No 11 – August 2014

The Violet Barn newsletter                                          August 2014 – No. 11

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August 12, 2014.
International orders must be placed by this date for shipment week of August 18.

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)
Pseuderanthemum sinatum

An odd-looking plant with thin, staghorn-shaped green and white variegated leaves. We list it as a miniature houseplant since it can easily be used in small containers or dish gardens.  It is tolerant of some neglect and quite easy to grow.  It blooms, too!

Though still quite compact, our ‘stock’ plant is grown a bit larger (a 4 or 5″ pot).  It is easily shaped by pruning stems when they get a bit long and woody.  Flowers will appear on new growth in spring and fall.

Shown above is Episcia ‘Alice’s Aussie’ grown by Eirlys Rawcliffe.  Eirlys emailed this photo with the message, “Have been ordering from your company for quite a while and am thrilled about all the plants I have received.  Is there a place for customers to post pictures of plants on you website?  I have an episcia that, IMHO, is quite spectacular”.  We agree, and we’re posting your photo!

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 Before the Storm.  (CK Pered Grozoi)  New Russian hybrid with large, fully double, white and blue carnation blooms over medium-dark semiminiature foliage.  Heavy blooming show variety.

Episcia ‘Jim’s Pink Mirror’Lovely deep pink blooms over silvery-green leaves shaded to dark bronze.  Easy bloomer and grower.

Episcia ‘Jim’s Wild Rose’.  Beautiful shimmering silver to pale green leaves with pinkish-beige edging and bright orange blooms with yellow throat.  Consistent bloomer, good grower.

To see more:

What’s News:

Not much!  No shows in August, and no traveling!  We’ll be staying home, growing plants.  An unusually cool, wet, summer has kept us inside more than usual, but has been good for the plants.

Inventory updates:

Streptocarpus.  Most varieties are again, or will be, in stock.  We’ve had a lot of plants potted–just needed them to grow large enough to ship.  You can also expect to see some new listings in the coming months.  We’ll feature these in future newsletters. 

Supplies.  All sizes of leaf support rings are now back in stock.  Though these aren’t necessary for most hobby growers, for those who wish to exhibit plants, or simply want to grow African violets as large specimens, these can be invaluable. 

This month’s question:

Can I use my regular potting medium to root leaves?

Yes, though depending upon the consistency of the soil and your care of the cuttings, this may or may not be the best choice.  African violets are easy to propagate from leaf cuttings, but doing it well (producing lots of plantlets quickly) takes some practice, and finding the right rooting medium is part of this.  Much is simply experience from “trial and error”.There are many different recipes for rooting mediums.  There is some general advice we can give, though. 

Use a mix that is very porous and light, and keep it fairly loose in the pot when rooting leaves.  You want to make it easy for the leaf to produce roots and for plantlets to make their way up to the surface.  If the medium is too dense, or is packed, this will be more difficult and plantlets will be slower to appear.  This usually means using plenty of vermiculite and/or perlite in the mix.  How much?  This depends upon how wet you plan to keep the mix–add more perlite the wetter you intend to keep it.  Usually, this means something much lighter than your regular potting mix, but not necessarily so. 

What’s our mix for rooting leaves?  Basically our regular soil mix with a lot more vermiculite added–approximately 20% peat, 10% perlite, and 70% coarse vermiculite. For more information on propagating violets from leaves, visit our plant care pages

This month’s tip:

Dry soil can be difficult to work with, yet many growers choose to pot using soil this way.  It makes potting and repotting messy and difficult.  Then, once potted, the soil can be difficult to water–dry peat moss can tend to repel, rather than absorb, water. 

Here’s what we do.  Moisten the soil ahead of time.  The day before you plan to do your potting, add hot water to the dry soil mix, at a rate of 1 part water to 4 parts soil,  by volume.  This will give the soil just enough moisture to hold together, yet not so much as to be muddy. 


Some thoughts while looking at some of our newest plants, that seem to have accumulated out of nowhere, and now wait to be dealt with.  Like a grower of any size collection, it seems we’re always adding to it more than subtracting. 

Ever wonder how we came to have so many different plants?  Like you, we find many of our plants from other vendors–at the many shows we attend, from the catalogs and websites we are always looking through, or “bartered” from a friendly competitor.

Still others we import, or have sent to us from friends and growers we know in other countries.  They know we’ll appreciate having the new material and also know that we provide a means of distributing some of their newest hybrids to a wider audience. 

Being “plant people”, we also never miss an opportunity to visit a nearby (sometimes no so near) botanical garden, conservatory, garden center, etc. when we travel.  Sometimes we’ll just stop to see what’s growing on the “side of the road”.  As you likely have discovered, “plant people” like to share–much of the fun of growing a plant is sharing it with others who admire it.  Many of our most interesting, and most of our favorite, plants were acquired this way–from friends and other growers.

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