Sporting of a plant

fortyseven_gwMarch 13, 2014

Hi Linda and Jessica,
I am reposting this from another thread, it was a reply from Linda to Jessica.
"In my years of growing, leaves do not usually sport. The leaf will be true to the variety from whence it came. It is the plant that sports. Again, this is my experience, (forty years worth!) and you can never predict what plants will do!

This reply is intriguing! My (Joanne's) question/comment is, how is the leaf different from the "plant?" African Violets only have leaves and roots, they don't have stems. So what constitutes the "plant" if there is no trunk, but basically a collection of leaves?

Irina has suggested that if a plant has two colors of blooms, and you want to propagate just one color, then take the leaf closest to the bloom you want. Also, she has said to take the oldest leaves from the bottom of the plant to try to get the original bloom color and type. So I took that to mean that the leaf and the bloom closest to it are genetically connected, and the leaf is the mama of that bloom.

Thanks in advance for the botany lesson.

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irina_co(z5 CO)


leaves sport.
Sometimes you see the birthmarks on the leaves - spots of darker color. It is a sign that the plant is unstable. Sometimes these birthmarks are becoming half of the leaf size. I had one -when a sucker was put for propagation - these birth marks turned into a leaf chimera... The flowers turned from chimera into plain blue though - and it was a large plant with breakable leaves - I didn't keep it - it was interesting - but really not worth the space.

Usually the complete sporting only comes with propagation. I put Bob Serbin down - and got several light leafed plants besides the regular ones - grew them to blossom - they are correct shape - but the color light coral pink...- sorry for unappetizing comparison - if the color of the flowers is of dark meat - the color of the sport - is of the water the meat was washed. Leaves are pale green.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:10AM
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I have had leaves sport on the plant-birthmarks- but I have never put down a leaf and gotten a sport. How often has this happened for you; often or once-in-a-blue-moon? Does the sport always come with the type or are all the babies sported? Are they sported the same?


    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:50AM
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AnneCecilia z5 MI

I've not a fraction of Irina's experience, but I'd like to add that I, too, have had a leaf sport more than once. I wondered about it the first time it happened, but had not heard of it before. I propagated a leaf from Blue Dragon some years ago, and ended with two plants that were similar, but not the same. The leaves were slightly different shape and the blooms different in color and form as well. Here's a photo I had saved of those two plants:
Recently, I put down a leaf from a NOID plant that was having some problems (due to my care, I'm sure) and from that leaf I got babies that were the dark green of the mother leaf and some babies that were an obviously lighter green. I have grown the strongest of each on just as an experiment and they are blooming in different colors, one pink and one blue. (I would post a picture of these two plants, but I just dis-budded everything when I was re-potting last weekend.)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 6:26AM
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I grew african violets for many years with no sports (and always restarted them from leaf cuttings). Then suddenly a few years ago, I started to get the sports. Bob Serbin sported to Aca's Pink Delight. Mine was not as unattractive as Irina paints hers, but I didn't keep it. Bob himself wasn't a good Bob, more of a brownish-red.

I suppose I could track it down, but one of my semis had sported into one I had even considered registering but then I killed it when I quit watering things. It had come true through three generations. I also had a sport that was a single violet pansy trailer on Tommie Lou foliage (mini). And, of course, there are the ones that simply don't come true, the singles that are supposed to be doubles, etc. I wonder if it's the chemicals that are being used by the growers?

Like Irina, I have had birthmarked plants. A good example is Arctic Frost. My one was birthmarked and has now turned darker and is blooming solid blue. Lyon's is selling a sport called Evening Splendor and I wonder if that is what happened with theirs because it looks very similar. I haven't tried to propagate mine yet. When they start to birthmark, I take a "clean" leaf and restart it.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 10:59AM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Posted by annececilia z5a/N.Michigan (My Page) on Thu, Mar 13, 14 at 6:26

Could it be that they are actually the same but just blooming differently at the same time? ... since many AVs bloom differently each time.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 12:12PM
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Anne Cecilia,
Does Blue Dragon grow large? I have several Lyon's plants in the blue purple range with double blooms that grow large. I was considering Blue Dragon, but not if it is a large grower. Thanks, Joanne

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:41PM
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AnneCecilia z5 MI

Jujujojo: no, the leaves were slightly different greens, slightly different shape and the blossoms never looked "right" on the right hand Blue Dragon sport, through several bloom cycles. No, they were different as the two NOIDS that I have now that are siblings yet totally different color of leaf and blossom. I don't know how this can be; I just know what I have experienced.

Joanne: mine have never out-grown a 3" pot. In fact, I have had trouble keeping BD going when it is mature. They don't seem to age well for me and although other AV's do well with the same exact care, Blue Dragon tends to go into decline until I am forced to restart it from a leaf, or buy a new leaf to start and throw the old plant away. I don't know what it is. I am on my fourth right now and thinking it is time to start over again as it blooms little and seems unhappy. :-(

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 7:43PM
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This is so amazingly fascinating! I had already wondered about random sporting. A Noid I had gotten in August that started with bright pink pansies ended up turning to light pink double flowers with green edges. But, each bloomstalk looked different, and eventually it succumbed to some sort of fungus, perhaps botrytis blight. I have several leaves down of this plant, and I'm interested to see how they turn out.

I was just reading about the plant Frozen in Time and some growers experience with it sporting regularly. There was definitely talk of leaves sporting, and that plant being known for sporting. I found it totally fascinating.

Blue Dragon is one I've been eying. It looks like a lovely plant.

Thanks for all the info! and thanks for thinking of me, Joanne!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 10:10PM
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Mistake - I was reading a thread on a totally different site, about a plant that was not Frozen in Time. I can't remember though. Ugh. Too tired. Sorry!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 10:25PM
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HI Anne Cecilia,
Well, I am very glad I did NOT get Blue Dragon, then. It was all the rage among some of my office friends, but I never did find out how it grew for them.
For that color range, from Lyndon Lyon, I have several that are very strong and bloom fairly well and often and have yielded numerous starter plants.
Thanks for the feedback.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:39PM
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