No 20 – May 2015

The Violet Barn newsletter                                            May 2015 – No. 20

Newsletter was copied to this page–appearance may differ from the original.

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May 12, 2015.
International orders must be placed by this date for shipment week of May 18. 

May 28-30, 2015.
AVSA Convention & Show
69th annual convention of the African Violet Society of America.  Held in Kansas City, MO.  For information visit

Free stuff and how to get it!

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.

On sale while we have them:

Adiantum capillis — only $3 ea.

We simply have too many on hand.  Our stock plant dropped spores everywhere and we potted up all of the plantlets! 

Also known as the ‘iron wire’ fern or ‘southern maidenhair’ fern, this makes a very attractive plant with thin, arching, stems and small, fan-shaped leaves. 

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?

Lots of plants, likely not as many blooms as you might expect, simply because so many have been recently shipped or promised for events (everyone wants flowers in spring!).  A nice time to visit the area, though, as spring is beautiful here.

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




(Some of) What’s New:

Three new Russian-hybridized varieties just added to our listing.  All are easy to grow and bloom.

EK Victoria.  (EK Viktoriia)  Sdbl. to double dark red blooms–when grown cool may show white edge.  Medium green standard foliage. (Korshunova)

Ian Spruced(Ian Nariadnaia)  Beautiful, large, semidouble to double hot coral-red.  Will show irregular white edging when grown cool.  Dark green standard foliage.  (Puminova)

RS Temptaion.  (RS Soblazn)  Large white semidouble bloos with lavender-pink thumbprints.  Medium green standard foliage.  (Repkina)

What’s News:

Attend the AVSA convention listed at left, if you have the chance.  Based on past conventions in this area of the country, expect to see plenty of spectacular show plants.  We won’t be exhibiting this year (just too busy with mail orders!) but will have a small sales booth.  One our staff will represent us there. 

Inventory updates:

Mini wicking pots are finally back in stock!  Mini and standard ‘dandy pots’ are momentarily in short supply, but expect to have more to ship very soon. 

Many new streptocarpus varieties have been listed recently–be sure to check the online catalog for these additions.  Variegated episcias (the ‘Cleopatra’ type) will be made available first week of June.  Be patient if you’re looking for these–we can only safely ship these once all chance of being chilled in transit has passed.

This month’s question:

Thank you for your beautiful violets!  I wanted to use the wick watering system with them and was curious if I need to repot them and use a lighter mix that you mentioned in your growing guide section.  I have noticed a little light mold on top of the soil and it seems to be a little difficult watering them at times.  The water doesn’t absorb as quickly and tends to lay on the surface when I water from the top.  Any help would be appreciated.

Since the plants we ship are not in ‘wicking’ soil (since we don’t grow our plants this way), for best results, you’ll need to repot them into a soil containing more perlite.  A proper soil for any self-watering system should contain at least 50% perlite.

As for the ‘mold’, you can simply scrape this off of the soil surface if it’s unnatractive.  It’s appearance is probably the result of the soil surface being kept too wet for a period of time at some point.  Breaking up the surface of the soil (with your fingertip, or a pencil, etc) will help the water make its way into the soil. 

We’ve found that it’s good to have a ‘not too smooth’ soil surface for this reason.  We’re super fussy about potting, but our staff is instructed to avoid overly-smoothing the soil when potting, as this can lead to difficulties in watering from the top later.  Also, peat can also be difficult to re-wet once it’s been allowed to thoroughly dry.  Our mix does contain a small amount of wetting agent which helps it to absorb water, but its effectiveness wanes with the age of the soil.  Here’s a trick if you’ve got real problems wetting the soil–add a drop or two of dish detergent (soap) to your water.  You don’t need much, and the soap will act as a wetting agent.

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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