Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Primulina hybrid potential

Primulina mollifolia - collected species by Gesneriad Conservation Center of China

           Imagine this bicolor flower on this patterned foliage.

Primulina fimbrisepala 'Universe'  grown by Avery Gardens- Hong Kong

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

10+ Things that you should know about Primulinas & 'Mini' Plants and other Specialty Plants!

Primulina 'Loki' - Peter Shalit's hybrid that showed the potential of Asian Violets!

            This blog started three years ago.  And the business, Gary’s Specialty Plants, will soon start into the fifth year.  Demand for ‘Mini’ plants for Miniature Gardens has doubled each year and Primulinas are in the mix.

            Success has come from the insatiable interest in small plants by indoor gardeners.  Every Independent Garden Center that features a ‘Mini’ plant department finds that it works.

            Longwood Gardens Plant Shop, my lead customer, has proven that hundreds per week will be bought by guests who are happy to find interesting small houseplants.

            Other upscale Garden Centers like our wide assortment of ‘Mini’ plants and our ‘Unscrambled’ local delivery system.

            I’ve scaled down Streptocarpus and Sinningias and scaled up Primulinas and ‘Mini’ plants (6.5 cm pots).

            This third blog anniversary is the time to reflect on what’s working.  I only need to quote my customer who sells at weekend events.

            …people love these mini plants!  Crazy isn’t it!”

              Dianne, Tansy Meadows Garden Shop, Strasburg, PA

Monday, May 18, 2015

This is going to happen!

Primulina 'Tan Muscular Man' - Hybrid by The Gesneriad Conservation Center of China

Story # 158,

     This is going to happen!

            Asian Violets will become a common flowering houseplant!

            Newly discovered Primulina species in China will provide a varied gene pool with many colors and flower shapes that will give a base to build infinite future flower types.

       The stage now... 

            Interesting patterned foliage on a durable houseplant will bring Primulinas into consciousness and the flowering will follow.

        Who will do this?

            The Gesneriad Conservation Center of China is collecting species and making the F1 hybrids.  Their interest is Botany.  But, The World wants pretty plants.

            Someone in the United States will need to acquire all the species and breed for rapid flowering, sturdy plants. The hundreds of species will allow a variety of flower colors, shapes and sizes to please every gardener.

                      Asian Violets are going to happen!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

So what is the flowering response for Primulina?

Primulina 'First Time' created by Monte Walter/Vincent Woo
Story # 146,

            In commercial horticulture, one essential production technique that must be understood is:  What is the flowering response?

            What makes a particular plant flower?  Day-length (or actually night length) was proven to be the trigger for Chrysanthemums and Poinsettias.  Once the critical day-length is determined, then vegetative growth or flowering can be turned on or off depending on your goal.

            Some plants are day-neutral which means that other factors like temperature or drought or maturity (age) lead to flowering. 

            Primulinas are day-neutral.

            So far the only apparent flowering response is age.  When the plant is vegetatively propagated from a leaf, the resulting plantlets flower when old enough.  This is inexact and undependable.  Uncertain flowering is the main reason Primulinas are not a commercial flowering plant.

            We need to collect all the anecdotal evidence to determine what will cause flowering in the shortest possible time.  We can manipulate the environment if we know what triggers the fastest flowering.

            In the 70’s and 80’s, the first practical seed Geranium was developed.  Through a massive breeding and selection process, seed lines were selected for earliness.  But why?

            Growing Geraniums from seed would eliminate the acres of costly stock plants and drive down production costs.  This worked, but the equation changed when off-shore stock maintenance evolved and FedEx could bring you inexpensive cuttings overnight.  High quality cutting Geraniums returned and we have superior flowering types again.

            What’s this have to do with Asian Violets?

            There are hundreds of Primulina species known and more are being found in South China and North Vietnam.  Some of these species may flower very quickly from seed.  If they can be identified and used in the gene pool, rapid flowering will be possible.

            Hybrid selection will purify the flowering response and dependable flowering Asian Violets will be common.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Comments from the Springfield AVS Show and Sale

Primulina 'Hisako' grown by Barbara Jones
Story # 156,

Comments from the Springfield African Violet Show and Sale

            “My Violets die.  My Primulinas live on!
                        Asian Violets are good for gardeners who don’t have consistent watering habits.
                                    I’ve had my Primulina ‘Hisako’ for nine years!”

*** Pam, ----- Skilled African Violet club member who’s converting to Asian Violets.***

From a passing plant sale customer looking over the ‘Mini’ plants for Miniature Gardens.

“So fun!”