centers of flowers turn brown--counting leaves

fortyseven_gwMarch 9, 2014

Hello, Linda, Forum Members,
First Question
The centers of a couple of blooms that were beginning to get old turned brown, the center petals on the flowers died. Is this normal for when a flower is done, or is it a sign of thrips?
( I found a website,
that has info on AV troubleshooting. But could not find answer.)
Robs Vi
Second question,
On Rob's Violets website blog, he stated plants don't need more than 15 leaves. More than that, remove them.

I wonder if folks have an opinion, or maybe, that was just for show plants. I think the context was as a way to encourage blooms.

Linda WL informs us that there is a ratio of plant growth to number of leaves. I take it, leaves supply the nourishment, they ARE the engine for the plant. Linda usually cautions against removing too many leaves.

I am not in the habit of counting leaves, and don't intend to
start. That might be ok for someone in the business, but not for a casual grower. What could be the theory behind that?

Thanks, Joanne

This post was edited by fortyseven on Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 15:13

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Well, you know my thoughts on this issue. There is a leaf-to-root ratio and if you get that ratio too out-of-whack, the plant suffers. Leaves are, indeed, the food factories. In many years of landscaping, I have seen plants struggling to survive because the owners 'pruned' them to within an inch of their lives and then wondered why their plants were not growing. They were starving! Then the roots begin to die off because there is nothing to sustain them. (I could write a book on the things people do to 'help' their plants to grow and then wonder why they are not.)

I haven't seen Rob's web-site. Maybe he is talking about show plants which is a very different situation. But for regular growing, in any plant, the more foliage the better.

I wouldn't worry about your flowers. As long as they don't show the pollen spills and they are older flowers, I think it's all good. I've had this happen quite often.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 12:47AM
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Some Violets (particularly some doubles and semi-doubles) will brown in the center before the entire flower fades. It happens a lot with white-flowering violets.

Some of these varieties, I simply avoid in the future.

As to plant foliage, there is a happy medium, I think.

You can remove leaves that ...

(1) are not a benefit to the plant (i.e. healthy and green)
(2) strongly detract from the plant symmetry

The key is to leave ENOUGH leaves to foster healthy plant growth and blooming. Consider that for every healthy leaf, you might get a few MORE blossoms (not always true, but a general rule).

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:15AM
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Any leaf that is not healthy should be removed except in a plant that is struggling. Then, a less-than healthy or damaged leaf is better than no leaf. A leaf that is old or yellowing is still being maintained by the roots but it is not pulling its weight-food production -wise.

Plant symmetry is an artificial concept that we growers have imposed on plants. It may look good to us, but the plant is really more concerned about using its leaves for food production than symmetry.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 8:19AM
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Is this leaf count thing in relation to Rob's own plants which are semis and minis? If it is, then it makes sense. There are a number of his that have been notorious for outgrowing their class size. Enough said?

As to the browning, if it's the normal thing, you can remove the center or remove the blossom or quit looking at it until the whole flower fades. It's just kind of an alternate way of saying "I'm past my prime here."

(Thank you, Linda, for making me feel better about the folks who keep yanking off perfectly good leaves while I am thinking they may be useful too.)


    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 10:08AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Diana - I think you a correct - Rob's hybrids are minis and semis - and there is always and issue of keeping them true to the size. I do not see the reason to remove healthy outside leaves on the standard. When they start to go pale... it is time.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 4:14PM
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I think this discussion is running along two different wave-lengths. One is the natural habit of growth for violets and one is the practice of growing for show. In show plants, size must be maintained by leaf removal for purposes of class placement. In natural growth, plants will grow what they need to survive.

Plants that are grown for special occasions, such as Easter or Christmas, or the show table, will often be manipulated into their best form for a certain sale/show date. They look great for the sales market or the show but usually, after a short time, the plant will collapse having been pushed so hard and grown under less than natural conditions. So, too, show violets are usually grown under conditions that are unnatural-leaf removal, fertilizer loading, dis-budding, light manipulation.

I'm not suggesting it is wrong to grow plants like this, it is just not their natural environment. If one is not growing for show, it is best to try to emulate natural conditions which do not include arbitrary leaf-removal.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:01PM
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