AV with long neck

NatalieRanae(z5 IN)February 10, 2005

I read the FAQ's about what to do with a AV with a long neck, but I have a question, WHY? I have an AV that has a long curved neck, not sure why, but it still blooms and is perfectly healthy. I don't quite understand why you would want to burry the neck, like the FAQ says. Whats wrong with it having a neck? If there is a good reason, or it helps it I am definately willing to repot and fix my AV but I am not sure what I am doing or why I would be doing it. I think mine got its neck that way because it was trying to curve toward the light of the window , not sure, but that's the direction its facing. It started to do that when I brought it home from my mom's house.

Its neck is maybe 6 inches long if you were to straighten it out. But it goes up and then curves so the leaves all face out toward the window instead of facing up toward the ceiling like most violets. I can try and post a picture if anyone is curious.

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Hi Natalie,

There are really two reasons to get rid of a long neck on an African Violet. The first one is aesthetics. Most people like that nice rosette look that an African violet has when there is no exposed stem. The second reason is for the health of the plant. Your violet might be blooming right now, but you are not getting the most blooms from the plant with a 6 inch neck on it. Soon the neck will get so long that the blooming will stop.

So, you can do what you want but if you want a nice looking healthy African violet it is best to bury the neck. I am curious, do you ever repot your violet or is it in the original soil it has been for all this time that the neck has been forming? If it has been a while since it has been repotted it is probably time for some fresh soil anyway.

When or if you are going to bury the neck this is what you do. Take off the bottom row of leaves and as the FAQ says scrape the neck with your fingernails or a knife like you would a carrot. Then measure 3 in. from the bottom row of leaves and cut straight across the stem and sever what is below including the root ball. This sounds drastic, but it is the best way for the health of your plant. Plant the scraped neck in the soil and put it in a plastic bag for a month. During that time it will grow a completely new root system. After the month is up gradually wean the plant from the bag over a two day period. You will have a nice and healthy looking African violet. If you have any questions or concerns about doing this you can ask me on this forum or feel free to e-mail me personally. I would be happy to go into more detail if that is what you would like.

Good luck with your decision and happy growing.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 12:00PM
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PS - I am not suggesting that you do anything with your violet that I haven't done dozens of times. I have been growing African violets since 1979 and many times I have neglected a violet and had the exposed stem more than 3 in. long and had to cut the entire root system off. I have never lost a violet doing that. So, don't let this procedure scare you off. It is what we all do with our violets.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 4:42PM
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NatalieRanae(z5 IN)

OK, thanks so much :) I will try it. Frankly it does sound kinda scary, chopping the whole root system off. Oh, should I use any rooting hormone on the neck when I replant it?? I have some that I have used for leave cuttings.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 5:00PM
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Personally I never used rooting hormone, but I know that others here swear by it. I think that if you are comfortable using it then by all means do so.

Larry of the

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 6:22PM
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Ignore the "of the" it was my voice activated word processor burbing. lol

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 6:26PM
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Hi Natalie,
You might want to look at a few pics of what to do with a long neck. Click on the link below. You'll find info near the bottom of the opening page. Click on long neck problems.
Fred in NJ

Here is a link that might be useful: Rachels Reflections

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 11:00PM
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NatalieRanae(z5 IN)

Ok, I did it, scary though it was. I scraped its neck, repotted it and used some rooting hormone. Also took off some of the bottom row of leaves and the blooms. I sure hope I did it right. My mom told me that its a really old violet, probably 8 years or so at least.

I couldn't find a ziplock bag big enough for my violet though so I had to use a white garbage bag. (its not THAT big just too big for a quart ziplock bag)

Now I am worried it won't get any sunlight in the white bag. Does it need to be in a bag? Also do I need to mist or spray the inside of the bag to make it humid? What about sunlight? I have never done this with a violet before so don't really know what I am doing when it comes to keeping it in the bag for a month or so. How should I take care of it now? How long before it gets new roots and how will I tell if its doing ok or if I have damaged it?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 12:17AM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Go buy or find a one or two gallon sized zippable bag. You are right: White plastic won't work.

Make sure the soil is damp but not soggy wet. I don't mist. Also, zip the bag almost closed, insert a straw and blow up the bag. Finish zipping as you remove the straw.

Good Luck,

    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 12:49AM
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Yes, it does need to be a clear bag. When I have a plant that won't fit inside a 1 gal. ziplock bag I use 1 gal. non-ziplock bags. I take two of them slice the side on each and tape them together so that I have a double wide bag. Put it over the violet and Pot and tape it underneath. This works pretty well for me.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 1:27AM
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For bags I use the really thin ones that come from the produce section of the grocery store.They also come in different sizes.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 9:16AM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

You can also use an a terrarium for rooting in. An empty aquarium works fine, but you need to make a cover. I just use some plastic wrap for the cover. Cuttings and leaves need light to root and sprout new plants. Rooting without light will always fail. So many times I read on GW about someone rooting something and then complaining that it didn't work only to find out that they didn't give the cuttings light. The very best place to root AV's or other gesneriads is on a fluorescent light stand. The next best place is a bright window that does not receive direct sun.

Personally I have never scraped the neck on AV's I don't really understand the reasoning though I suppose that this is a method developed from much trial and error. I tend to cut the crown off entirely and then reroot in an enclosure.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 2:27PM
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PS - You should have a root system in about a month. After about two weeks (or sooner) if you check the plant the leaves should start to become crisp. If it is too soggy as Linda said it may start to rot and you won't have those crisp leaves.

Have fun and good luck,


    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 4:31PM
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NatalieRanae(z5 IN)

The terrarium is a great idea Jon, thanks! I have a spare 20gal tank with a fluorescent light that goes with it. I will try putting it along with my other leave cuttings in there! I have it right now in clear plastic box that I had a christmas Angel in. But I don't know if its humid enough in there becuase it doesn't seal as well as a bag would.

Thanks Larry for the info on how to re-root my violet . I hope it does well and that I did re-root it right.

How humid does the violet need to be in its enclosure? I have a hydrometer that I can put in the terrarium to keep it consistent. I have some hermit crabs in another aquarium that need it to stay around 70% humidity. I don't whats the proper humidity for a violet.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2005 at 1:00PM
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korina(9b, Sunset 17)

Natalie, 70% should be fine.

Don't forget the roots and neck you just cut off! I kept mine in a baggie and it's sprouted a new crown! Yours may or may not, but heck, what do you have to lose?

I love my Tiny Moon Goddess. She's awesome.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 1:13PM
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scoutsadie(z7, Howard County, MD)

I actually had luck using one of those light brownish colored plastic grocery bags when I "tented" one of my violets; I guess it still got enough light. It's very healthy and happy and growing these days.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 7:10PM
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