an A.V. leaf. You can also cut out the mid rib and place the cut side down in the rooting medium. You can also cut them in sections lol. Several ways of doing it, depending on how many babies you want to end up with. It is a little more difficult to root them with the mid rib removed but if you lightly dust the cut end with cinnamon you will have less rot.

Hope this helps you get started. Wishing you great luck ::)))

Connie
kathy_ann
Judsonia, AR
(Zone 7b)

May 23, 2013
6:59 PM

Post #9531826

Thanks. It does help. I'll just start off w dipping the stem in the medium. If later on I get leaves that I don't mind experimenting on. I might just try those other ways.

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