Q&A – My Optimara Is Different Then Yours


Janice H. asked Annie:

Q This morning on the podcast you showed your Optimara Ontario.  I took a photo of my Optimara Ontario to share with you.  Mine looks so different from yours with pointed leaves and growing so large.  I bought the leaf from a reputable vendor.  Did Holtkamp change their plants somewhere along the way?

Optimara Ontario next to a standard sized african violet.

Optimara Ontario next to a standard sized african violet. Grown by Janice H.


A Hi Janice – this is a great question, and it’s all about culture and age of the plant.

Here is the description for Optimara Ontario:
Optimara Ontario (6588) 05/25/1987 (Holtkamp) Single white. Medium green, plain, glossy. Standard.
My current plantlets of Optimara Ontario are very young.  They came from a leaf that I purchased directly from Selective Gardener, (Optimara’s retail outlet).  So I’m confident that I have the 1987 version of this plant.  Sometimes what you see on camera is a little deceiving – my plantlets are currently in 3 oz. Solo cups.  This is why they look small.  They are still small!  If you have propagated plants from a leaf, you’ll recall that the first leaves are often more round.  These are the leaves that we later refer to as “immature.”  I try to wait for plantlets that are new to me to bloom in the Solo cups before I pot them on.  As I am able to pot my Optimara Ontario up, I think you will see it grow as large as yours!
Something else to consider, however, is culture.  The plants at my house get different water, different light, probably cooler temps, probably difference fertilizer, and different potting mix than the plants at your house!  All these things can make a substantial difference in how a plant grows and how it looks.
On the left is grown under T12's; on the right is grown under LED's. Grown by Annie

On the left is grown under T12’s; on the right is grown under LED’s. Grown by Annie

As to your second question:  Optimara/Holtkamp often has multiple versions with the same name.  For example:  Optimara Ontario has another version:
Optimara Ontario II (8968) 01/31/2001 (Holtkamp) Single white sparkle sticktite. Medium green, pointed, glossy, hairy, scalloped. Standard.
That doesn’t mean that you have the second version – I just wanted to point out that yes, some of their plants come in more than one version.
I hope this helps,
Annie  :-)


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