Dissecting Little Coral

froeschliJuly 29, 2014

This isn't entirely a manual on how to identify and remove suckers, but a little story in pictures on how my little coral ended up in three...

I bought this little plant fully aware that there were three crowns, assuming I was getting three crowded seedlings...

I popped it out of the pot and disbudded....


You can see the jumbled leaves better now:

Then washed off the soil:

Tuns out those three crowns weren't three separate seedlings after all, but suckers that had been potted below the soil line...
I cut them apart:

Had to remove some leaves along the way...

Prepared my pots (wick and perlite layer):

Then planted everything (in perlite-avsoil-mix) - well, only four leaves, I curbed myself ;-p

No babies yet, but the three suckers are growing fast and sending up bloom stalks :-)

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lucky123

Karin
The photos are perfect. Simple and Easy to understand.

The Devil is in the Details and you have pictured the details very well

Great Pictorial Presentation!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:40AM
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fortyseven_gw

Beautiful! Did you put the blossoms in a little shot glass to enjoy like a mini bouquet? They will last quite a long time with water. Next will be a you tube vid! Joanne

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:37AM
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froeschli

No, I tossed them. I saw a thrip where I bought it from, and wasn't going to keep any blossoms or old dirt around. Even with isolating, why take chances...

The the next time I bought from there, the cashier was actually offended when I told her I was disbudding it BEFORE taking it home....
But I am a sucker for little treats, that's why I keep going back there ;-p
Only problem with doing that, I don't have a photo of what it looked like when I bought it. Ah well.

Karin

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 12:06PM
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quimoi

Nice photos, Karin. I don't really care for the videos because I have to keep pausing the darned things to see what's going on, plus it's sometimes hard to see things in them.

Paper towels are way better for photos than newspapers but I am kind of cheap...

Diana

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 12:18PM
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sueok_gw

Thanks, Karin. I was wishing someone would do this!!! You did it very well!

Sue

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 1:06PM
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sueok_gw

Now that I've thought about it some, I'm wondering how you knew that these were three suckers instead of the three crowns/seedlings you expected. Sorry if that's a dumb question.

Sue

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 2:51PM
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fortyseven_gw

Karin, when I find any thrips in a store plant, I ask for the garden manager and show it to the person,who is more correctly responsive than a cashier.
My club members have long been puzzling why and how Optimara plants sometimes grow in clusters if suckers. My club president thinks it is because they are locally grown under stressed and crowded conditions. I am of the opinion it is due to having trailing genes, as many minis do.
Trailers form multiple crowns that start off looking like suckers.

Sue, Commercially sold plants have only one plant per pot and usually propagate from leaf cloning , not seed. When they separate the plants from the mother leaf, they put just one per pot. Otherwise , they would charge for two or three plants . Joanne

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:23PM
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fortyseven_gw

Karin
VioletReflections@ yahoo groups
Thad Scaggs reports on his hybridizing efforts. You can read the posts without having to sign up. Joanne

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:27PM
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froeschli

Thanks Joanne! I'll definitely look that up!

Sue,
if it had been three seedlings, they wouldn't have needed cutting/breaking apart. Once you 'liberate' the roots, separate plants just pull apart, whilst suckers grow like branches off the same stem. (Ok, technically one was the main crown and the other two were suckers)

I hear some strains of the little jewels and little Indian girls are veritable sucker factories. The little crystal that was given to me was actually grown as a trailer. I have taken off five suckers so far and there are plenty more.

OT, but my petite blarney refuses to grow single crowned too. It's too small still to think about messing with it though.

Karin

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 4:47PM
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sueok_gw

Thank you so much for explaining that to me, Karin. I've seperated several clusters of new babies from leaves, and taken suckers off of plants, but I just couldn't see what you saw!

Joanne, thanks for your input.

Sue

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 5:36PM
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froeschli

I can never tell from pictures, except that there is something 'off'. New plants I have to twist and turn to figure out what is going on. Not being afraid to lose some leaves helps ;-)
On my ow plants, I spot suckers right away. The issue there is deciding wether to just scratch them out or wait long enough to plant them...

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 5:43PM
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fortyseven_gw

Sue, In my experience, it is only Optimaras that grow like that. The plant Karin kindly demonstrated for us is an Optimara. At my club meetings, members frequently bring in their problem plants that are so difficult to take apart. They look like the one Karin showed us. They can be taken apart. The club P and VP whip through in no time. For myself, I usually remove just a couple of suckers at a time that I can easily reach. Any removal is a help. At times when I got too aggressive, the main crown did not survive. J

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:09PM
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lucky123

Karin
Can We Pin This? Should be on the top!
I have a large Optimara that sprouted a sucker or plant. I wanted to leave it until it was a bit larger but one leaf is growing so fast and so close that it is growing right over the original crown to the plant.
I have to do sucker/surgery this evening and I am studying your photos carefully.
This makes it so easy!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:42PM
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froeschli

heck, if i had known people were taking this so seriously, i would have tried harder to make my photos show more detail ;-)

all i did was pull off enough leaves so i could see clearly what i had in front of me. hence the many casualties....
i neglected to take photos once that was done though. i'll put it on the list for my next project :-)

as for your sucker, lucky, why not just cut the one offending leaf off?

Karin

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:55PM
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lucky123

Harrruphm! Offending Leaf? .My New Precious!
I dissected the plant, carefully removed the sucker (?) It had a fully developed root system so it is now new little plant
And because I carefully followed along using your photos, I managed to get the new little plant out without losing a leaf or damaging the original plant at all.
Mother and baby are in the dome nursery and doing quite well, thank you very much :)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:05PM
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fortyseven_gw

Lucky
You can clip this post to save. The instructions are in the upper right hand corner under Clippings. Joanne

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:25PM
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froeschli

congrats!

sorry, couldn't help it, but didn't have time to photoshop in an african violet....

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:26PM
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lucky123

Here is a picture of the plant. It is an Optimara. My camera doesn't do red very well. The color is actually very brilliant. Possible Optimara Scarlet?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:39AM
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sueok_gw

Very beautiful, Lucky! Thanks for showing us.

Very funny, Karin! In fact, hilarious! :) Never a dull moment here.

Sue

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:49AM
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froeschli

I have two optimara red standards. One is nearly black, the other borders on pink depending on the light. They both photograph about the same, that is why it is nearly impossible to identify them.

Karin

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 10:00AM
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fortyseven_gw

Karin, I had placed a smallish leaf that had been knocked off in water and forgot about it. When I looked at it a couple weeks later, it had started to grow babies all around the base of the leaf, about five! It grew a longish water root. I potted it lightly in perlite and mix. I don't know if the babies will make it. Made me wonder if that is how the O plants develop so many tight little crowns all the same size. Although this is not an O. It has no stem and is variegated. So I was shocked it grew so fast. Joanne

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 1:53AM
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froeschli

That was my working theory, but I would have to run an experiment to see what would come of it. I noticed my anthoflores plants usually have a 'baby' in the same pot, usually with an extra rooted leaf. I assume they put it down for insurance.
This little coral looked more like it had actually branched, not merged, though. Which surprised me because I never expected commercial growers to put up - silly me ;-)

Karin

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 12:50PM
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fortyseven_gw

The Little Coral would have branched because it has trailer genes. That is how they grow, the minis. So, when you are faced with a sucker, do you usually "live and let live?!"
I usually do. I took some plants to my AV club and was quite shocked to see one of the men take them apart, separate all the suckers, then freely toss aside leaves!! He grows to show!!
I was horrified and wanted to retrieve the leaves from the trash, as I am more of a grower! Then I show up to club meetings with a dozen babies to sell or trade, while everyone else has one perfectly grown plant to demonstrate!

One reason I hesitated for years about subscribing to the mag or going to a club was that I just wanted to grow them. Now that I have shown that can be done, I am more interested in grooming them to look pretty.

Joanne

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 1:24PM
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quimoi

In May, I brought 13 mini Optimaras home from Lowe's. Some had multiple plants, some had suckers and some didn't. When I was done, I had 12 because I got a little carried away removing suckers from Little Maya and it had no crown :). I was tired. (The leaf has babies now). I had two extra Little Crystals.

Since then I think I may have found one sucker on a plant. They are sitting in my window. They are all doing pretty well except what may be Little Comanche. It looks good but only now has a blossoms and the rest have bloomed freely. I know it was a single purple/blue. Little Blackfoot hasn't been a particularly free bloomer but it's been steady. These 2 might do better under lights. They look related. There is a pink that could be Little Coral.

Minis/semis often need more light than standards. I didn't intend to keep 13 of them. I like what I think is Little Apatite but it seems like the weakest plant. I just potted that one down.

Diana

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 4:42PM
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froeschli

Hello, my name is karin, and I have a violet problem...

It still hurts me to throw out leaves, but I manage to only keep a couple. Suckers, well, they are basically plants, so anything with a dim hope of survival, I try to root...
No idea how I'll get over myself when it comes time to cull the seedlings...
I am getting better at throwing out hopelessly ugly plants though...

Karin

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 7:29PM
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fortyseven_gw

Hi, hoping that the person with the violet shop will appreciate your crop and help you with them. I know what you mean, nature has a way of multiplying easily and readily. Joanne

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 9:00PM
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