Leaves just got chopped off.. now what

frank325June 22, 2008

I had never heard of AV until today when I was shopping for some indoor plants and bought one. I read about it after I got home before I potted it. Ended up using an equal mix of peat, miracle gro potting soil, and cactus mix.

Well, 2 hours after putting it on my kitchen counter by my sink, a baking sheet that was in my strainer fell over and chopped off 2 leaves! Yeah, great timing for that... So now it is a little lopsided because it's missing 2 big leaves. They were taken off just below the leaves, so I have 2 stems sticking out with no leaves. What should I do? Trim them down to the soil line? Leave them? Will it grow back in that area to even it out?

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Hi Frank,
Violets grow symetrically like the spokes on a bicycle around a single central stem. Each row generally has 3 leaves which overlap the ones beneath it. Once a leaf has died or broken it is advisable to remove the entire stem either by breaking it off or cutting it off leaving no nub on the stem. So, depending on where the leaves broke off you may have to remove one or four to keep the crown symetrical. Put the plant somewhere so that you can see it from the top. You might try slipping a couple pieces of paper over some of the lower leaves to find the best symetrical leaf pattern. Once you have decided that the plant looks good, remove the leaves you covered up and if it makes a long neck on the stem, repot it and sink the plant lower in the pot. Pot size is important, the diameter of the pot should be 1/3 the diameter of the plant. If the crown measures 9 inches it should be put into a 3 inch pot.
If you email me I will send you some sheets on care and culture of av's. I generally hand them out to people when I speak to groups on violets.
Good luck with your violet. I must warn you though that once you start it can become an addiction. Over 25 years ago I felt sorry for 2 av's in a local supermarket. Since then my collection grew to over 200 but is now down to a few over 100.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 9:04PM
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The heavy mix you've got it planted in (peat, miracle gro potting soil, & cactus mix) will more than likely do MUCH more harm than the couple leaves that were chopped off.

A lighter mix would be much healthier... Try 1 part peat, 1 part vermiculite, and one part perlite. :-)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 10:02PM
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Obviously i'm new at this ... ! Ok, so I've decided to scrap this plant, in a way. I'm going to use it to propagate new ones from leaf cuttings, instead of just throwing in the towel completely. It will give me a chance to do that for once, as i have yet to do so.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 10:56PM
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Don't toss out the plant, just repot it after you remove leaves.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 8:13AM
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I'm with fred hill. Don't toss the plant out. Repotting and watching it grow back into a symmetrical plant will be just as rewarding as planting leaves and having babies. Your new to this so experience every part of it you can.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 1:57PM
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It's funny you all said that, because I just did that actually and was going to come on here and ask if it'd work! I repotted it after trimming it down to only 4 leaves. I removed all the blooms except for one tiny stem that had no open blooms and it was shorter than the leaves. I also cut off some of the roots to make up for getting rid of almost all the leaves... hopefully that was the right thing to do. I potted it in a dixie cut in a potting soil/perlite/vermiculite mix. How does that sound? Do I just treat it like a normal AV from now on?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 9:23PM
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also, one other quick question. for my potted cuttings, i put vermiculite as a base with perlite on top... didn't really mix them together. is that fine ? or should I mix them together when I get home?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 8:34AM
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Hi Frank,
I start all my lealves and suckers in my light soil mix. If the mix you used is 1-1-1 then you should have no problem. Other than that what you did with the old plant seems fine. I would add however that when you restart a crown that you scrape the neck down to remove any calouses or nubs so that root development will be easier.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 9:20AM
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