Sunday, October 15, 2017

Are Asian Violets 10X better...?

Primulina 'Loki' grown by Karyn Cichocki



Are Asian Violets 10X better than African Violets?

In Peter Thiel’s book, Zero to One, he argues that a new product must be 10 times better than what’s available to have any chance of success.

If Asian Violets (Primulina) are going to challenge or overtake African Violets, why will that happen?

African Violets are the top selling flowering houseplants in the World.  How could that change?

Let’s compare: 

Flowers:
African--    Abundant colorful, double or single flowers, all shades and colors.
Asian--  Clusters of single flowers, mostly blue.  Limited pink, white or yellow.

Propagation:
African--  Stick a leaf for plantlets.
Asian--  Stick a leaf for plantlets.

Home growing:
African--  Tricky until you find the right system.  Flowers sporadically.
Asian--  Survives neglect.  Flower sporadically when old enough.

Foliage:
African--  Many leaf shapes, green or variegated leaves.
Asian--  Attractive variegated leaves.  Some plain green leaves.

Survivability:
African--  Limited
Asian--  Unlimited

Commercial production:
African--  Holtkamp Greenhouse is dominating force in worldwide production.
Asian--  No large-scale production.  Limited to hobbyists and specialty mail order.


            Asian Violets will be compared to African Violets.  Today, it is no contest.  Primulina has zero market share.  Survivability as a houseplant is their only 10X advantage.  Is survivability the trait that overrides all others?











Monday, October 9, 2017

The Word at the Show

Primulina 'Diane Marie' - Runner-up Best in Show - Gesneriad

The word at the DAVS show.

            Saturday was the Delaware African Violet and Gesneriad Show and Sale.  There were many interesting, superbly grown plants to see and discuss.

            Among them, were entries of Primulinas in flower and non-flowering classes.  I was fortunate to win Runner-up Best in Show – Gesneriad with my Primulina ‘Diane Marie’.  As they say with flower show timing: “You should have seen it two weeks ago when it was really flowering”

            Overheard was a visitor who asked about the Asian Violets.  Since this was an un-coaxed comment, I had to find out how my preferred common name had come out.  The gentleman explained that if we had African Violets, we must have Asian Violets.  When I told him that Primulina are native to South China and North Vietnam, it was even more obvious that Asian Violets is the logical name. 

            Pam was there, so I asked her for another quote.  She said: “Primulina are easy to grow!  African Violets are too temperamental.”  She has switched most of her hobby growing to Primulina.

            We talked about their forgiving nature of surviving a dry period.  Ray speculated that: “Primulina might be the Succulents of the Gesneriad World”.

But Tom said: “Yes, but not P. ‘Betty’”, which from his experience did not survive.  So, the toughness is probably variety specific.
           

I think that it’s a good analogy.  We’ve all been saying that Primulina recover from a drought without damage.  So, let’s just call them:  The Succulents of the Gesneriad World!”





Sunday, October 1, 2017

Violet and Gesneriad Show

Sinningia 'Prudence Risley'


Please join us for a very special show and sale, featuring Venetian opera masks decorated with violets and unique arrangements inspired by Venetian balconies.

Where:  
Delaware Center for Horticulture
1810 North DuPont Street
Wilmington, DE
When: 
· Friday October 6th, 2017 from 3:00 to 7pm during the Art Loop
· Saturday October 7th, 2017, from 9am to 4pm
Parking and admission:  Free

Additional Information:  http://www.davgs.org/(bottom of page) or schaeffermary@yahoo.com



     An invitation from the Delaware African Violet and Gesneriad Society to their judged Flower Show.  There will be interesting plants for you to see and buy.




Monday, September 4, 2017

Unlimited Potential, Part II

Primulina - Unknown, First Flowers
       
           A great Primulina clone was shown with unlimited potential and many knowledgeable growers are on the trail of its proper name.  These flowers opened from buds in two days.  Flower faces are distinctive.  Maybe this will settle it?


Primulina Unknown, 1.5" long



Primulina, Unknown, 1 1/4" wide



Primulina, Unknown, Bud count - 13

          The  working theory is that it is P. 'Diane Marie' or a sibling of the original cross.  Here is the description from registration by Bob Stewart in 1994.

Primulina ‘Diane Marie’. 1994, IR94481 Robert Stewart. [Stewart, 1990] (P. dryas (C. sinensis)‘Angustifolia’ x P. species). Plant is a flat rosette; leaves green (RHS 137 A) with extensive silver on veins; petiole 3-4 cm long, faintly reddish. Leaf blade 6-8 cm long, 4-5 cm wide, hairy; ovate, acute tip, base cuneate, margin double toothed. The calyx red (59A), split; pedicel 3 cm long; peduncle 4 cm long with 4 flowers on each peduncle. Corolla 6 cm long, 3 cm in diameter, violet (88C) with white in the throat, violet stripes extending onto lip, yellow lines from anther, and yellow spot at tip center. Flower similar to C. sinensis var. angustifolia but larger and darker, and the plant is much more compact, with flat instead of upward leaves which are ovate instead of lanceolate. Blooms in December and sporadically in other months. First listing 1994, CODA Gardens catalog.




Constant Exposure Makes Hits!

Primulina 'Loki' -  Hybridized and Grown by Peter Shalt


Constant exposure makes hits. 

I’m reading the book, Hit Makers by Derek Thompson which main theme is to make a song popular, you must play it over and over until everybody likes it.  This trick has been known for years, which is why record companies paid radio stations to play songs----Payola.

            The author argues that we humans seek the ‘New’ but we buy the ‘Familiar’.  The best strategy is to relate the new to the old.  My tag line is perfect:  ‘Asian violets are like African Violets, but better!’

            How many times must you see Asian Violets to feel like you know about them?


            First, buy one, grow it.  Tell your friends--- Over and over until everybody likes it.



Saturday, September 2, 2017

Unlimited Potential...

Primulina loaded up with buds


             “There’s no greater burden than unlimited potential”                                                       --- Snoopy from Charlie Brown.


            This unidentified Primulina is loading up with buds and will be spectacular soon.  There will be multiple blue flowers.

            This gives hope that Asian Violets could be a commercial flowering crop.  The problem remains that it is more than a year old.

            There is a limited market for Premium Hanging Baskets.  It could be worth growing 50 of these and see?





Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Asian Violets --- Like an African Violet, but better!

Primulina 'Loki' - The easy houseplant

            This Primulina ‘Loki’ has been growing at the West kitchen window for three years.  It’s in a 2 ½” pot, has never had fertilizer and has wilted many times.  Yes, the foliage is perfect.

            This flowering randomly occurs two or three times a year.  Most casual houseplant growers would consider this one of their easiest flowering houseplants.
           

            Why doesn’t everyone have one?


            A Golden Oldie repeat.  This story from last year could not be more true today.  This Asian Violet is budded again.

            Its care is occasional water.
            Primulina ‘Loki’ is the best Asian Violet.

           Asian Violets, like an African Violet, but better, are much easier to produce and survive as houseplants.


            Why doesn’t everyone have one?