Saturday, December 20, 2008

More Richter's Blooms

At long last my newest Richter's violets are blooming! The plants are still babies and are in need of transplanting. Soon I will disbud them, pot them up, and let them grow up. It's really nice to see the blooms, though! I am still waiting for Bambino to open.

My babies lined up

Richter's Pearly Shells (1607) 03/30/1966 (F. Richter) Double medium pink. Ovate, quilted. Large (I accidentally snapped the flower off while trying to maneuver it into a better position, so I just propped it up)

Richter's Charm Song (1137) 08/19/1959 (A. Richter) Double light blue. Ovate. Standard

Softique (1957) 07/09/1969 (A. Richter) Double pale pink. Ovate, quilted, fluted. Standard

Monday, November 24, 2008

More blooms!

Sherbert (Richter)

Optimara Little Coral

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Sherbert (2534) 03/27/1974 (M. Steele/F. Richter) Double lavender two-tone/variable white. Light green, plain. Standard

Optimara Little Coral (Holtkamp) Double two-tone pink. Heart-shaped medium green Miniature

Senk's Anemone

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I haven't tried to cross violets in years! But for some reason, probably because Tipt is blooming, I thought I should give it a go. What a comical situation. I'm trying to open the pollen anther, which is about the same size as a mustard seed. I drop one. I hold the next one tighter and stab it with a needle. *Poof* pollen goes everywhere, except on the flowers! There was still pollen left, so, ok, find a flower on the plant I want to cross it with. Is the stigma ready to accept pollen? I'm looking with a magnifying glass. These things are tiny!! Bring in the bees!!! Well, what on earth pollinates African Violets in the wild? The anthers don't want to open to spill the pollen. Unless your plants have thrips, then you have pollen everywhere. Once I find a promising flower, I only need to brush the pollen on the stigma. Oops...there goes another anther. Bye bye little anther. Ok, next anther. I get it open, I'm hanging onto it, I brush pollen on receptor stigma. I check with the magnifying glass...are there pollen grains on it? Maybe one or two. Sigh. We shall see if anything turns into a seed pod. Nothing left to do but tag the flower stem with the name of the pollen parent and wait. If anything takes I'll let you know.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sherbert blooms!

This is my first time ever seeing Sherbert flowers! More buds are opening, so in a few days or so I should have more pictures.

Sherbert (2534) 03/27/1974 (M. Steele/F. Richter) Double lavender two-tone/variable white. Light green, plain. Standard

I'm trying to decide what flavor of sherbet it's making me hungry for!

With flash.

Tipt now has three blooms open!

Friday, October 31, 2008

S. rupicola Number 5

I love unusual violets! Meet Mr. Unruly, with crackles. This is a very different rupicola. The leaves have tiny cracks all over them. I think they are beautiful, but that's just me. This plant will eventually grow into a standard. It appears to grow a little slow. I understand it should be a little under-potted, and should dry out slightly between watering.

Close-up of leaf.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Tipt is blooming! I'm sure lots more blooms will be open when I get home from my trip on Sunday, but here is the first bloom!

Tipt (F. Richter) Single large lavender/purple tips. Standard

Sherbert is just opening up but I think it will be more photo-worthy in a few days. A note about growing Tipt. It needs to be placed at the center of your lights and maybe a little closer to the lights as well.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Back to normal

After all that fuss about how the leaves on my S. brevipilosa were standing out nicely, today I look and see the lower leaves are beginning to curl around the pot. Oh well, so it's normal after all!

S. brevipilosa a day later


Besides species and vintage violets, I also collect the Optimara Little Jewels. Three blooms are open on Optimara Blue Topaz. I think the blooms are cute and are shaped like bells. The description doesn't mention bells, but that doesn't mean they aren't.

Optimara Blue Topaz (7346) 04/11/1990 (Holtkamp) Single purple-blue. Medium green, pointed, hairy, glossy. Miniature.

Close-up of the blooms.

I also have first blooms on Optimara Little Coral.

Optimara Little Coral (Holtkamp) Double two-tone pink Heart-shaped medium green Miniature

Soon I will have pictures of Tipt and Sherbert (both Richter's) in bloom!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

S. brevipilosa

I have one brevipilosa plant that is doing the unusual, it is behaving, and growing (fairly) symmetrical. My other brevipilosa (I grow two) has the normal bent petioles so the leaves wrap around the pot, and they are both from the same mother leaf. I love them both. S. brevipilosa is a species violet, which means it grows wild in Africa. I won't go into all the details here, because I already wrote a page about species on my website (visit here). But I did want to share a photo and tell you a little bit about S. brevipilosa.

This species is a miniature. If you thought all species were standard size plants, you might be surprized to learn that several are small. I love brevipilosa's leaves. They are quite large for such a small plant, and round. The leaves are thin, and feel soft to the touch. My plants are almost always in bloom, but since brevipilosa's blooms don't last very long, it might be hard to catch the plant in full bloom.

I grow my brevipilosa plants in 3-ounce plastic drinking cups, the little white ones. Since species grow in very little soil in the wild, I try to keep them a bit root bound. I usually wick-water, using a baby food jar as a reservoir.

When I look at my brevipilosa plants I think of spring. Their lovely leaves and happy blue flowers cheer up any day. Here are some pictures of my S. brevipilosa plants. Please excuse the lop-sided appearance.

The picture I took today


"Baby" picture, a few years ago. This is a close up of a baby plant growing in a 1-inch medicine cup.


April 2006 - note how leaves hug the pot

Friday, October 10, 2008

My First Violet

My first named African Violet was from Richter's Greenhouse. My husband stopped in on the way home from work, looking for a Mother's Day gift. It would have been in the late 1970's. Later he drove me over there to look. If you have never stepped into a greenhouse full of wall-to-wall blooming violets, you may not fully grasp the awe-inspiring feeling it brings. And if you have ever shopped for violets on eBay, you certainly are aware of the "gotta' have it" feeling when admiring all those blooms.

Of course hindsight is 100%. I was a young mother, I knew very little about African Violets and nothing at all about the African Violet Society of America (AVSA). So while I was deciding between white blooms with pink frills and blue doubles, my husband was busy talking to the hybridizer, Forrest Richter. Mr. Richter took my husband into a private greenhouse and showed him all the propagation tables and some of his award-winning show plants. I could kick myself!

I know we visited the greenhouse several times. I bought four violets (again, kicking myself---that's ALL!!!) Today I have two of them. One I lost one to bugs and the other was a poor performer and a single dropper. I kept it for years but it had sported to solid pink, never to return to the delecate white bloom with a fine, frilly pink edge. Here are my two original Richter violets:



Now jump forward about 30 years. I have shelves of violets, belong to the AVSA, have shown twice and won some ribbons. My husband's favorite violet is Kaper. One day out of the blue he says to me, "Why don't you collect Richter's violets to preserve them". Permission to shop!!! So, it became a Quest, and I have found several. I'm sure there are more Richter's violets out there. Some people might not even know they have one because they only have a plant stake with the name in pencil. On my website (Candy's Violets) I have a list of Richter's violets and their descriptions as a reference.

Here is my current list of Richter violets. Thank you everyone who has shared plants and leaves!!

Bambino (Richter) Double powder blue Plain Semiminiature

Bon-bon (843) 12/17/1956 (F. Richter) Double pink. Girl foliage. Semiminiature

Chenille (92) 11/29/1954 (F. Richter) Single dark purple ruffled. Supreme. Standard

Kaper (Richter) Double rose with ruffled white edge. Light green, serrated, wavy Small standard

Richter's Charm Song (1137) 08/19/1959 (A. Richter) Double light blue. Ovate. Standard

Richter's Pearly Shells (1607) 03/30/1966 (F. Richter) Double medium pink. Ovate, quilted. Large

Sherbert (2534) 03/27/1974 (M. Steele/F. Richter) Double lavender two-tone/variable white. Light green, plain. Standard

Softique (1957) 07/09/1969 (A. Richter) Double pale pink. Ovate, quilted, fluted. Standard

Tipt (F. Richter) Single large lavender/purple tips. Standard

Topps (Richter) Single/semi-double medium-light violet blue. Dark, serrated, pointed, wavy Standard

I hope there are more.