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Two have died in spite of my constant vigilance and I consider myself to be an expert gardener. I sent him an email asking if he would like to send replacements or should I post my experiences online. He did not respond. By the way, staff at Violet Barn Ralph and Alice told me that they were not a retail store, they are an online order business. Does it mean that as an online order company, they will not try to satisfy their customers? Alice even yelled at me on the phone. Having ordered from Violet Barn before, I'm sure that they specify on their site that they send immature plants.

That said, it sounds like you got viable plants from Violet Barn. I wish I can tell my husband that. I don't expect all full grown plants. At least big and strong enough to start blooming soon. Will post the pictures of those tiny plants from Violet Barn tonight. One from SelectiveGardener already died on him.

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And it is bigger than the ones from Violet Barn. I would rather get a few decent ones with flowers as gift for my husband than 14 little weaklings that look so pathetic. There some plants you can only get from Violet Barn - Dr. Robinson or Olive Ma Robinson own hybrids - every year they release new ones. If you wait too long - they are gone for a year- or you get the new starters at the end of the summer that are still quite small.

You pay a premium for a new variety, not for a blooming plant. You can get good size blooming Optimara - because they are packed in boxes and transported in big trucks, not kicked and bounced upside down while delivered by USPS. I would say - you cannot send large plants by USPS. It is you will get the AV coleslaw no matter how well they are packed. The best AVs and the best packing on eBay is done by bluemountainviolets. It is incredible how they are coming - immaculate. Dick sends good size healthy starters that will be blooming in a month or 2 and become award winning show plants in 4.

But if you look at the prices people pay for the privilege of getting these plants - that's another story. Similar situation is with plants from David Thompson - plantmaniac. Buyers will fight for his plants - while the rest of the sellers will have theirs unsold. So - if you are an experienced grower with a burning desire to baby very small plants, keep them under the dome under the lights, spray them every so often with SuperThrive - you can expect that even puny starters will catch up - 6 months later ;-. If you want more finished product - do you research on sellers and time when you can get them - like beginning of the year.

But if you want blooming plants for the special occasion - Mother's day - good nursery or big box store is your safe bet. As long as you pick them up when they are just delivered. I think you need to calm yourself and your husband as well and take another view: don't think of these as weaklings , but think of these as BABIES.

Life in the Finger Lakes

They just need nurturing. Take the time to research their proper care and then watch them grow. You'll be very excited when they reach the size to send out their first blooms and sometimes happy baby violets can be very precocious and send out flowers that are almost as big as their leaves!

In fact, a lot of AV growers may buy a plant, but they put down leaves right away to start their own plants under their own conditions because they know that a plant that has it's beginnings under your conditions will always be happier and stronger than one that was raised differently possibly in a greenhouse and has to adapt to your light, heat and humidity levels. I have read some on the web, but I have not seen advices like the ones from irina.

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Thanks so much ahead of time for your invaluable advices and your valuable time. You have a bunch of healthy young plants. My understanding is that the only one which is mini or semi-mini - is the one in a white solo cup, the rest of them - standards. These plants were grown under fluorescent lights.

Are you going to grow on them on the natural light or you have a grow stand? Do you have a good light place for them? Hope they are not exposed to the cold draft from the windows. Rob uses soil that is quite heavy on vermiculite. You can water them from the bottom. Since I have mine all on wicks and mats - I would need to repot them in a lighter mix - peat - perlite - vermiculite. Nothing really complicated - but it is still someway more involved than just simple instructions we can put here on half page. It is so much more fun to be able to grow plants from scratch - learn how to do it right - and enjoy them for long long time - than purchase a greenhouse grown blooming plant, enjoy it for couple of weeks - and see it decline and try to figure out - why it never blooms this way anymore.

Because your house is not a greenhouse, that's why! Grow your plants until the leaf-span is 3 times the width of the pot i. Like the plants pictured below Violets bloom best when they are pot-bound If placed in pots too large for them, And some plants will not survive that struggle. Also, I would hold off a bit on fertilization If the soil is allowed to become saturated with water, Only water when the soil is almost dry Make sure that any pots that you use have drainage holes at the bottom which will require that they have plant saucers to catch excess water As has been said, the best of luck to you.

You have invested a lot Thank you very much, aegis, for your taking time to give me great advices. Again there are details from you and irina that I did not see from typical websites. Best regards. Since this very old thread has been dredged up, I will update my info. After a 7-year boycott, I again ordered from VB. The powdery mildew situation seems to have improved and I haven't had much of a problem.. I've had good luck with the small ones; the standards have taken more work.

I think the heavy mix is part of the issue but I'm working on it. Sometimes the variety is hard to find elsewhere. And not every plant at Blue Mountain costs that much - I have bought some there too. Ralph Robinson does not like to refund - my Ma's Ching Dynasty had lost enough leaves that it was half a plant and the answer was pretty much that it had to die. It lived but took forever to grow and then birth marked. I did manage to get a refund on a chimera that birth marked no that was 'normal' but was not blooming as a chimera. There are other sellers that I have stopped buying from because of too many disappointments.

Great advice, Aegis!! And like I said, we are spoiled rotten in California where everything is larger than life. I still have roses in the front yard with blooms as big as my head. Birds of Paradise grow wild by the side of the roads. So my point is, there is always a "learning curve" that is part of the fun. I once read in a book about plants that any resemblance from the photo to the actual specimen that would be received was purely coincidental!

Ws have all been through some version of what Xmahini is currently experiencing! Think of Optimaras as violets on steroids, and you get the picture! We're making the transition from Fall to Winter here in the Midwest. We've had a couple of snows, and my roses are tucked tight into their beds for the next few months.

I decided to splurge and get a couple more roses Belinda's Dream and another Quietness. I did rip out my David Austin Sharifa Asma fungus magnet , though I still have a couple of his rose Eglantyne which surprise me with blooms from time to time. I want to get Carefree Wonder in the spring I didn't find it this fall and plant it closer to the house where it will be more apt to survive our winters.

Bird of Paradise by the sides of the road??? Here we pay big bucks for Bird of Paradise in a cut flower arrangement. Sounds gorgeous, I can smell them now!!! I love to read my David Austin catalogue and one of these days, will order some that are suitable for my region. There is no winter here that is like a midwest or east coast style. What passes for winter is more like a wet season elsewhere, such as March or early November. There are other orchids that are commonly used as hedges, white trefoil shape with lavender centers.

And, of course, succulents everywhere. Birds of Paradise grow very tall, by the way, and the blooms are enormous. From a distance, they do resemble a flock of birds perched in the tall grass. When I first came to California and saw roses six foot tall with blooms the size of my head, I felt like Alice in Wonderland who had drunk the shrinking potion! I need help with roses too. We have only the fragrant ones.

We do not plant roses for looks, we want fragrant roses only. Just like pretty women. The ones we keep are the ones with good characters too haha. I do not think my husband knows how to take care of roses because none of them is as big as our head. Our neighbors have a huge bush of bird of paradise, much taller than us. There is another kind that they have that is as tall as a standard banana tree. I've gotten several shipments of gesneriads from Rob's over the years including this fall and my experience has always been that:. As it was said before - generally very good quality, excellent packing.

Every so often - when they run out of the good size starters - you can get skinny immature ones, usually later in a season. Like everybody else who ships the AVs before they bloom - they can send you a sport, not a sort. They sell rare varieties of AVs and Gesneriads, terrarium plants, run very clean shop without bugs, provide valuable service to the plant loving community. They are reserved people, not very social, but - I want their plants, not their hugs and kisses.

There is a heavy demand for some of their plants and some you receive may be small. If you feel that you are not experienced enough to handle these little ones, maybe practice on the Optimaras would bolster your confidence. Frankly I do not mind about half the plants they send me from Violet Barn. And the plant from my local nursery is only a medium size, not the largest I purchased this morning.

The issue I have with Violet Barn is not about the types of violets that they have. I have never seen any full blown size flowers sent to me, how do I know if their tiny little weaklings are the best? I specifically requested that my purchase is a gift for my husband and that I want bigger plants, not small plants and contact me if they have small plants.

They ignored my request and sent me these stupid tiny ones.


Nothing to show for but tiny weaklings! You are comparing apples and oranges. If you are after big, blooming, easy, anybody can grow violets, you go to a florist or nursery. If you are a collector, a show-grower or are trying to find an unusual violet, you buy from Lyons or VB. That's just how it works. Your VB plants look great-and very healthy. They are, however, not supermarket violets.

Apples and oranges. Well Linda: How do I know these tiny little ones will grow up to let me see its true color or true size? I don't want promises of a good thing. A few already got weak and started dying the one next to the white pot. I don't want tiny little ones, I would rather pay more money for a few larger ones. I told them I wanted bigger ones. If they cared to drop me an email, all these heart ache or disappointment will not be here. If theirs are so special, why don't they sell full blown ones or 4-inch ones at higher prices? I would be happy to pay for them.

You do not know if you will see these grow up. Anyone who grows plants knows there is no guarantee on whether plants will grow and thrive. Much depends on the grower's expertise which is only attained through years of growing, experimenting and tweaking their growing conditions. So maybe you bit off more than you can chew since you are not an experienced grower as it does seem you do want a promise of success. If this is so, you need to look elsewhere for a hobby. I am not being nasty, just truthful.

If you want bigger blooming plants, you need to stick to the big-box store violets. And, yes, they do sell the 'full-blown' ones: at the African Violet shows. And, yes, they are special for those of us who have been growing a while. A newbie cannot see the difference; an experienced grower can.

Apples and oranges, honey. Haha, I love you, Linda!! But you must say: Apples and "promised" oranges, or Oranges and "promised" apples!!! I do not see the "promised" ones yet and I refuse to accept their values or their worth. Okay, because of the great Linda and aegis, I am telling my husband to give Violet Barn a weeks try. If these plants survive and offer the same flowers as their pictures, then I will go back to edit my initial complaint and who knows, I may have even have a glorious review of their online store.

For now, I am just feeling upset Will keep you all posted. And I also want to see if Linda is right about Apples and Oranges haha. I consider myself as newbie, but we have grown German violets that we got from Pier 1 Imports 30 years ago - quite successfully, for a long period of time, when being students at UCB. Most of us on here try not to resort to sarcasm and know-it-allism but since you decided to refrain, I am bowing out. Maybe you will see the difference, maybe you won't but I will pit my knowledge of AV's as a long-time grower as well as a judge against your newbism any time.

Good luck. Just keep me out of it. You will eventually get something that will never happen in Big Box Stores. You will get your exquisite pedigreed varieties that will take your breath away. They are worth the money and time - nurture them. There is a Wow factor - it is not present in commercial varieties. Now - it is in your hands. Use your skills an knowledge - repot them in bigger pots as they grow, replace the soil with the one that works better for your house, use good fertilizer Good things always start small and require efforts.

Puppies are not born housebroken, human babies need 20 years of training before they become marginally civilized Even husbands do not come with a fine skill to close the toilet lid after themselves - you need to work on them for years I would be overjoyed to have received plants that are as advanced and healthy as they are. And, as I mentioned previously, As has been said by others, If you apply yourselves to the cultivation and growth of these plants, you will achieve something lasting and memorable Because of the hazards of shipping, it's just much more likely that you will receive plants which are full-size and blooming locally, rather than mail-order.

As a final word, I'd like to show a photo of a plant I have which was grown from a plant much like what you received from Violet Barn Private Dancer. If your provider does use Chloramine, you need to use a different source of water for your plants. I currently use Glacier Spring water from a dispensery at my grocers. Also I would suggest some of Robs other varieties of genesaids, some are much more floriferous and I have not found them easily elsewhere. One streptocarpus I got from Rob I gave a great aunt, who can't maintain regular violets, has had great success and it's become her very favorite plant in her home.

And this was just a random side order from Robs. Some of the chimeras that I got from Rob were spectacular eventually , and it's true my mother has larger violets which she regularly gets from the grocery store, but there's something in knowing you have a plant which is one in a million. I will try and dig up some photos of the plants I got from Rob, they grew very quickly, too fast even!

Then I must buy special water to water my plants then. Thanks for letting me know. You spent a bunch of money on what you refer to as inferior sized plants. I know from working in an African Violet greenhouse shipping is expensive. Having said that,,,,,,,you expected large plants that are ready for big box stores. Instead you got "starts" as I call them. Perfect for shipping! Please take a step back. Listen to the advice of the experienced people on this forum who are really only trying to help you.

However think of it this way,,,,,I would rather have what you received and grow it on knowing that a small good size for shipping and manhandling plant will recover quicker and start to get to the business of recovery and growing than a "big" plant that will lose most of those large leaves to breakage and, again, shipping and manhandling! You have already expressed your reasons for being angry. Now try a little patience and since you do have the plants in your possession, grow those little babies with all the attention and caring that you can give them.

I think you will find they will respond and in the end,,,,,you will be glad you did. It won't take long. You don't have to order from that place again. That will be your choice. I would be thrilled!!!! I would rather start with smaller and grow it "my way" than try to "nurse" larger ones that had no business being shipped in the first place because they were too large to safely ship!

Enjoy those little babies and before long, with good care and that is what ANY violet large or small should have you are going to see flower sprouts! A violet doesn't have to be "full grown big and large" to produce flower buds!

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  • By the way, when those beauties start blooming both of you will be glad you have them. I would love to see photos of them as they come into bloom! Dear Rosie: thanks for taking time to write and to let me know. I have learned a lot from our great people in this forum. Looking back, my initial disappointment may have started because I received three full size AV from SelectiveGardener a few days before with no broken leaves or flowers in one of the pictures I posted.

    So expectation was high on my part. Besides I have never ordered on websites for "professional" AV growers before. I got sick of seeing my husband having to bid on ebay bidding is a waste of time , thinking one-stop purchase will help him get over the whole AV buying all together haha. Especially when I specifically requested them to contact me if they have small plants LOL. May be I should take a picture of each of them now, and then each of them weeks from now. If they grow well and become beautiful, it may be some way I can repay Violet Barn for my premature "venting".

    I do not mind to gift leaves to members who are helping me now, if these plants can grow to bloom. Again, thank you very much to all kind members who took valuable time our of your days to give me invaluable advices and great comfort. I am so happy that you rose above your initial anger etc. Now you can get down to the business of raising what should end up to be beautiful violets!!!

    Yes, I would take progressive pix. I know I would love to see them and that way YOU can track the progress and in addition, realize that they ARE growing well from a younger age! Your expectations were high, I understand your eventual disappointment, but good for you to not let it define how you were going to take care of the "new kids"!

    Will be waiting for that first flower pix! Good luck!!!! We will still be here for ya!!!!! All, I just came across the article entitled "Tidbits for the Novice African Violet Grower" by Debbie McInnis, in which she mentioned that the first thing she brings a new violet into her home is to cut off blooms and I have been crying wolf asking for more blooms from purchased AV plants , isolate it, treat it for pests, etc.

    It is not just about buying and wasting money stuff LOL.

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    • It is about dedication and tender loving care, may be worse in time-consuming term than having another child! Our teenage son may secretly dump all our AV plants because he already has a great demand on our time haha. I have been responding to all his questions to me "ah ha, ah ha, can you repeat again One day my son may request that mom will shut up the computer and listen to him more carefully. It is funny, when he was a young child, he was sad to return a beta fish back to his uncle after babysitting him for a few weeks. That made dad jump into the venture of having the first fish tank for him.

      Beginning with a gallon freshwater tank to dozens of larger fish tanks throughout the years acrylic, glass, Hexagonal, half circle, Biorb, etc. So now I am really afraid of our new AV adventure When to stop! Oh it is too late for me as far as orchids are concerned! When you go in there as often as I do you know which ones are which color usually! Large, colorful blooms Some even in stripes!

      Green or variegated leaves. Miniature African violets. Adorable little plants Same colors and leaves as standards. We're famous for our miniature hybrids.

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      Favorites of both collectors and exhibitors. Trailing African violets. Same blooms and leaves. Branching and spreading Grow as ground cover or hanging basket! Excellent for novices. Ours are the most awarded hybrids at AVS of America shows. Streptocarpus 'Cape Primrose'. Easy growers Loads of blooms. Our own 'Bristol' hybrids. Even scented blooms!