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?


  1. The larger growing primulinas like flavimaculata and 'Dreamtime' are very good stupidly good. If you can find away to mix that habit onto smaller plants, then I think a hybrid would be 10x better. I think P. 'Chastity' is a plant like this.

    Great blog post as usual!

  2. Al, Thank you.
    I agree that there is a genetic possibility that early and prolific flowering is locked in some future hybrid. I first picked compact, variegated Primulina so they could be sold as foliage houseplants. Eventually, we will need spectacular flowering to rival African Violets.
    Who will do this work?