January 10, 2013

Leaf Pruning Babies!

Many people mention root pruning (cutting off the bottom of the root ball when repotting).  Growers tending show violets will train leaves to put them in the right position, disbud (remove buds and blossom stalks), and prune to remove leaves with damage or to give space for the center leaves to grow.

I leaf prune very small babies!  I did it without thinking... and was nearly done with the tray of babies this morning when I thought:  I wonder if anyone knows about this this?  I consider it very important, and should explain exactly what I mean.

Why take tiny leaves off very young plants with only a few leaves to begin with!!!????
Left are two young babies of Ma's Second Thoughts.
They were very small but strong, with lots of roots, and I want to hurry them up, and the mama leaf was removed when I had the mildew episode, so I gently pulled them apart.

Notice the leaf hanging off to the right on the plant on the right.

Notice the leaf on the left on the plant on the left.

I removed both of these, because they were below the main crown/growing center.  The other leaves of each baby basically came out together with each other.

Yes, I know the leaves on a mature African violet come out at different levels along the trunk of the plant.
However, in this case, if you set the baby in the soil mix at a level even with the main growing point where most of the leaves came out, you would be burying most of the bottom leaf's stem and the point where it comes out of the baby's trunk.  This would most definitely cause more suckering, or even that leaf producing babies at the point where it meets the main trunk, or along the stem.  I almost always have terrible and prolonged troubles with suckering when I bury the base of a leaf!
If I set the baby in the soil mix at a level where the bottom leaf comes off the trunk, you have already given the baby an 'old lady' trunk. New leaves won't come from this bare trunk... and the next time you potted up this plant, you would end up removing this leaf and burying the trunk.  Plus, I have seen suckering in this situation also.

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