I currently grow three chimeral African violets: Roulette, Yukako, and Rainbow’s Crystal Riot. I read somewhere that the color of the stripe in the blossom is the dominant flower color (not sure where I read that, was it something Dr. Jeff Smith wrote? If you know, please leave a comment!) Since all three plants were in bloom at the same time, I decided to see if crossing striped African violets would produce viable seeds, and if they did, plant them to find out if two striped parents might produce striped plantlets.
Yukako was crossed with Roulette several times over a week, and produced many seed pods:
Who knew that Yukako was so fertile?! The plant is almost always in bloom for me.
This is Roulette:
Roulette was crossed with Rainbow’s Crystal Riot, but unfortunately the cross didn’t take. Roulette doesn’t bloom often for me, but when it does, it stays in bloom for a couple of months straight.
Rainbow’s Crystal Riot did produce one seed pod from a cross with Roulette:
This is a young plant that I recently potted up (over-potted, actually) and has only bloomed once – so this seed pod formed on one of the first three flowers produced.
It’s always fun for me to nurse seed pods along to maturity – almost as fun as planting the seeds. We’ll see where we are in four to six months.
After allowing the seed pods to air dry for a couple of weeks I stored them in the refrigerator (sealed in a Ziplock baggie with a desiccant) until I was ready to sow them. Unfortunately, only one of the seed pods contained seeds that looked promising: Yukako x Roulette. The seeds have been sown and the covered tray is under lights on my plant stand. It may take a month or longer to germinate – I have had seeds germinate as late as 40 days after sowing.
The way I judge whether the seeds in a seed pod are worth sowing is by cutting the pod open with a razor blade and tapping out the seeds onto a creased piece of white paper. If the seeds are dark brown or black and roll then they are probably going to germinate for me. If they are light brown and flat, and lie on the paper like dust, they are probably duds. I use a magnifying glass to take a closer look since the seeds are so tiny. That’s my method I use now, after years of wasting time waiting for dead seeds to do something. If you have another way to tell if seeds are viable please share – leave a comment!