In A Pot: Asian Violet

Primulina ‘Loki’ , Asian violet

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Certainly you, or someone you love, has grown an African Violet.  These colorful, highly hybridized South African native violets have enjoyed popularity in the United States since the 1930s.  If you have the right, bright spot away from direct sun, you have probably enjoyed success with them.

Having grown many different African violets over the years, I’ve been curious about the Asian violets displayed on the same table at The Great Big Greenhouse, in Richmond.  Both Gesneriads, along with Gloxinias and Streptocarpus, these highly ornamental flowering plants with thick, hairy leaves, make excellent houseplants.

I was considering the various Asian violets on display when a Chesterfield County Master Gardener struck up a conversation.  It turns out that he grows quite a few Gesneriads, including the little Asian violet in my hand, and he encouraged me to give it a try.  Known as Primulina ‘Loki,‘ I was intrigued by its beautiful leaves.  I like the silver markings, so much like Begonia leaves.

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According to the friendly Gardener, these little violets make nearly perfect houseplants.  They enjoy low light, aren’t particularly thirsty, and will bloom when they feel like it with beautiful little blue flowers.  He answered all of my questions, and even showed me a few photos of his collection.  How could I not give it a try?

Gary’s Specialty Plants, who raises and markets these little gems, explains on the plant tag that Asian violets are like African violets, but better!  If you click the link, you’ll find one of his photos of the violet in bloom at the top of the page.

This little plant will spread over time, but isn’t expected to grow but a few inches tall.  It can thrive in low light.  The only admonition on the tag warns not to get cold water on the leaves.  This is also true of African violets, as it can spot and damage the leaves.

I’ve planted the new little violet into a Bonsai tray and just set it into a bright spot to watch and see what it does.  If I like this one, The Great Big Greenhouse has two other cultivars in stock.  I’m thinking this might make a good gift for a gardening friend, or a nice little plant to decorate place settings at a dinner.

If you’ve grown Asian violets then please share your experience in the comments.  If you’re interested in locating one to buy, then Gary, who is based in PA, has a list of retailers on his site.

It is always fun to find a new plant to grow!  This one looks very promising.  Houseplants keep us sane during winter, and this one might brighten up a dim corner of your home.  I wonder how well these grow in a terrarium?

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Woodland Gnome 2019

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