No 16 – January 2015

The Violet Barn newsletter                                      January 2015 – No. 16

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

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January 27, 2015.
International orders must be placed by this date for shipment week of February 3. 

CT Flower & Garden Show
Held at the Connecticut Convention center in Hartford.  Visit us at booth 800-802, just to the left of the show entrance!  For details,

‘Winter shipping’ in effect!
Orders shipped now through April 15 guaranteed when shipped via Express mail only.  At customer’s risk when shipped by Priority mail

Free stuff and how to get it!

Congratulations to Sue Melson for correctly identifying the plant in last month’s ‘What’s this?’ contest (Streptocarpus ‘Bristol’s Nightfall).  Sue wins a free express mail upgrade on a future order.

2015 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 order.


Solve a puzzle, get a coupon!
Solve a simple, fun, jigsaw puzzle on our website, identify the plant, receive a coupon good towards a purchase from our online catalog!

Click on the photo above or go to:

Complete the puzzle and redeem the coupon by January 31.  Or, just do it for fun–no purchase necessary.

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?

The best time to visit, as the lower shipping volume means more of the nicest plants stay on the shelves.  Also a good reason to come in from the cold!

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

Carolina AriosaCajun's Royal KnockoutHeinz's Sentimental




(Some of) What’s New:

All are good showplants.  In fact, we acquired each of these at various African violet shows after seeing how nice they were in person.  They’ve done just as well under our care.

Carolina Ariosa.  Semidouble lavender-purple stars with pink fantasy puffs and occasional blue fantasy streaks and specks, slightly frilled, thin white edge.  Dark green, quilted, serrated, foliage.  Standard violet. 

Cajun’s Royal KnockoutDouble bright purple stars with frilled green edges, even prettier when grown cool.  Medium green, quilted, ruffled, foliage.  Standard. 

Heinz’s Sentimental.  Semidouble to double deep red pansy blooms over medium-dark green, cream and pink, variegated foliage.  Standard. 

What’s News:

Yes, it’s cold here.  After a mild December, it’s been brutal the last couple of weeks.  It’s rare that we can’t ship plants, but we’ve had to reschedule recent shipments due to the extreme cold.  For those who’ve had to wait an extra week of so to get their plants, our apologies.  That said, read below….

Winter shipping–yes, we do still ship! 

As stated online and in all of our advertising, we will shipanywhere at anytime.  Keep in mind though that it is winter!  Even though it may be warm where many of you live, it may not be for us (or for points in transit).  This means that we can guarantee safe delivery when shipping plants by ‘express’ mail only.  Orders typically arrive to you the day after shipping, and will require a signature upon delivery.  This ensures the safe arrival of your plants, no matter what the weather–here, there, or in between.

Inventory updates:

Lots of new material, some of which is shown at the top of page.  For those looking for primulina, our apologies as we’re behind schedule in potting more of these for sale.  We should have more in stock in another 4-6 weeks.

We’ve noticed that winter is a time when many plant terrariums or miniature container gardens.  We have an extensive list of plants suitable for terrariums on our site, probably the largest selection of truly miniature terrarium plants you’ll likely find.

This month’s question:

I purchased some kohlerias from you about a month ago.  They seemed to be catching on fine.  I planted them in the same pot.  I had a rather large pot and learned belatedly that I should use a smaller pot.  However, they were growing.  The problem comes when I try to water them.  I watered them using lukewarm water without touching the leaves and they have just kind of wilted, the leaves drying up on some of them.  What am I doing wrong?  They were growing.  They receive lots of light.  My apartment is warm.  I was watering them sparingly.  Can you give me some insight?

As a general rule, if older (outer, lower) leaves are turning dark and mushy and falling off, the plants may be getting too much water and/or the soil is too heavy and dense.  If the leaves are turning brown and crispy or dry, then the plants are likely being kept too dry or the air is too warm and dry (you mentioned that your apartment is “warm”). 

Kohlerias are VERY vigorous growers, and with proper care can outgrow their space if not controlled.  As you’ve discovered, there’s no need to group multiple plants in a pot, since any one plant can fill a pot on its own, especially once its rhizomes start sending up more shoots.  They can also take over a space if not pruned and kept to size.  Because kohleria can be such good bloomers, many growers are afraid to prune plants back when in bloom–don’t be!  An occasional pruning keeps the plants more attractive and bushy (giving you even more blooms later)…and you can put the blooming cuttings in a vase to enjoy them as cut flowers–they’ll root in the water and keep growing!

Because kohlerias mature quickly and grow so easily and fast, they can also show signs of stress when they need attention and don’t get it.  Keep their roots happy–use a light soil containing plenty of perlite and repot them as they become root-bound.  Feel free to divide large plants if necessary.  Actively growing plants will consume more water than smaller, immature, ones, but be careful not to drown them (this is where a light soil helps). 

Finally, kohlerias are rhizomatous, and can appear to want to go “dormant” if stressed.  This doesn’t mean they’ll actually lose all of their leaves and cease to grow, just that they’ll begin to look a bit ugly and grow more slowly.  If your plants are old/large (which may be the case if they’ve been doing so well ups to this point) they may just need some severe pruning and a chance to produce some new growth.

For more information, visit our plant care pages

This month’s tip:

Can’t find small saucers for your miniature plants–those plants in 2 or 3″ pots.  We don’t sell them as we have yet to find a source.  Here’s what we use, and you may have an even better idea–the tops to plastic cat litter containers.  Flat, hard plastic, with a rim, and just the right size.  They can be colorful, but if the particular doesn’t suit your taste, different litter mixes will have different colored caps–if your cat doesn’t mind, you’ll be able to find the color you want.

Are you an AVSA member?

Consider joining!  Sign up through our website and get a free plant!  For more information, visit



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