Normal rest period?

shahm0nsterrJuly 27, 2014

Hi everyone, Andrew here. (I've been a lurker for a while but have recently started posting)

I was wondering what the typical rest cycle is for a healthy African Violet before it will rebloom.

Mine is potted correctly and watered correctly. In a room with a south facing window that gets no direct sunlight during the summer, but some during winter. I have trimmed the largest, oldest leaves. It has been almost a month since the blooms faded, and I see no evidence of a new bloom shoot.
I do notice that there are a lot of new small leaves in the plant, but I can't tell if its a separate plant. They are all coming from the center.

The only reason I could think of for not blooming is not enough light. So I purchased a Philips 60w incandescent "plant light." Would placing my plant under this (12 inches under) for a few hours per day in addition to natural light from my bedroom encourage blooming?

Thanks for your help! :)

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There is no 'normal' rest period. Violets, like people, are all individuals. Even plants of the same variety taken from the same leaf will have differing habits.

Rest periods are often tied into amount of bloom. I have found on my plants, the more the bloom display, the longer the rest period. Blooming takes a lot of energy and the plant must re-coup.

If you have new crown growth, you will eventually have blooms. Watch your foliage. It will tell you if the violet is getting the proper amount of light.

Patience, patience, patience.... ;)


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 1:05PM
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That's why we have more than one ;-)
If you are looking for continuous blooms, I've read certain trailers do that - I haven't had mine long enough to be sure of it though...


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 2:43PM
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i have noticed that for my large over 10" mature plants they might start producing new buds within weeks. and surely after a month.
of course mine are on continuous feed and in very good light bordering on too-much (dappled sun for 2-3 hours in west window).
but younger plants take longer to rebloom because they are still actively growing and need more green mass before the next bloom. which is usually much larger (no of flowers, not size) then earlier. so it can be 2 months.
if you have a young plant - i would not remove older leaves.
regrowing new leaves to compensate for lost older leaves will delay/reduce bloom.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 5:58PM
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I'm assuming that you are either using fertilizer appropriately or that your potting mix has it included and it is still good (about 3 mos. I think). Forgive me, but sometimes one shouldn't assume.

That said, they do differ quite a bit. Some varieties will bloom almost constantly but others will rest, then get a big flush of blossoms, and then repeat.

You could try giving it a little extra light and seeing how it goes. I'd be cautious - try about 1/5 hour at first. A photo might help. I've been having issues with too much light with the summer season though. The foliage shows it by getting paler even though they bloom. Harbor Blue seems to bloom quite steadily (just trying to think of one).


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 6:19PM
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I have started using a liquid fertilizer every second time I water (2-7-7) I heard a higher phosphorous number will promote blooms.

I'll try giving it more light gradually, and I'll stop trimming the leaves and just let it grow (patience....haha!)

And I'll keep this updated when it blooms (I have faith!)


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 2:49AM
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Looks like you actually have either several plants in the same pot, or a few suckers (hard to tell from that angle).
It is said (I can't say I've tested the theory) that a plant that is suckering will put energy into the 'offspring' rather than into blooms. If it is just a matter of several plants, it shouldn't affect blooming of the biggest, just ruins your symmetry.
Personally, I'd split up everything into separate smaller (!) containers. May be a bit longer to wait for flowers, but the overall shape of the plants will look better :-)


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 8:40AM
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Aha! or maybe voila! The good news is that you have a very nice looking, healthy plant. The other (good?) news is that there is a whole family in there.

As Karin said, you have several plants. I would guess suckers, but I can't really see either. Suckers are grow from and are attached to the central plant.

Other times, we buy a plant and get what I have jokingly started calling "Optimara style potting." That is when little plantlets begin coming up around the larger main plant; I guess they weren't removed when the plantlet was first taken off the leave and continued to develop later. I've caught myself missing one of these lately and had to remove it. Occasionally there are a lot of them on an Optimara. Other times none at all.

Either way, I agree that you will eventually have a nicer plant if you opt to make it a single crown. It might also need more light since I've seen multi crowned plants bloom, but it may be putting more energy into growing more plants too.

Very nice looking plant! Thanks for the photo. You are doing a good job there.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:01AM
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The plant and the photo are exceptionally good looking. However, no crown, no blooms.
Blooms come from the crown leaves and this plant has no one crown that is developed or mature enough to produce blooms, but instead, many suckers or mini-crowns. The plant's normal growth pattern was disrupted.
That may have been caused by the plant already having suckers when you got it, which Diana suggested, and happens with plants grown under stressed conditions.
Or your removal of leaves may have caused it. Everywhere a healthy leaf was removed prematurely, a sucker has formed. Rather than the normal growth pattern of new leaves coming only from the crown, it has become a multi-crowned plant. It won't bloom, it is growing many suckers

Suggest you leave this one alone. Discontinue the use of the fertilizer that forces blooms. Use an equally balanced fertilizer at very dilute strength. There is nowhere on the plant where it can bloom at this time. It is not mature enough. If you try to force it to bloom, it will eventually die.

This plant has no possibility of having a mature crown unless you start to remove suckers because it is growing in a distorted pattern with suckers instead of leaves.
Continue to let it grow, as you study up on how to remove suckers. To get this plant back to a normal growth pattern, you will need to gradually remove the suckers. Suggest removing just one sucker at a time to get the hang of this and so the plant can recover. First, remove one of the larger suckers from the outside of the plant. Put it in a very small pot and allow the plant to recover. In another couple of weeks,remove another sucker and pot it up. repeat the process until you are down to one crown. However,the plant might continue to sucker, even after removing suckers.
In the long run, the plant will be happier with fewer suckers because the main area will have room to spread out and grow the way nature intended. You can pot up each of the suckers you remove to start new plants.

Get a new plant to enjoy and study a normal growth pattern. Select one that has no suckers. Let it grow naturally, the only growth to remove would be dead leaves or dead flowers. Don't be concerned about flowers, rather, observe the plant's growth pattern.

If you can't find one in a garden center or grocery store near you, consider sending away for one. If you buy one from one of the vendors recommended on this Forum, you will receive a single crowned plant. Sometimes the ones you find in stores already have too many suckers. J

This post was edited by fortyseven on Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 11:57

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:45AM
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Even if you don't want to take all the suckers off right away, which may be stressful to the plant, I would most certainly remove the smaller ones.

I think I see a center there, but I can't be certain.

Don't sweat it. The only time I ever "showed" plants was at a fair. They were really my second best because I'd misjudged the disbudding (took them to the basement where it was cooler not realizing they would take longer to rebloom). I only got second prize. Who got first? A great big old multi-crowned noid, that's who :D. I bet my best ones would have lost to it too.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:12PM
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That's hilarious! Guess the judges were not AVSA trained!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 2:54PM
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Thanks J for all the information!
And thank you everyone else for the compliments on my av!

I actually purchased another one today (blooming in beautiful dark magenta) I'll follow your advice on moving to a diluted balanced fertilizer while studying up on how to remove the suckers. The problem is, I'm still having trouble identifying them. Partly because the center of the plant is so crowded.

Would the suckers be all of those smaller leaves? The mother plant is supposed to be perfectly symmetrical from the center, correct?
If so, it will be difficult to remove them because of how crowded the center is along with how crisp and ready-to-snap the stems are. When potting my new AV today I snapped off 2 of the main leaves by accident.

I'll attach another picture from the side this time (of the original)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 1:22AM
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Also, here is a picture of the new plant.
I have removed the one sucker I found, and from what I can tell by looking from above, all of these smaller leaves are coming directly from the center. Now the spot directly in the front is where I accidentally snapped off the 2 large leaves while potting.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 1:39AM
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This is so hard to describe, but once you 'get it' you'll be laughing...
Take a look at your new plant, I don't see suckers on it, notice how all leaves end up in one plane? And there is only one set of tiny leaves at the center?
Now check out the other plant, identify the biggest leaves, and at their center the main stem and point of leaf growth (those tiny leaves). That's the part you want to leave alone.
Now look at any leaves that go against the grain, so to speak, and don't end upl level with the others. If you follow them to their origin, you'll see another little center. That is your sucker (including any leaves originating from it). Follow it down to where it meets the main stem.
The objective is to wedge something between the stem and the sucker until it breaks loose. I use tweezers or a pencil, others use knives, skewers, nail files, etc. just try not to cut into or squish the main stem more than you can help it.

Ok, now I need my coffee :-) others will explain further...


    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 6:36AM
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Yes, indeed. I see what you did! I would add: Do you see that smaller leaf right beside the gap? That one is what is called an "immature leaf" - one that is smaller, older, and doesn't quite look like the big ones. It has served its purpose and you can remove those. However, it will never break off accidentally - it will always be some other leaf.

Heaven knows we've discussed suckers enough here so a search might help if Karen's excellent description didn't. (I've seen worse damage than you inflicted :)


    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:18AM
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The leaves you removed and the suckers can be rooted to start new plants. I suggest you leave the plant with all the suckers alone and let them get bigger. They will be easier to identify. What do you use to take photos ? They are so clear. Joanne

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:35AM
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i consider myself rather successful at removing even the smallest suckers, yet on my newest plant i crushed them twice :(. and i was careful... the 2nd one i left to grow bigger for 3 months and i thought it was big enough to grab with my fingers very close to the stem and pull sideways. crushed all the larger leaves leaving me with tiny 4 leaf crown - too small to plant.
it is much easier to detach them as i described when they are much larger and sturdier and are NOT close to the crown but at the edge of the plant.
however when you have so-o many they'll be choking each other and leaves will be tangling together. much harder to detach without breaking.
if you can identify more then 2 suckers, i'd suggest leaving only 2 to grow and the rest - you can at least snip the largest leaves off them with small scissors to relieve congestion. you can remove the left overs later.
it is very important when detaching to push as close as you can get to the base. but when the sucker is small and stems are in the way - you can't use your fingers.
i use a skewer's blunt end with best results. while holding the plant with one hand at eye level in very bright light next to the window. push the blunt end sideways until the base of the sucker snaps.
you'll crush a few ...but eventually you'll get better.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:53AM
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There is a device called a sucker plucker you can order from Fancy Bloomers in NJ that some men find easier to use than their fingers. J

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:34PM
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Karins description helped a lot. I think I have the hang of it now. Today I used a grooming kit (tweezers and tiny scissors) to remove all suckers. Well probably not all... but most ;)

Joanne, I use my phone for the pictures! I have the LG G2. It's about a year old but has excellent macro focus. Plus I increase the contrast just a bit to help with visibility.

Now, once the congestion was cleared (thanks to everyone's advice!) I noticed something. Could this be..... The beginning of a bloom shoot!? It is red like the underside color of my leaves but has two 'things' coming out.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:05PM
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Looks like a flower bud to me. Not sure if it is originating from the main stem, or the remnants of a sucker though, but I don't think it matters.

Hint: if it develops 4 leaves, it's a sucker. You can't always tell which way it will go when it is at the two leaf stage, so wait to see four leaves before plucking anything off.

Glad the description helped :-) sometimes I don't make much sense and don't realize it ;-)


    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:40PM
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I think it's coming from the remnant of a sucker like you said. But there are more (much smaller than that one) coming from the main crown. In fact you can see one directly to the left of it.

Gosh, I am going to be so happy when this thing blooms again. And I'm glad I have the magenta one to hold me over until then.
I used to think AVs were the ugliest things-due to most store varieties being uncared for, but they're really starting to grow on me (sorry....bad pun..haha)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:00PM
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A couple of thoughts-the crown of the main plant will not necessarily be at the center of the pot (in reference to one of your posts above) especially if it has been crowded out by several suckers.

Removing suckers is a learned skill. You have to destroy a few, or more, suckers before how you figure out how to do it. Then, as Karin says, you will be so skilled you will laugh at how intimidated you were at first!

Use a balanced, no-urea fertilizer. Most fertilizers have a urea-based nitrogen because it is cheap. Some have had trouble with root burn with urea fertilizers so most growers try to avoid it.

Plants grow leaves because they need them. Those leaves you are trimming off are grown by the plant to sustain itself. It is counter-productive to remove healthy leaves. Only remove leaves that are past their prime.

And...practice patience. :)


This post was edited by whitelacey on Wed, Jul 30, 14 at 1:12

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:05AM
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I find trailers to be nearly always in bloom. My "Fancy trail" and "Stickey Wicket" are always in bloom it seems.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:00AM
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Maybe I'm the only one that likes Candy Fountain but it's been so easy for me. It blooms pretty much all the time too.

I suppose this is heresy but you don't have to grow a lot of these trailers the "right" way. I just let Candy Fountain grow as a standard plant with suckers. We're both happy. I don't have room for a bunch of pan pots.

Pixie Blue is another one that is actually a semi-trailer anyway and grows as a little shrubby plant with a lot of suckers. Mine is just getting back on its feet (roots) but I just kind of pinch off what looks like it sticks out too much. You should grow Pixie Blue some way.

(Note: It should be obvious but I do not grow for show.)


    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:27AM
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Hi Andrew,
Thanks for the info on the photo.
(I need to second Linda's advice, be cautious about removing too many leaves at one time.)
Sometimes it might take a couple days for all who comment regularly to read the post and have an opportunity to give advice.
Might I suggest that you look into ordering a few plants from one of the specialty vendors like
These plants grow very differently from the Optimaras you
find in retail stores. If you select one that has variegated foliage, then you will have something attractive to look at when the plant is not blooming.

If you get overwhelmed by all the selections, you can always ask for suggestions on this Forum. We all have our favorites, for different reasons. Joanne

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 12:47PM
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I agree with Joanne. Some of the variegates are just gorgeous as foliage plants!


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:08AM
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And I maintain that if I wanted something green and white without flowers, I would have stuck to pothos.

Lyon's outdid themselves with Frozen in Time. Its foliage is green and white and its flowers are green and white and I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I waited a long time to try it. Private Dancer will bloom and makes a beautiful plant. Optimara Modesty is a good bloomer too.

Generally speaking, I don't believe in ones that take big rest periods. There are so many others to choose from unless you want to show. Then the rest period can be an advantage.

In Optimaras, good bloomers have been O. Texas, O. Chico, O. Dali, and O. Modesty. I haven't really had enough experience with the new ones yet. Oh, yes, O. Manitoba is nice also but is about the same color as Harbor Blue. So why am I growing both of them?

Edit: Despite photos and descriptions that would indicate that O. Dali is purple, I have owned it twice and it is pink. Maybe an odd shade of pink but pink. My old one looked just like the AVSA photograph:

If you can figure out which one is O. Kentucky, that is a nice blooming dark blue one.

I've certainly had more misses than hits with Lyndon Lyon's plants and its much more expensive than practicing with Optimaras.

Diana in PA

This post was edited by quimoi on Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 9:16

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 8:46AM
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Mine all seem to take long rest periods directly correlating to my care of them. Pretty much alternating lots and lots of flowers, then they die or dwindle, recoup, and bloom again half a year later....
I wouldn't really mind, but it's all or them at the same time. I may have to start disbudding just to stagger the bloom cycles a bit.

I have optimara Dali, and I'd call it red before purple, but I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder. Perceiving and labelling a color are two different things. DH and I can never agree whether something is green or blue for example. And with AV's there's this whole red vs pink vs coral spectrum that you can really only compare if you have two plants side by side in the same light.... Oh, and blue vs purple, etc.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:56AM
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You are the first I've seen to suggest that Dali is red. If I squint I can imagine the purplish tint but it mostly comes across as a pink. I just wanted to warn someone not to expect the rather light purple photos I've seen or you might miss it. The description says "purple;" FC2 shows purple, but the AVSA gallery shows the one that looks more like mine and I just bought one that is definitely more pinkish. It has the row stake in it so it's properly identified.

Blue/blue-violet, purple are a pain. It seems that they often use purple when they tend toward the red purples in AVs. As far as coral, I apparently am not about to recognize it in an african violet. Maybe I'm looking for some other color.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 10:58AM
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It isn't blooming right now, so I am working on memory (which if often oh so accurate) ;-)
I remember I bought it because it was kind of pink but such a dark hue of it that it didn't scream 'barbie'...
I have a few pinks now, which is funny because in my head I still don't like them.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:54PM
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My daughter doesn't like pinks. I agree that the recent pinks all seem to be very glaring. I like lighter pinks. I don't know if they're trying to make sure you can see them across a crowded room or what.

R. Michele isn't too vivid. Fredette's Risen Star is soft, Country Romance isn't bright. I suppose Candy Fountain might be pushing the limits but it's not too bad. I've been keeping Dominique although it hasn't really been doing that well because I'm afraid I can't find anything similar.

I grew Dali for a long time but can't say it's my favorite color. It was an easy one and did well and my husband always liked it. His mother had a red and yellow kitchen and he is his mummy's son.

Diana in PA

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:37PM
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Welp here is a little update.

My magenta AV is still blooming and in fact pushing out new blooms which are so dark and vivid!

As for my original plant...a puppy got to it. Nothing salvageable left. Very sad because I had put so much mental effort into it!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 8:31PM
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