Grooming question

ajscoutJune 7, 2009

Hi All,

I'm new here, and this is my exciting second post. Whee!

As I mentioned in my last post, offering leaves from a mini, I live with a rabbit. (Her name is Scout, she's adorable, knows a few tricks and sometimes kicks me off my pillow at night and takes it over while I sleep.)

When a flower on one of my AVs starts to get a bit wilted, I pull it off and remove the hard center part and feed the flower to Scout, she just loves them and they are not toxic, so it all works out.

Is it better for the plant to allow the flower to dry up fully, or does it not matter in the least?

All my plants are only a few months in my care and I've yet to have really heavy blooms. I'd like to see more flowers as I simply grow them as a nice addition to my living room decor. Would I get more blooms if I left the flowers on longer to dry out?

Thanks for your advice!

Amber (and Scout)

Here is a link that might be useful:

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Here is a link to a photo of the "sucker" from the grandmothers plant. As you can see, it's now pretty close to full size.

Also, the leaves on the bottom row are darker in color and much smaller. This is what remains from it's period of less than stellar care. The center leaves are much larger and a brighter color.

It's presently in a ceramic self watering planter. I know they are not the best option and I understand this. :) For now, the plant is doing much better and it's in a light soil with plenty of perlite.

It does have some buds starting to come up, but are not open yet. I'm thinking it's best to cut those off.

I water them with less than the suggested does of AV fertilizer since they are in self watering pots.

Any advice? It's definitely doing so much better now!


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 5:50PM
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Hi, Amber, and welcome to the forum. If you want heavier bloom, you will need to disbud your plant. Simply remove any flower buds when they appear. Do this for about 6 weeks, and they will reward you with a full head of bloom. The disbudding seems to get the blooming thing into high gear.

It is best to remove any blossom when it starts to wilt. The plant won't then be directing any of its energy to a spent blossom. So, to answer your question, no, leaving blossoms on the plant does not have any benefit.

Scout sounds cute, but I hope that she doesn't become so enamored of the blossoms that she gets to your plants and nibbles them off.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 8:03PM
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Thanks for the info Barbara. I'll get to disbudding and hope that I'll get more blossoms that way.

I also hope Scout does not become too enamored with the blossoms. I think as soon as I get 2 more plants, I'll have to move some furniture around so they can live here safely with the vicious bunny!


    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 8:54PM
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HI Amber,
It's best to remove the old bloom from your plants. I have found that if they are left there long enough it becomes a breeding ground for disease. I would also remove the small leaves from the bottom of your plant, these are called secondary leaves and are old and not worth saving. In fact if there is more than one row of leaves that are smaller than the row above it remove them also. This may create a neck which will mean that you will have to repot the plant. I have a couple sheets on AV care that I gave out to groups when I lectured. If you would like them just email me and I will send them back to you.
Good luck with your plants.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 8:08PM
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Hi Fred,

I agree with you about those older, lower leaves needing to come off.

Since I got the plant in a very unhealthy state and have been "bringing it back" I've been taking off old leaves as new ones come in. The plant has the same number of leaves now as when I brought it home, but now more of the leaves are healthy than not.

My non expert logic was not wanting to "shock" the plant by pulling off all the unhealthy leaves (a few months ago, they were all bad).

You think this particular plant is healthy enough now to remove the last few old leaves? It's been in my care since March and had started budding - until I chopped the buds off!

All my plants now, except for one, are disbudded as Barbara suggested I'd get heavier bloom this way. As I start allowing them to flower again in 6 weeks or so, I'll be sure to remove the flowers as they start to wilt.

I did e-mail you for those sheets you so kindly offered to send. Thanks.

Thanks again for all your advice and help.

I've looked the AVSA website for local groups and it seems the last one of the year in my area is tomorrow. I e-mailed the contact yesterday, but have not heard back. I also re-arranged my living room yesterday to accommodate more plants. And so it begins...


    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 8:04AM
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You can't "shock" the plant by removing leaves from the under/outer rows. That actually helps plants in the best way possible. It's a "stimulator" for newer, healthier growth.

There was a study or plan done somewhere and I read about how the grower removed all outer rows of leaves as a new circle appeared in the crown and measured that against just letting a plant grow as it did without any removal...

the plant that was consistently groomed was healtheir, much larger, grew faster and had an abundance of blooms when it did bloom. That make sense.

In a conversation the other day with someone about AVs, I asked her, "Do you want to GROW AVs or do you want to just look at them?" and she replied, "I want to grow them so I can enjoy them" and I replied to her --- then you've got some work to do."

To me, it's a balance of short term pleasure or long term/permanent/ongoing health and beauty. I get more pleasure out of the latter.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 8:43AM
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Hi, and thanks Dora.

Those old leaves are now gone!

Another slightly related question: the older leaves were purple on the underside. The new leaves are green on the underside, with little bits of light purple "blotches". Will the undersides of these new leaves eventually turn purple on the underside?


    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 9:08AM
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Hi Amber,
The red backs should return unless the plant is sporting.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 3:24PM
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The red backs/purple backs are simply a characteristics of that kind of plant. Some have it and some don't.



    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 11:39PM
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Thanks All!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 10:50AM
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