No 05 – February 2014


The Violet Barn newsletter                                   No. 5 – February 2014
Note: Newsletter has been copied to this page–appearance will differ from the original.


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Pin it to Win it Contest!

Have four plants, of your choosing, shipped to you at no cost.  Here’s the deal.  Go to our “Pinterest” page  and view our “Pin it to Win it” contest board.  Follow the instructions given and you may win four of the plants you can select from those shown on the contest board.  Contest ends April 1, 2014.


February 10, 2014.
Next international shipping date
Order deadline is February 4 to give us time to submit phyto application

February 20-23, 2014.
Connecticut Flower & Garden Show
CT Convention Center in Hartford
Visit us at booth #800

March 21-23, 2014
Capital Dist. Garden & Flower Show
Hudson Valley CC, Troy, NY
Visit us at booth #301

More free stuff:

AVSA Convention Show awards.
Nashville, Tennesee, May 28-31.
Best Robinson collection wins $200.  2nd place wins $100. 

Earn a free plant when you order. Simply write a review before ordering, good or bad, we’d like to know.  Details found on online catalog.

Contact us:

shop at:


mail:  PO Box 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

Shown above: Streptocarpus in our ‘stock’ room
What’s news:

The redesign of our website.  You’ll notice a fresh look to many of our web pages, beginning with our homepage.  Minor in some ways, major in others.  All have been made to make the pages a bit more relevant, quicker to load, easier to view and navigate.

More has been added to our plant care pages.  Check out our “propagating begonias by leaf” in our lessons section.  Also more on our FAQ pages.  If you want a quick answer to your question, simply type it into the search field on the homepage–you’ll almost instantly get likely answers.

Some of what’s new:
Rob’s Ditzi Mitzi NT Milye Vesnuschki TV Faeton Jim’s Spider

Rob’s Ditzi Mitzi. Lovely semiminiature African violet with green and white variegated leaves and semidouble pink and white pinwheel blooms.
Sinningia ‘NT Milye Vesnuschki’.  New variety from Russia. Huge double white blooms peppered in burgundy-purple.
Sinningia ‘TV Faeton’.  Another new Russian variety. Double lilac blooms with frosted white centers.
Episcia ‘Jim’s Spider’
Shiny deep green leaves with silver veining and bright, bright, yellow blooms.


This month’s question:What is your soil recipe?  Our basic recipe is the following:  3 parts ‘Promix HP’, 2 parts coarse vermiculite, 1 part extra-coarse vermiculite.  ‘Promix’ is just a peat-based commercial mix that we buy in compressed bales.  It contains perlite, mycorrhizae (beneficial fungi that help in plant growth and nutrition), and a wetting agent.  Broken down by major ingredients, or finished mix would be approximately 35% peat, 15% perlite, and 50% vermiculite.  Our “wicking mix” is much more porous—about 35% peat, 60% perlite, and 15% vermiculite.

You needn’t use our recipe to grow plants well.  If what you use works, don’t change it.  Just remember that the goal is to provide your plant’s roots with the right amount of moisture (moist, not soggy), when it needs it (avoid wet-wilt cycles), where it needs it (at its roots).  If you do use a constant-watering method, like self-watering or wicking pots, you MUST use a mix with plenty or perlite, at least 50% or more.

This month’s tip:
When repotting Sinningia, it is best to wait until they have bloomed.  At this point, they should have a tuber and will be more difficult to kill.  Don’t overpot sinningia—provide a pot just large enough to accommodate the tuber and the small root system around it.  Using too large a pot (and too much soil) only increases the chance that the soil will remain too wet and possibly rot the tuber.  Like a potato, a sinningia tuber will resprout if it has “eyes”.  So when pruning or removing top growth, leave just a tiny bit of stem (the “eye”) so that the tuber quickly resprout. 
Planning a visit?
If you’re planning a visit now, you’ll see full shelves and a fair number of blooming plants, since we’re “gearing up” for spring shows and anticipated spring mail orders.  Keep in mind, though, that everyone wants blooming plants in spring!  This means much of what’s in bloom may be set aside for shows, or are promised for events (party favors, showers, weddings), and to our mail-order customers. Many of these plants may be out of view.  If you’re traveling and need accommodations, the “violet house” is available for rental—contact us.
Your feedback is welcome!
Send comments to:
or post them to our facebook page!


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