No 08 – May 2014

The Violet Barn newsletter                                                May 2014 – No. 8

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


May 28-30, 2014.
Convention Show
Nashville, Tennessee
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
Drymonia chiribogana

A plant that’s been in our collection for a few years, but we think is not fully appreciated.  An upright, branching, grower with thick, leathery, dark green leaves having distinctive silver veining.  Magenta-purple blooms with yellow throat appear from old growth, along the stem.  Even better, when done blooming, it will produce very exotic looking fruit/seedpods that must be seen.  An indestructible plant perfect for the black thumb that’s pretty even when out of bloom.

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?

Shipping so many plants late in spring, you’ll likely see lots of plants, but not many flowers at this time–they’re all going in the mail!  Check the website before visiting to view the blooms!

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:

xCodonatanthus ‘Antique Gold’.  Lemon-yellow blooms dotted with reddish-orange in throat.  Thick, glossy, fingernail-sized leaves on a cascading plant.

Episcia ‘Jim’s Blue Boy’Metallic, silver-green leaves with emerald green checkerboard on leaf edges.  Bright coral-orange blooms.  Easy grower and free bloomer.

Sagittarius Elite Variegated.  Terrific large, double, dark violet-purple stars with bright coral-pink fantasy puffs.  Wonderful gold and dark green variegated foliage.  A stunning plant.

To see more:

What’s News:

Many of our hybrids were big winners in 2013 at AVSA affiliate shows.  ‘Rob’s Chilly Willy’ was the winningest miniature variety while ‘Rob’s Boolaroo’ was the winningest trailing variety.  A number of other ‘Rob’s’ hybrids appeared on the lists of the top winners as well.

This month’s question:

We have ordered many violets from you and just love them.  I have started some cuttings but a few baby leaves turn brown and die after they emerge.  I used the mix you mentioned, sterilized it, and covered with plastic bags.  Is it normal to loose a few baby leaves or does this indicate disease?  The other baby leaves look green and healthy.

To get it right, it does take practice.  First, begin with fresh, mature, healthy leaves.  Take them from a plant that is watered adequately, neither soggy nor dry–a leaf from a plant in soggy soil is more likely to rot when rooted.  A “just” mature leaf will root the fastest–older leaves tend to be a bit woody and younger leaves not thick or developed enough.  Your rooting mix should be moist, but not soggy and should contain plenty of perlite and vermiculite, and should be a bit “looser” in the pot (not packed) than would be the case if you were potting.  

You want to provide moderate temperatures.  Too warm will encourage rotting (bottom heat, despite what you may have read is a “no-no”), and too cold will slow development.  Normal “room” temperatures are good.  Put in a bright location no more so than for any of your other plants–avoid putting in very intense, direct, or hot, light.  Once you find the right conditions, have had some practice, and some success, you’ll find rooting leaves to be quite easy.  Your problem then will be an excess of plants and no space to grow them!  More information on our “plant care” pages.

This month’s tip:

Besides growing African violets, it’s always a good idea to grow a few taller growing plants in your collection, especially if you grow in windows.  You can provide some “living shade” for your violets by placing more light tolerant, taller, plants in the windows in front of your violets or other less tolerant plants. 

We use many of our taller gesneriads, like kohleria,cobananthus, or drymonia, or plants like hoya, in our windows for this purpose.  They can tolerate the extra light and heat (though they don’t need this), and provide a bit of shade to our other plants.  It’s a “win-win” for you and your plants, and why waste a perfectly good windowsill?

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