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: 

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

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.

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

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.

Delaware Center for Horticulture
1810 North DuPont Street
Wilmington, DE
· 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: of page) or

     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.