African Violet & Gesneriad Society of Syracuse


African Violet & Gesneriad Society of Syracuse

Newsletter May 2017

The meeting will be held on May 11th at 7 PM at Pitcher Hill Community Church, 605 Baily Rd., North Syracuse. Guests are always welcomed.


Refreshments – Carm, Betty & Marty

Greeter – Linda



The program will be our annual auction, bring a box or container to carry home your purchases. Bring your excess plants, leaves with the name on the baggie and any related supplies to the violets or design materials. Bring your mad money or all that change just laying around and make some joy in your life with some new plants.


Please keep your thoughts and prayers with Linda who lost her mom last month and with Lee who lost her father last month.


The club would like to thank all the members who helped to set up the show, man the sales table, entered their plants and helped tear down the show. It was a great success in spite of the weather not co-operating.


Any members that would like to pay their dues before September see me at the meeting.


Check out the videos from AVSA on YouTube web site just for fun.


Thrips may be hiding in your flowers right now...


Last week we looked closely at a flower. Did you happen to see anything moving? If so it might have been thrips, a dreaded and persistent pest of African violets.


Western Flower Thrips feed on the pollen in the anthers, and may serve as a pollinator in nature. When they are present, you may see pollen spilled on the flower petal or perhaps find an unexpected seed pod developing at the base of the flower. They often hide in the center of the flower, but you can make them crawl onto the petal by flicking the pollen sacs or just blowing sharply into the center of the flower. They are about the size and shape of a printed hyphen - and may be white, yellowish, or gray. They are very small when in the flying stage and can fly through window screens with ease.


When thrips are present, flowers will fade much more quickly than they should. Western Flower Thrips also spread a disease called Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus also known as INSV. This viral disease is incurable and has unpredictable symptoms as it invades violets. It is important to be able to recognize and control thrips quickly if they are present in your collection.


The cure for thrips lies in multiple approaches. First of all, remove and discard all flowers (outside of the growing area) for several months. Second, consider using an appropriate insecticide on all of the plants in your growing area. Third, consider using a biological product such as Neem oil which makes the treated area undesirable for reproduction. Finally, keep your violets separate from outside air; away from open windows or doors.



Is Your African Violet a Hybrid or a Species?

That's two different things.....


The violet in the top photo is a species. That means it was propagated from one of the wild African violets, some of which still may be found growing wild in Africa today.  Species are precious and rarely found except in the collections of serious growers.


The species name, which will almost always include the genus name "Saintpaulia," is assigned by the scientific community. The name of the individual species is always written in lower case.


All of the species have single flowers. The flower colors are limited to shades of purple, violet blue, or white. The species often grow with many crowns. A number of other species are shown AVSA Photo Gallery.


If it isn't a species, then your violet is a hybrid  That just means that it has two parents because two violets (either species or hybrids) were cross-pollinated to make seed.


A hybrid name will be capitalized and is nearly always chosen by the hybridizer who made the cross. When a hybrid violet has no known name it is sometimes also called a "noid" because it has no identification.


As you might guess, the many colors found in the thousands of hybrid African violets seen today, either mutated from or were hidden in the genetics of the original species!


 After the show....

When you bring home your plants from the show a lot of growers pick off the flowers and give the plant a rest. If you purchased a plant let it set for a couple of months to get it used to your growing conditions and isolate the plant just in case some bug hitched a ride on the plant. If you extended your lighting time cut it back a half hour a week until you are back to the normal time, this does not shock the plant. If you are changing the bulbs, only change one at a time in the fixture so you do not shock the plant.


Awards Dinner

The Awards dinner is next month at the Olive Garden in clay (in front of the mall), be sure to let Ann know if you are coming. Their will be separate checks, but all members who attend will receive 15.00 to help defray the cost of their dinner. It is a good night of socializing and food, the awards are handed out also.


“Politeness and consideration for others is like investing pennies and getting dollars back.” – Thomas Sowell


“To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.” – Marilyn vos Savant


“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” – William James


“”To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.” – Phyllis Theroux



African Violet & Gesneriad Society of Syracuse

Newsletter April 2017

     The meeting will be held 1 week earlier, April 6th at 7:00 pm at Pitcher Hill Community Church, 605 Baily Rd., North Syracuse.

Guests are always welcomed.

Refreshments – Brenda & Reba

Greeter – Carm

Lee Hoke will doing a program on making a Dish Garden.  We will also discuss details on our upcoming show, if any member has any questions now will be the time to ask. Hopefully your plants are doing well, anybody giving an award see Lee Hoke. If you are doing a design let Penny Moore know to reserve a spot.

Keep Monica Kot in your thoughts and prayers on her upcoming open heart surgery, was supposed to happen last month but have not heard if it was done yet.

  Look Closely at Your Flower!

Have you ever looked really closely at an African violet blossom? There's a lot to see!   Of course there's the beautiful color. This blossom also has what appear to be multiple layers of petals. If you were to tear this flower apart though, you would find that the petal is all connected. This is typical of all flowers in the greater family of Gesneriads which includes African violets.  You'll also see the yellow pollen sacs, more correctly called the "anthers." Look closely and you'll also see the pistil which is the projection right next to the anthers (in this photo it is a deep pink color just above the upper right hand sac.)  A pollinator might deposit pollen on the very tip of the pistil (at the opening called the stigma) and the pollen would grow down into the ovary which is the base of the flower. That would cause the formation of a seed pod which would be a single chamber filled with many seeds (another common trait in the Gesneriad family.)    More detailed information can be found on the AVSA website about the parts of the flower and the correct terms to use. We won't give you a quiz afterward, but we hope you will see more than just pretty colors when you look closely at your flowers.

How do you make your violets even prettier? Try using your violets in an artistic setting! It's fun and it's challenging. African Violet

Society of America standard shows devote an entire section to the use of violets in designs & container gardens. You may appreciate your violets in an entirely new way. For example, here's a  blossom design which is displayed under water in a clear glass container. The design is carefully secured using hot-glue, and it is weighted to prevent elements from floating loose when water is added. This simple design would last two or three days and it could be the star of any party. Learn more about doing underwater design.

The AVSA Library Committee recently posted a video  walk-through of the 2015 AVSA Convention Design Show in Kansas City, Missouri. Two AVSA Master Judges look at the different areas in the design section of the show, sharing tips on what the judges prefer to see. Do your designs at home need to win prizes? No, they just have to please you! It doesn't matter whether it's a pretty pot, a lovely setting, or a truly artistic design. If it

pleases you and helps you enjoy your African violets in a new way, it's a winner. 

For more information about growing, showing, and judging African violets, purchase the AVSA Handbook for Growers, Exhibitors and Judges. You'll find it useful even if you never enter a show.white stuff.

Vintage Violets were introduced at least 25 years prior to the year in which it is to be entered in the show.

Sport is a plant that shows marked change from the parent plant; usually a natural mutation.

Chimera is blossoms with stripes that radiate from the center.

Wasp is blossoms that are single and each lobe is very narrow and separated from the others.

Girl leaf is leaves that are scalloped, usually rounded or heart shaped with white to yellow making at the base of each leaf (has nothing to do with the sex of the plant).

Longifolia is leaves that have a narrow, pointed, strap-like leaves with either plain or wavy edges.

Supreme is leaves that are thick, hairy and quilted, with strong pencil-like petioles.