Some Interesting African Violet Leaf Types

Bustled leaf of African violet "Blue Tail Fly"

I’ve grown hundreds of varieties over the years and African violet leaves still fascinate me. Here are some photos of interesting African violet leaf types that are – or were- growing on my plant stands.

Bustled African Violet Leaves

There are a few African violet hybrids around that have bustled leaves (sometimes called ‘bustle backs’). The only ones I’ve ever grown are Jimmy Dates wasp hybrids. I recently culled my collection (I do it periodically) and took a few quick snapshots of bustled leaves from various plants:

I didn’t have time to take photos of all the plants when they were in bloom (time is always the issue, hence the cull), but I’m sharing these because I find the leaves really interesting, even if the plants didn’t perform well for me. I like wasp African violets but they generally exhibit unruly growth habits in my environment.

Spooned African Violet Leaves

Pink Fly is a wasp with spooned leaves – they aren’t bustled:

Pink Fly is the only truly spooned African violet I’ve grown. I’ve had a lot of plants exhibit cupped leaves on occasion, usually due to a break in culture (environmental stress).

Mosaic (Lillian Jarrett) Variegation

Skies Over Italy is a vintage African violet hybridized by Frank Tinari. It has mosaic variegated leaves (also called “Lillian Jarrett” variegation), and I’ve tried unsuccessfully to grow this hybrid several times over the years. I usually lose the leaves before they produce plantlets, but this time around I managed to get five babies (one has already gone to a new home):

Skies Over Italy is not a good grower for me – the leaves go every which-way – but maybe this time I’ll actually get to see one bloom!

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  2. Thanks, Bernadette! I have been growing African violets for about 15 years now, and I am still completely addicted to them. I’ve got about 200 plants (mostly plantlets) growing right now, and have just restarted hybridizing – working with a couple of yellow hybrids that came out of my efforts back in 2004. If you live anywhere near Nashville (or feel like taking a trip), the AVSA is holding their annual convention there in May with a big showroom and lots of commercial vendors selling plants and leaves. 🙂

  3. I am trying to recover a collection of Jimmy Dates’ hybrids. If you have any knowledge of where I can locate them, please let me know. Thank you.

  4. Hi, Patty –

    Unfortunately, the sources I used for obtaining older African violets have all gone out of business (most recently, The Violet Gallery) which is so sad. I no longer grow wasps or any of the vintage violets found in my photo pages.

    If you are a member of the African Violet Society of America you can often obtain “lost” and hard-to-find varieties through the “Most Wanted” list where they contact you if another member has leaves or plants to share.

    Good luck!


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