Nothing To Do About Chimera African Violets (Eclipse)


 

Last month (Aug 21st), I went to Gallatin Tennessee to observe the total eclipse of the sun.  As this post has nothing to do with chimera African violets, people that grow African violets, generally speaking, have a respect for nature and general interest in it.  Hence this post.  I took this photo with no filter using a 1000 MM lens.  I hope to experience this most amazing sight at least one more time.  It was truly remarkable. (Click on the image to enlarge it).

Propagation Of A Chimera African Violet With A Potato? (part 2)

So last months post was a semi-serious try at producing chimera African violets from stems using a potato (as I was inspired or made a fool of by YouTube videos.  Well one month into this odd  odd experiment, only 1 of the 8 stems died  as is evident from this image.  So I opened the bag for the first time in a month and using 90% ETOH and a paper towel cleaned out the one dead stem and inspected the potato with the flower stems.  

Perhaps not the best photos but “B” and “C” in the above images have very small plantlets forming.  Yes this is actually working despite my disbelief and my belief that by next month all the stems will be dead.  

So after I inspected the potato and stems I returned the potato back into the bag and sealed it again.  Lets see what happens in the next 30 days.  I cannot believe I have gotten this far with this rather unusual experiment.

Propagation Of A Chimera African Violet With A Potato?

Perhaps this is one of the more odd posts I have done on this site, or maybe experimenter I have done in an effort to propagate a chimera Africa violet.  The inspiration  (if you want to call it that), comes from watching numerous (perhaps too many) YouTube videos on propagation of roses, zinnias, fruit trees, (you name it) and a variety of other perennials using a potato.  That’s right,  a potato!  Despite the myriad of such videos showing how to set it all up, I have never seen a follow through video showing you a well rooted cutting ready for transplanting  months after the original video.  So that missing piece alone tells me that more then a little skepticism surrounds this experiment.  But in all honesty these are the ones that are most fun.  So lets begin.

As we already discussed in earlier blogs we can use only flower stems or suckers to produce true chimera African violets.  In this case I am using flower stems produced from Neptune’s Treasure, from last months post.  And instead of using soil, we will be inserting it into a Potato.  I started by taking a fresh potato.  Fresh being defined as a firm non-soft of wrinkled potato.

Next I washed a 1/8 inch drill bit and dried it with a clean paper towel.  The diameter of the drill bit you will use should equal the diameter of the stem of the flower stem.  Then using 91% ethanol I soaked the bit for 1 min.  Attached the drill bit to the drill (without touching the part that will cut into the potato) and allowed the ethanol on the bit to dry by evaporation.   I then wiped with ethanol the area on the potato I will be making the holes.  Again allowing it to dry by evaporation.   Drill down only 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch deep.

I then drilled one hole for every stem I will be inserting into the potato.  In this case it is 9 holed as I have 9 stems.  The flower stems are mature in that they have fully bloomed.  I have used this type of flower stem in tissue cultures with considerable success so will use them here.   Four of the flower stems I dip the end into “Clonex” rooting solution and the other four I use no rooting media at all.  On the ninth stem I dipped it into water.  Sort of a control to a degree to the “Clonex”.  The stems are then inserted into the potato.

This is an image of how it looked after the process was completed.  I will now insert the entire potato with inserted stems into a bag to prevent dehydration (below image).

I will watch it carefully for signs of any mold growth.  And unlike the YouTube videos where there is never any follow up, you will see it here, for better or worse (I suspect worse).  I will post it.

 

Neptune’s Treasure X 17

As I have had enough of the posts on the fungal infestation and as I have only a few blooms at this time I thought I would take this opportunity to work on my weak macro photographic skills.  The above image is actually 17 different images with different depth of focuses with the idea that the observer would see the image in focus as if you were viewing it live.  I used Helicon Focus 6.  Click on the image to enlarge.

Fungi Infestation (Part 2)

The above image is what was typically seen on shelf after shelf in my growing area of African violets.  After I applied what I believe is the fungicide that stopped the infestation, Dithane M-45.

Once the problem appeared arrested on a few, just a few of the plants new signs of life appeared (above).   Now if these newly forming crowns will be true to the parent plant chimera remains to be seen.  But never the less I will take what I can get.  I will remove these tiny crowns in a few weeks and will see what the outcome is.

On some of the plants that were not as severely damaged, where the main infection were the leaves below the crown, they will fair much better.  In this above image you can see the yellow green deposits of the fungicide that have accumulated on the leaf.

I had about 5 plants I had just rooted from tissue culture and my standard operating procedure is to invert a plastic bag over the pots with the tiny plant and wick water until the rooted (above).  That was just prior to the first small  infestation that impacted a few plants.  I just underestimated the seriousness by spraying some Neem oil them.  Next thing I realized it was a raging outbreak that appeared to impact ever single plant to some degree.  In 3 months the damage was so great I felt I had nothing to lose and sprayed heavily the Dithane 45.  Now these plants (below image) that were covered the entire time were totally unaffected.   Not so much as a single leaf  was impacted.  An indication the fungus is airborne and spreads that way, either by insect or air. The Image below is of one of the plants that remained covered, now 7 months since this infestation, covered the entire time and it is blooming, yes it is a Yukako.
And to end this months blog on a positive note, on a shelf all by itself sat Neptune’s Treasure (below), unaffected and as if it was indifferent with the infestation that took most of the plants.  I noticed it when I went down to start cleaning up the carnage of the infestation. I took it as a sign of survival and defiance.

 

 

Sport of Granger Sugar Frost

As I contemplate what to do next as I clean-up the carnage from the fungal infestation (see last post), I had two plants bloom, both were Granger Sugar Frost.  The image above was obviously a sport and the below is what one would expect.  The sport was a bit more “purple” and about the same size. Leaves were identical in type and color.  Not a particularly attractive bloom, but in the context of all the dead plants I have discarded, it was frankly a most pleasant and maybe hopeful sight.  Click on the images to enlarge. 

A Fungui Among Us? Botrytis?

The title may make light of this but I have a serious issue.  I first noticed some thing was not right  in November.  Some of the plants showing increased and premature death of the peripheral (bottom) leaves.  First it started with them going limp yet the watering schedule remained constant.  Also I noticed the containers with the plants affected appeared no not need watering.  They were heavier, as if absorption levels of the water were reduced.  Then it hit hard and fast.  First, almost over night pots of plants took on this look.  What appeared to be healthy leaves mixed in with dead or dying leaves.  The The dead leaves would be removed and the other leaves died.  The absorption rate of the plant was markedly reduced.  

Concurrent I had a number of suckers that I have been propagating that frankly were not progressing at all.  As if they were stalled.  For example here is a Shimai that I put in to root in late Oct.   I apoligize for the image not being in focus but I never planned to post the image (as this plant is no more) but the purpose was to give you the idea after 3 months in a 2 1/4 inch pot.  It just did not grow.



I then removed the cutting and to my grim surprise discovered  literally no roots after 4 months!   See image below.

As the weeks progressed the situation worsened. see the below examples. 

At this point I lost 60%+ of my collection and a couple of plants that I had for nearly 30 years.   There is a point when one starts to seriously think bout walking away.  I have been growing African violets for 30+ years and frankly was totally discouraged.  Now that said I decided all was lost why not research the issue and see what if any can yet salvaged something and maybe some thing positive can be taken away from this (no idea what), but who knows. I searched the web getting more discouraged as I read as most of the advice was just pitch the entire collection and start over.  I did find an interesting YouTube presentation how in a hydroponic situation when a rot fungus was active he added some 38% hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of the hydroponic solution.  So I started watering the plants with hydrogen peroxide.  Nothing positive was happening. So I started umping the concentration.  At one point OI was watering the plants with 32% hydrogen peroxide.  To my sheer amazement the plants were unaffected, yet they did not seem to improve and the infection spread.  A possible solution to halt the spread?
After the hydrogen peroxide did not work or appeared to not work quick enough, I did find a product on the web called Dithame M-45 which was a broad spectrum fungicide (as I was uncertain exactly what fungus I was dealing with).   It was a fungicide that was obviously made for agricultural purposes and the directions for preparation was if reference to making a batch of 50 gallons at a time.  After some quick calculations I needed 1.8 grams per liter of water.  

This material had in its direction packet that it can be used to control Botrytis blight in African violets.  It was used as a spray.  So I got a spray bottle and was set to give it a try.  

One a week now for 3 weeks I have strayed and watered with this material.   Literally drenching the plant.  So far the outcome has been a bit positive.  Plants with the early stage of this fungus appear to be stable and not progressing into the death spiral, but plants that were too far along the path we literally consumed and died.  As time progresses we will see.  But this entire experience has been most frustrating and really took the joy out of growing chimera African violets.  I will have more information in the months to follow as I am concurently tring to save certain plants that I really do not want to lose, mainly for sentimental reasons.

Sport of Shimai -Update

I just received this image today from Ms. Liz Shaffer.  This is what I was hoping it would be.  Stunning! White with green stripe, petals appear to be edged in purple.  Fingers are crossed that a new chimera can be derived from this flower stem.  Thank you for sharing. Click on the image to get full impact.

Sport of Shimai


The images this month come courtesy of Liz Shaffer.  She is growing a Shimai and one of the bloom stalks appears to have sported as the rest of the bloom stalks continue to generate normal Shimai blooms.  What is interesting is this not yet fully opened bloom, has a unique pattern.  It seems to have regressed a bit back to the original Yukako  bloom, but only partially and doing so leaving green and white as the stripes.  This may very well make an interesting and new chimera African violet if the stalk can be propagated into a plant.    


The image above shows the Shimai pattern of the other bloom stalks and the sport.  The image below is a nice side view of the unfurling bloom.  I look forward to seeing the bloom when it is fully open.  We look forward for Ms Shaffer to share more images with us as the bloom becomes fully opens.

Sport Of Granger Sugar Frost

In my over 20+ years growing Sugar Frost I have to say I believe this is only the 2nd time this Chimera African violet has sported on me.  The first time it sported the bloom looked exactly like this. Probably one of the most stable chimera African violets I have grown.  These blooms are White with a slight green ting and edged in a purple pink with the blooms expressing themselves in a very flat manner. I will be the first to admit if a bloom can be boring, this may be it.  The leaves and plant size are identical to a normal Granger Sugar Frost.

8E Danse Macabre (Humako Oriental chimera sport) Or Danse de Déception

The above image was taken from google images.  It is 8E Danse Macabre which is a sport of Humako Oriental.  The link on the next line will take you to Google Images so you can see the bloom on this spectacular plant.  8E Danse Macabre the real deal

Understanding when growing chimera African violets, reality is that there is no certainty.  So about 18 months ago I purchased a sucker of 8E Danse Macabre.  It grew nicely and then bloomed once with a bloom identical to the bloom below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I never pass judgement on the very first bloom of a chimera African violet, I waited for the next bloom which never materialized.  Rather two suckers formed.  I then rooted and grew them to maturity and they produced multiple blooms, all similar the the above and below images.

Not what I was expecting or wanted. Although the elements are there, but only modestly.  The blooms appear to lack the distinct white (or lack of color) around the outer periphery of the bloom.  Also the distinct darker pigmentation (near center of bloom) is not as prominent as in the original images.  There also appears to be some variance between the blooms but generally consistent.  Also take into consideration my photographic skills are secondary to that of those that produced the original images of  8E Danse Macabre.  I will propagate two more generations and see what the stability of the bloom is.  If the next two generations show stability, I just may register these as Danse de Déception.

Chimeraav.com is Seven Years Old This Month.

As I have nothing happening this past month with either experiments and or growing, I wanted to take this time and thank everyone for the wonderful interactions I have had over the last 7 years.  I have learned much from my fellow growers through the interactions we have through this site.    As a thank you and to celebrate the 7 years I have so enjoyed working this blog,  am attaching four Icons I made and use.  If you would like one or all of them just click on the link and drag and drop the icon image on your desktop.  From there you can file it away and set it up as an icon on your computer.  Take as many ans you would like.  If you would like to do that but have never changed an Icon on your computer the links below will take you to a YouTube explaining how to:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1a9a7I-onc  and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyrczyV03yQ

six-petals-yachiyo-blue

 

If you would like this icon just click this link  Click Here!

 

shimai

 

If you would like this icon just click this link  Click Here!

 

mauna-loa

 

If you would like this icon just click this link  Click Here!

 

concord

 

If you would like this icon just click this link Click Here!

Chimeraav.com Is Now “https” For Your Security

Google is “encouraging” blogs and websites of all types to get their SSL (Secure Sockets Layer ) certificates to make the web browsing experience safer.  Exactly what it is can be explained HERE.. As no one will argue about the need to make the web safer, the question is how will this process be encouraged? Well Google is going to rank higher in their search algorithm those sites that are”https” over http.  The https has a layer on encryption and at the same time the owner and hosting service is identified.  Now Chimeraav.com is one of those sites that is safer and more secure as it is now a “https” site.

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Photographic Record of Chimera Sports

I am not the best record keeper but what I have been doing is photographing the sports that appeared as I was propagating chimera African violets.  Click on this link to view the PDF–> Photograph Record  Two of the sports became chimera violets in their own right Shimai and O’Fortuna.

chimeraav