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a new generation of AFRICAN-- VIOLETS makes its bow
An entire new generation of African-violets is now available at garden centers, florists and nurseries. Perhaps you've seen them, with their beautiful blossoms, substantially larger and more profuse than African-violets you once knew.
Foliage is more lush, often variegated, and most important to the hobbyist, they are less demanding about care and growing conditions. They're called "Optimara,' "Ballet' and "Rhapsodie' lines. Within each group you will find blossoms not only of the traditional blue, pink and white, but of reds, deep purpls, corals, bi-colors, often with elaborate double blossoms and fringed petals.
There is little difference between the "Optimara,' "Ballet' and "Rhapsodie' lines, but there is a world of difference between these and their violet ancestors of only a few years ago. Aside from their spectacular bloom and lush foliage, they have been hybridized and then grown under conditions of cool temperatures and winter days when light is at a minimum. Much of this hybridization took place in northern Germany, where winter days are even shorter than in the United States. Out of tens of thousands of hybrids, only those which performed well under these adverse conditions were selected for further hybridization. After scores of generations and years of selection, the result is that these African-violets are less demanding in light necessary for profuse …