Growing to Show
Proper culture and grooming will produce healthy, good looking plants. Choosing good varieties, suitable for show and growing them to a schedule produces show quality plants.
Following all the pointers we have given under the topics of "Culture" and "Grooming" will produce very satisfactory plants. Will they be as good as the plants you see in a judged African violet show? The chances are actually that they will be, but some growers have made such an art out of the specifics that whole books have been written on the subject.
One of the best is Pauline Bartholomew's Growing to Show. If you are interested and can locate the book, read her "Pre-Show Schedule" to see the regimen to which the plants in judged show may have been subjected.
Basically good exhibitors watch for the best performing varieties that are shapely, floriferous, pleasing in colour or contrasts. They do this by watching for the good performers in their own collections, at shows, and on published lists of show winners around the world. In other words, they take the best material, give it the best treatment, and — the only "secret" — put the plants on a schedule that will have them at their best on the show date.
That schedule is all-important. Techniques vary but the general trend is to switch from a balanced fertilizer to one that induces bloom at some point early in the schedule period. The plants are disbudded so that they won't bloom prematurely and so that they will put more effort into blossoming at show time. The hours of illumination are gradually increased.
If you are interested in growing for show and learning more detail of the
techniques, you should plan to join a local affiliate society and AVSC where
experienced growers will be glad to help you.