Optimara Does It Again

Last year I was impressed when Optimata African Violets shared a Facebook post that included some plant morphology. Well now they’ve taken that a step further and are offering a free growing a guide.

I wasn’t sure what this guide would be like – often the guides that are offered free of charge by plant companies are pretty lame. My hopes weren’t very high but when I opened the PDF file, I was pleasantly surprised.

Optimara Annabelle with Bell Flower Shape

Optimara Annabelle with Bell Flower Shape

This growing guide includes a nice section on african violet morphology, clearly explaining where you’ll find the petal, pedicel and peduncle on a violet (just in case you’re a plant morphology nut like me!). It also shows the different shapes and colors of flowers and leaves that breeders have developed in african violets over the years. While I haven’t seen many of these varieties, it’s interesting to know that they’re out there, probably lurking at some African Violet Society show!

The guide provides history of the african violet as well as tips on growing violets. One tip that especially surprised me is that if a violet has gotten very dry, don’t fully water it right away. Instead, slowly bring back the hydration to the soil by watering a little, waiting a couple of days, and then watering again. They say fully watering a plant that’s very dry can lead to fungal diseases (i.e. pythium). I can’t help but wonder if my watering of dry plants was part of the cause of my pythium outbreak.

I can’t recommend this guide strongly enough. If you grow violets or are thinking about it, this is something worth downloading and keeping for future reference. And even if you don’t grow them, the pictures of all of the various colors and shapes of violets makes this an interesting guide to page through online. It’s amazing to think that all of these varieties came from a plant discovered by Walter von Saint Paul-Illaire in Africa in the late 1800s.

To get your copy of this guide either for online reading or as a PDF download, go to Optimara African Violet Guide.

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