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



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




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




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




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.










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.
















Time Lapse African Violet Blooms.

As I enjoy time lapse photography of plants, this one I thought was done exceptionally well.  Background was black, lighting was constant, the entire focus was on the blooms  of the African violet.  Note how one can discern the growth of the petals of the bloom.  The lighting was superb.  Enjoy.
You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Abnormal Mauna Loa Blooms

As I have numerous times in the past, I propagated some Mauna Loa from some flower stems.  Nothing special.  8 months later one of the plants produced bloomed.  And every single bloom looked like of what you see below.

MLOdd3 2016-08-14 17-49-52 (B,Radius10,Smoothing7)











Several commonalities of each bloom.  First each bloom has or had 6 points or ends on each bloom.  The bloom appeared as one single petal with one point of separation

MLOdd2 2016-08-14 17-47-16 (B,Radius10,Smoothing7)










Every one of the blooms are small and does not appear to be exhibiting its chimer-ism.  I have never experienced in my years of growing a full bloom of tiny undeveloped flowers.  Perhaps this is the consequence of some environmental factors?   If you have seen this I would appreciate your input.












Now the question is in my mind is,  if the small blooms are caused by some environmental factor and  will return to normal next flowering cycle or is this a true genetic mutation?  I suppose I can take the bloom stalks and propagate them to produce new plants and see the outcome or perhaps the easiest is to just wait and see what the next bloom cycle brings.  Regardless time will tell.

Sport of Humako Sweet + 29 Images to make 1 image of the Sport

This is a two fold post this month. First I had a sport of Humako Sweet that was detected prior to the bloom using leaf color. But also interestingly the bloom was a little difficult to photograph as there was considerable depth of field to the bloom plus the angle in which I photographed this only added to the complexity. So the image (the all white bloom) is a composite of 29 stacked images in an attempt to produce an all in-focus bloom with considerable depth of field.  Not the best and I am disappointed with the outcome but much to learn yet.  With regard to the sport, the first image is what I was expecting when I tissue cultured the stem, a typical Humako Sweet (below).   Sweet main imageThe actual bloom of the sport was what appears below (the 29 images stacked). 2016-06-18 15-28-10 (B,Radius10,Smoothing7)










I suspected a sport because the leaf color of Humako is always a dark green.  The leaves of this sport was a much lighter green.  I have seen this with other chimera African violets. Leaf color change equates to a sport.  Below are the two plants grown together from the same bloom stalk.  Obviously the lighter green leaf one sported from the Sweet chimera pattern (white bloom above).  The lighter colored produced the typical chimera bloom for Sweet.  Sweet and Sport

Chimera African Violet -Flower Stem Propagation?

Initial Image










I read in the Sept/Oct 215 African Violet Magazine, Vol 68 page 48, an article titled “Propagating from Flower Stems.  As that is what I do using tissue culture media instead of potting mix, I was interested in what it had to say.  But what got my attention was not the fact that the author propagated plants with flower stalks but with calyces.  So what is calyces?  Well it is collectively all the sepals, they are called calyx (plural calyces), the outermost whorl of parts that form a flower (below the petals).  See illustration and explanation. Now that seemed unusual to me.  Using the flower stems will produce true chimera African violets, but the calyces?   So I decided I needed to try that using some Concord flower stems and calyces, all placed in my standard tissue culture method.  I placed three calyces, pedicel, ovary, calyx, and all in one tube and then some flower stems as I always do as a control in another test tube.  After 4 months the standard flower stems produced some nice Concord plantlets which were removed from the tube and potted.  After 5 months one of the three pedicels produced a mass of stems and leaves around itself, the other two pedicels showed no sign of growth. See below.









After removing all the material from the culture tube one can see two  (calyces) with no growth, and frankly they look dead, and one  totally surrounded in leaves and stems.









I pulled away a portion of the leaves and stems to reveal that a large callus had formed around the base of the ovary and the leaves and stems developed from them.

Final Page








After I carefully dissected away the plants from the callus, I was able to recover four plantlets.  The callus growth is now obvious around the pedicel of one flower part and did not originate from the calyces. (see above).










This is the image of the four plantlets.  The interesting question is what will the blooms look like?  Most certainly they will not be true blooming Concords.  I will post the outcome when they bloom.

Ten Blue Confetti Chimera African Violet Stacked Images

Historically when I tried to do macro photography with bloom images of my African violets the issue for me was that the depth of field was sharp only in a very narrow range.  This resulted in an  image that had part of the bloom in focus and the rest of the bloom out of focus.  I tried a photo stacking program to solve this issue.  So what I did was focus on the top of the bloom, then on the plain just under that , then the plain below that, on and on, all the way down to the bottom petals and a tad beyond.  I placed all 10 images into an on-line software called Helicon focus.  Then allowed Helicon to stack the 10 images I made into the final product you see below (click on the below image to enlarge and inspect).   The Image is not perfect in terms of focus at every fraction of a mm, (which comes down to what I inputted) but I do see considerable utility for improving the images I post on this site.BC 10 image focus

O’Fortuna – A New Chimera African Violet Introduction

O'Fortuna Bloom2

O’Fortuna (the above plant) is a new introduction and recently registered sport of Concord.  O’Fortuna now has an AVSA Registration #10806 1/7/16 D. Landek.   The flowers are best described as single white pansy blooms with light lavender stripes.  The foliage is standard, ovate, hairy, dark green leaves with scallop edges.   The image above is of an F3 plant of this cultivar.  I found this standard African violet to be a strong grower, with a strong habit of long flower stalks forming a nice head of blooms above the dark foliage.

I will have a limited supply of these plants available on this website starting May 1st.  If interested click here to purchase O’Fortuna.