No 10 – July 2014

The Violet Barn newsletter                                              July 2014 – No. 10

Note: Newsletter has been copied to this page–appearance may differ from the original.

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Calendar (our next show):

September 18-20, 2014.
Ohio State AV Society Convention and Show
Kingwood Center, Mansfield, OH
For info:

Free stuff:

AVSA Show awards.
Best Robinson collections
1st place: $200
2nd place: $100

Write a review.
Write a review before ordering, good or bad, we’d like to know.  Get a free plant added to your order.

‘Collectible’ plant of the month
(great yet underappreciated plants)
Metrosideros ‘Red and Gold’

(aka ‘New Zealand Christmas tree’) A favorite bonsai subject because of its small, compact, growth habit and woody stems and glossy, deep green leaves.  What makes this one special (and one of our favorites) is its bright red stems and brightly variegated margins on leaves, white when young, then fading to chartreuse with age.

Keep pruned and grow as a small tree in a dish garden or container or as bonsai.  Or, grow it a bit larger as a (still small) shrub.  We grow ours both on our light stands and in natural light.  Very easy to grow, it’s quite tolerant of neglect.

Contact us:


mail. POB 9, Naples, NY  14512

phone.  585-374-8592
Monday-Saturday, 12-5 pm ET

Our shop and glasshouse at:
7209 County Road 12
Naples, New York 14512
Open Tuesday-Saturday 12-5 pm

Planning a visit?

Like the outdoors?  Our location in the hills overlooking Canandaigua lake is a great place spend time in the summer.  Like the indoors?  Our shop and glasshouse are always a great place to visit!

Accomodations?  Ask about the “Violet House“.  Available for rental to our guests and customers.

Are you an AVSA member?
Consider joining!  Sign up through our website and get a free plant!




(Some of) What’s New:

SK Little Will.  (CK Voliushka)  New miniature from Russia.  Large semidouble white and lilac blooms.  Bright green foliage.  Very profuse and constant bloomer.

SK Misty Landscape(CK Peizash v Tumane)  New miniature from Russia.  Lots of white to silver-blue “bell” blooms over medium green foliage.  Very profuse bloomer.

SK Afrodite.  (CK Afrodita)  New semiminiature from Russia.  Large double white blooms with thin crimson red edges on tips of petals.  Medium green, pointed, leaves.  Heavy blooming and growing semiminiature. 

To see more:

What’s News:

Gesneriad Society Convention Show.
This year’s (inter)national show was held in Nashville, Tennessee on July 3-5.  As we don’t have a sales table (the society sells the materials we bring) this is a “working” vacation for us.  Had a chance to attend the many lectures, see the show, and tour some of the areas attractions (if in Nashville, you mustsee the gardens in the Opryland Hotel!).  We also came home with plenty of new material, much of which we’ll likely offer for sale some time in the future.  Check our “facebook” page to view show photos.

Inventory updates.
Streptocarpus.  Most varieties are again in stock.  We’ve had alot of plants potted–just needed them to grow large enough to ship.

Variegated epicias.  Because these plants are sensitive to cold temperatures, we ship them only during the summer months and only in limited quantities.  Those we listed in early June sold out within a week.  We plan to list more, by sometime in August. 

This month’s question:

I would like to get your help on a violet, ‘Jolly Jubilee’, that I purchased from you in February.  I just absolutely love this little guy, but the leaves have slowly been turning green.  I don’t know what to do to get them white again.  The plant was not in bloom when I received it, nor has it bloomed for me. 

Here’s my growing conditions: I have not transplanted yet.  I water from the bottom.  I grow under one T8 light bulb about 12″ from the tops of plants, on for about 10-12 hours per day for first 2 months, now only on for about 8 hours per day.  I do not use fertilizer.  My room is between 67 and 80 degrees and I have a fan running.

Variegation (white or non-green) on leaves depends mostly upon temperature.  The warmer, the more green.  The cooler, the more white.  Your temperature range seems acceptable, but we suspect that it’s running closer the 80 degrees (at least where this plant is) than the 67.  You’ll find that the variegation will return once the temperatures fall closer to the 67 degrees–which might mean waiting until fall or winter.  In our environment, its leaves can be nearly all white (in winter, when growing area is cooler), to mostly green (in late summer, after a couple months of heat).

Since variegation will reappear on new growth first, anthing that encourages new growth, like repotting in fresh soil, might help in seeing variegation sooner.  For a semimini like this one, use a pot no larger than 2 1/2″ in diameter.

As for bloom, this depends on many things, most importantly good light.  8 hours a day under one T8 bulb is not enough to get the most bloom from most varieties.  We would either: use two bulbs, or increase the hours of the one bulb to 12-13.  (Note: we grow this variety 12″ below one, often two, T8 bulbs for 13 hours per day).  In your defense, this variety does tend to bloom at a later age than many, though, one it starts, it will continue to bloom almost indefinitely.  Would also recommend beginning to fertilize, with a “balanced” (formula with NPK numbers close in value).  The soil mix we ship in has few nutrients by itself and, by now, the plant has likely exhausted what it arrived with.

Don’t despair–your environment and care seem generally good, likely better than most, actually.  We’re sure this plant will be blooming soon.  It’s one of our favorites as well.

This month’s tip:

Is your episcia growing like crazy but never blooming?  This question just answered itself–why should want to bloom when it’s so happy producing so much foliage!

Episcias are actually excellent bloomers, though you wouldn’t know it looking at most of the plants being grown.  Even at shows, you’ll rarely seem them exhibited in bloom.  They are so easy to grow, and their leaves so pretty, that blooms are usually just an afterthought.

Want to see blooms?  Limit the growth of foliage.  For episcias this means not allowing your plant to produce all the stolons (runners) that it wants to.  Like any plant, it will find another way to thrive and reproduce–produce bloom!  One you begin to see flowers, then you can let more stolons grow. 

For more tips on growing episcias, see our “plant care” pages.

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