Best place to browse African Violets

MojaveLove(5 - IL)April 5, 2011

I never cared for AVs before (reminded me of grandmas for some reason) but I decided to look at them and had NO IDEA there were over 15,000 KNOWN varities out there. Wow. I don't care for the ones you find in the grocery store but there are so many colorful frilly fuzzy ones out there and I am determined to find one to keep at work (I have the right lighting).

I came across a picture of one on the AV society's homepage that I HAVE TO FIND OUT WHAT IT IS I am obsessed. I'm sure it is a show plant AND great professional photgraphy but still I want it lol. I'll link to the post with the picture.

Anyway can someone tell me of any good online vendors for these plants where they have good picture browsing? I mean large, unfuzzy pictures that are easy to click through. Maybe even just a plain ol information site. So many websites don't have pictures of what they are selling(weird) or the pictures are way too small or bad quality and I just want to see as many different AVs as I can to pick one out and then hunt it down somewhere. I need immediate satisfaction! lol

Also, I am intrigued by the vintage variaties strictly because they are older and not as common.

I posted something on the AV forums but haven't heard anything yet and I don't have patience because I am fixated on a new plant right now. lol!

Here is a link that might be useful:

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Hi Mojave. There's a few nurseries I've purchased AV's from in the past...I don't know if you're looking for a nursery or AV pictures 'to browse.'

Violet Barn/Robs Violets

Vioet Gallery

Violet Venture

Violet Venture sells mostly AV leaf cutting, but displays pictures of mature plants. The average price is 1.25 per leaf. All her leaves are healthy.
It's been a while since I ordered from VV, but when I did, she sent beautiful, healthy leaves w/good size stems.

She's got quite a variety to choose from.

I'm sure there's many more nurseries, including on Ebay, but the three mentioned are places I've shopped.

Even if you're not interested in buying, check pics.
Let me warn you, if you like AV's, you'll end up w/more than

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 1:54PM
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birdsnblooms's one of my fav Rob's Violet/Violet Barn AV's.

And here's one I want..Found it at Jewel's, but discovered Soil Mealy..I can't tolerate Mealy so tossed it. But if I find another, w/o the pests, I'd like to add to my small AV collection. Toni

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 2:02PM
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MojaveLove(5 - IL)

I found some good Ebay sellers that have really nice, compact minis. The thing is, everything I really like is a standard and that is going to be way too big for my desk! I'm letting myself order 2 minis/semi minis for work but I like the multi colored really frilly kind but there don't seem to be a lot of minis like that! Rob's are nice though from what I have seen on his site so I will probably go with some of those when it warms up a bit!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 2:08PM
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Mojave, check out Violet Gallery too. If you're looking for mini's, they got a lot!!
Seems mini's have prettier and more colored flowers than other sizes.

I really love that purple bell-shaped AV found at Jewel, but if I were to buy another or two, I'd like one in Large.

The AV Forum displayed one at either 32 or 36" wide..What a beauty! Toni

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 2:25PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Wow Toni,

Take my breath away w/ the first one (variegate crazed that I am) & then the 2nd, blue, blue, blue, holy moly! Thanks for the eyefulls!!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 9:00PM
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MojaveLove(5 - IL)

I love the russian AVs but they apparently are bigger than the standard no room! Second to that are yellow flowers and those cool ones with the space names, where it looks like a starry sky? I'm trying to find one of those as a mini but the only one I found didn't really do justice like the standards do. I saw a super frilly Russia one that had maroon on the inside of the flower and then a tiny bit of white, then light green, then the edge was white. So nice but no info on it yet! Plus, too big again :(

Are they fast growers, what would it be comparable to? I have no idea. I actually stopped by Peshe's to see if they had anything but they had really depressing looking regular ol' grocery store type and I don't care for those. I like them with double frills, verigation and multiple colors. It is sooo overwhelming trying to find one though because there are so many!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 9:39PM
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Karen, thanks..true blue flowers on any plant are hard to find. I get sooo upset when a flower is coined blue when it's actually purple!!
Do you have AV's, too?

Mojave, Yep, Russians Standards are larger than regular Standards. Space names? lolol..Can you give me an example..hehe.
Are you saying you're finding prettier Standards than Minis? I don't understand.

Are what fast growers? lol

Mojave, are you far from Oak Park Conservatory in Oak Park? Every second Wed of the month, they discuss Cactus and Succulents.
In Sept, Oak Park Conservatory has a trade/buy sale. You should see all the tropicals, for dirt cheap or a trade..
There's also an herb sale, if you like herbs. Different time than the tropical sale.

Anyway, I'm thinking of joining their C&S Society's not too far a drive. 10.00 per person or 15.00 per family. If I don't like it, no big loss, plus the money will go for the care of plants.

Do you like C&S? Toni

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 1:54PM
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MojaveLove(5 - IL)

C&S are great! But a bit harder to take care of because of the light issue. I have very limited southern window ledge space. When we went to Vegas I fell in love with the Mojave desert (I know, weird!), hence my "name", it was so beautiful in its own strange way. I've never heard such silence before. I saw the strip 30,000 feet above sea level on a canyon. Being in the desert was probably my favorite part of the Vegas trip lol! I actually wanted to have Mojave native plants at my house but they wouldn't survive. It isn't harsh enough. Anyway, Oak Park is too far from me, about 50 miles or so :( The Botanical gardens in Glencoe (or whatever town it is) are close-ish but it's $20 to park there, much less to buy anything at a show...

Haha Space names...example is Astro, Stargate and Startrick. Looking through again I see a lot like them that have non-space names.

I really really want the Russian varieties of Sagittarius and Cosmos Legend 2! I have no room...yet lol...all of these "space" ones are on

Yes, I seem to gravitate towards the standards rather than the minis in terms of pretty flowers, even without knowing if it is standard or not. I don't know why this is. I also seem to like anything that is only available as a leaf and I don't want to grow my first AV from a leaf at work, I don't have the tools and whatnot.

Fast growers - I meant AVs, I don't have the faintest idea. I'm used to my slow C&S's and medium-speed tropicals.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 4:18PM
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birdsnblooms that's where you got your screen name!! lol
I imagine your trip was a wonderful, peaceful experience.

I know what you mean about feelings. We can't go on vacation because of pets, but the few times we were out of town, I can't explain it, a serene feeling came over me.
I felt so relaxed. Viewing warmer climate plants growing in the ground, oh boy, it was terrific.

By chance, would you happen to know names of the plants you saw?
Yep, it's one thing viewing succulents growing in a desert, another indoors.
However, there are many succulents that do well without blazing sun.

Do you summer plants outside?

20.00 to park!! Prices really went up, but the gardens are free, so I would think of it more as a donation.
Guess riding a bike has its parking

Ohhh,, I forgot about Lyndon Lyons.

Rooting an AV leaf isn't difficult. All you need is a small cup and Aluminum Foil. Oh and water, lol.
Rooting leaves at home makes more sense.

Mopjave, sounds like you really want a Russian..Why not get one?? AV's aren't the fastest growers around. They take time. IMO, they're more work than succulents.
The main problem I'd have is choosing 'one'
How about Chimeras? Have you seen these guys? They're gorgeous but expensive. I'd be afraid it'd die.

Browse Russians, jot those you like on paper. Read and research their growth size, etc. Narrow down your search. Evenutally, you'll find one you like best.
AV's really don't take much room, especially minis.
Can you build shelves on your windows?

When buying online, each AV is labled by size. From mini to large.
Most AV's sold here are standards. Every so often, you'll find a'll know the difference. Mini's come in 2" plastic growing pots. Leaves are much smaler than Standards.

OR, have you considered a trailer? You can keep in a macreme, hanging, in or next to a bright window...Toni

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 5:00PM
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MojaveLove(5 - IL)

I took a bunch of pictures of the plants in the canyon - of course, deeper into the desert are the Joshua tree which are literally impossible to grow out here but are so amazing looking. They weren't at the canyon we were at though, but I think it is because they have a lot of fire issues? In the actual canyon were a lot more plants that out in the open unprotected fields in the desert. Actually, in the hike we took we went up into something called a "tank", which during monsoon season it fills up with water. The entire ground in the tank was, I think, reeds. Of course when we were there they were completely dried up. There also were some trees (rough looking of course), prickly pears and other small cacti, and yuccas. Agaves were all over the place, they were really cool! Before this trip I had never been further west than Iowa and seeing Agaves in bloom were really cool, especially seeing them all over the Grand Canyon with their giant blooms sticking up. This is when I first learned that some plants die after they bloom, and it was a beautiful but sad thing to see!

The one plant I was fascinated with, ALL over the canyon (not the Grand Canyon, these were smaller than those), was Agave utehensis. It's weird how different desert plants look in the wild - they are worn to pieces. So many of these Agave's were burnt and desperate for water - if a house could handle an Agave, they would be flawless. I'm attaching some pics that I took. I posted them to DG to get an ID. This is actually the plant that got me into C&S

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 12:21AM
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MojaveLove(5 - IL)

Here's a few more pics, first the field plants vs canyon plants (this is Red Rock Canyon BTW) and then a bunch of plants that were in the canyon that I have nooooo idea what they are (except I'm assuming the cacti are some sort of prickly pear) but they fascinated me. Do you happen to know what any are lol

In the above picture, in between the foreground and that "mountain" in the back is the field in the first pic.

I really liked this one it was probably 3 or 4 feet high.

Weird tree.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 12:43AM
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MojaveLove(5 - IL)

I have to add in a funny story since I'm on the subject - we went early in the morning but it was still September. When we got back to the car around noon I think it was about 115 degrees. I thought it wouldn't be TOO hard of a hike, I knew it wouldn't be anything like near us. The path we took was 2.5 miles, we had friends from Cali coming in and wanted something short, but it was not an easy route (took about 3 hours!), it was medium difficulty. 3/4 of the way up I made my FI stop and I sat under a tree, panting, devoured a power bar and whined. At that time, three people 3 times my age came skipping down the rocks from the top, looking like they just showered "nice day for a hike, huh?" I couldn't believe it. I felt so lame LOL

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 12:59AM
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Mojave, sounds like a lovely trip, bet you enjoyed every minute..even after a 3-hour hike. lol.
Funny story..Guess the joggers were used to skipping..they probably hiked daily.
Even after a Power Bar, they had you beat, huh? lol

I was told Joshua Trees are endangered. Were any signs posted? Someone said if one is caught taking clippings, there's a huge fine, especially with endangered plants.

Agave's die after flowering, but I had no idea this happens to other succulents.
Did you see any wilflife? If so, what? Eagles, Bob Cats?
Sounds exciting.

How large is the Agave in the first pic? Those mountains are unbelievable! Moutains fascinate me. So do deserts. They're beautiful, yet scary, if that makes sense.

I don't know what the first plant w/green leaves is, but the next two are Optunias/Prickly Pears. There's numerous Optunia species..Wow, look at those thorns!! Can you imagine repotting an Optunia w/4"+ thorns? lol.

The next pic looks like desert Bamboo, but could be Reeds. Not sure.

What month does it rain? Poor plants. If I could, I'd water every cactus and succulent in the desert, lol.

Why are the plants worn? Age? Wildlife?

Did you camp there? That would be interesting, you know? Do you have more pics of your trip?

Oak Park Conservatory has several Agaves. In the late 90's, early 2000, one Agave bloomed. Its stalk grew so tall, they had to remove a (400 or 600) pane of glass so the flower wouldn't bend by hitting the glass. What a sight! We went there to check it out.
I tried snapping a pic, but the stalk was too tall to get a closeup.
They also have a huge Prickly Pear 'TREE". When we go, I'll sit back and stare at this tree. They've chopped it back numerous times. It's strange how mature leaves look like bark instead of a green leaf. Imagine hundreds if not thousands of leaves that change texture.
The last two times we stopped there, the Optunia was packed w/fruit.

Mojave, wish you could check out the conservatories..There's three..Oak Park, Garfield Park and Lincoln Park, though it's been years since we've visited Lincoln. All three are nice places to spend the day.

Do you plan on going back to the desert? Lucky you. Toni

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 1:38PM
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MojaveLove(5 - IL)

Hmmm I didn't see any signs about the Joshua trees. All of the yuccas in that valley were different. You could tell where fire had been an issue because they were all really short or nonexistant. The park rangers (I guess?) or whoever were trying to grow more in the burn area and had these areas protected. I don't know that they are endangered but I do know that they are "rare" in that they are only found in the Mojave desert and only in the higher elevations there. We went further east into Arizona and they were ALL over the place and were HUGE. I'm so fascinated by them. Who knows how old some of them were. They were in or right by a reservation (the big ones I saw) and had a lot of branching, more than I've seen in pictures of them.

I know that removing any desert plants causes legal problems for the remover, so that may be right.

I saw a jack rabbit and roaming cattle on the reservation but I think that's as much as I saw. Toni you would NOT believe the sky at night at the reservation - the only other time I've seen anything like it was on the border of Minnesota and Canada - NOTHING like our Chicago night sky lol! I had my face pressed up against the window our entire 2 hour drive back to Vegas from Arizona LOL

Did you know the road that went over the Hoover Dam is now closed off? We drove over it one of the last weekends it was open apparently. Really glad I got to do that.

I think all the plants were worn because it is so dang hot and dry there. They were in desperate need of water, someone that lived there that was from Chicago said it hadn't rained in over 2 months. They were just really dried up and brown.

We did not camp there, I think I would be too scared lol...I've camped in the deep woods up north where bears visited us and tried to get our food and a Moose was across the lake but I don't know what scary things lurk in deserts lol I like lizards and such so those wouldn't bother me.

I would like to visit those conservatories, especially that prickly pear tree. Too bad I didn't get to see that stalk! The agaves in the wild were tall but not that tall lol

Those are pretty much it for my landscape pictures, I tried to get some of the Joshua Trees but it was night so it didn't work out too well.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 10:13PM
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Huge fine borrowing JT

I can imagine the sky..We used to camp in Channahon, Il. The stars looked so large and close, like you could reach up and touch one. Beautiful!
The heavens were probably amazing where you went.
Oh, no comparison to remember a few times heading downtown, driving E...the building were almost invisible..too much smog. But the EPA really did their jobs, the air is nowhere near as bad as it was.

Sounds like your trip left quite an impression, one you'll never forget.

Did the bears go up to your tent? Bears are beautiful, but don't think I'd want to approach But I'd try petting moose..ooh, gotta love wildlife. See any eagles? Snakes, yuck. lol.
I watched, The Doors one part they go to the desert. There were large cats, 'not domestic,' snakes, lizards, and either big hawks or eagles..Gorgeous.

One pest I'd fear in the desert is Scorpians..God, I fear a spider the size of a pin head, lol..and Scorpians are poisonous..Don't know what other dangers lurk in the desert, other than getting lost!!!!

You can Google 'Oak Park Conservatory, largest Agave.' The articles and pics should still be around. There were even pics of hundreds of people gathering, watching the workers remove the pane of glass.

Too bad you don't have more pics..Nature is amazing.

Oh, speaking of AV's, I'm looking for a light blue, bell-shaped type. I found two w/bell shaped flowers, but they're 37.50 for two, 4" plants!! lol..

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 4:37AM
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