Saturday, November 22, 2014

10 Things I learned about Primulinas at MAAVS

Primulina 'Loki' (Shalit)
Story # 143,

            The Mid-Atlantic African Violet Society (MAAVS) convention and sale brought together many advanced hobbyists devoted to African Violets and other Gesneriads and several specialized plant vendors.

            Primulinas were exhibited in the judged show and many varieties were sold by the vendors.  The experts were there.  I asked these knowledgeable growers what they think about the prospect of Primulinas becoming more popular.

1.  Primulinas are a very minor category with mail order sales either steady or going down.

2.   Flowering takes a long time and then the individual flowers are short-lived.

3.  For a young plant to set buds, the plantlet should be kept in a small pot (2” - 2 ½”).  Repotting too soon may prevent buds and delay the buds from progressing to come up and flower.

4.  Propagation by leaves is variable in the number of plantlets that you get.  Multiple ways to cut the leaves are possible and trials are needed to discover which way works best.

5.  The descriptive term: ‘Patterned leaves’ may be more accurate than ‘Variegated leaves’.  ‘Patterned’ is stable and ‘variegated’ is variable.

6.  There are many species in cultivation and many named hybrids that are interesting enough to test the commercial market as foliage plants.

7.  Primulinas are very durable and tolerant of drought and neglect, making them acceptable houseplants

8.  Very few hybridizers are working with Primulinas.  Tremendous patience is needed to tolerate the long flowering delays.

9.  It is unlikely the Primulina will be sold in flower as a commercial plant.  Small foliage plants are its only chance.  The yellow flowered--- P. ‘Aiko’ may be an exception.

 10.   Whether Primulina can grow into the common name ---‘Asian Violet’ is uncertain.  The purists among hobbyists want the common name to be ‘Primulina’.

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