African Violet suckers-Prone African Violets?

judyj(Z5 CO)August 7, 2014

Hi there,
I was just wondering if there are African Violet types that tend to sucker more than others-or if there's some environmental reason? Currently I have two Itchy Britches, one Rob's Cool Fruit, all three have 2-3 suckers on them. Also pulled one from a Russian Mavka. The Itchy Britches and Cool fruit are now blooming for their first time, and the Mavka had bloomed for it's first time too when I found these suckers. I do plan on cutting these off and planting, just wondering if there's some resource where I can go to see what I can expect. I have about 15 varieties-and haven't seen any of the others do this so readily.

Thanks for any insight!


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From what I understand, Chimera's can only be propagated by suckers.

Therefore, I would assume that there has been a lot of research and experimentation about suckers and inducing suckers.

The impression I have is that suckers are environmental but that impression is from the Chimera propagators and it may be hopeful superstition rather than science.

I know the Japanese use acupuncture to induce suckering. That would be environmental.
It would be an interesting research topic

I am linking an article below about using acupuncture and a growth hormone.

I tried this on a noid. The plant was a very free suckering plant, now it is just growing in a very odd shape so for me, it didn't work quite as expected

Here is a link that might be useful: Chimera Suckers

This post was edited by lucky123 on Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 23:17

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 10:59PM
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Interesting point lucky! I'll have to look into that!

Suckering can be environmental, or genetic.
A lot of minis & semis sucker, because in their heritage is a trailing species violet. If I understand correctly, Rob's minis are especially prone to suckering, and it has been suggested (though without any proof) that he may have crossed in some more trailing species.
Stress can cause suckering - for example if I remove a healthy leaf from a standard plant, chances are I will get a sucker where the leaf was removed. (There is a debate on cutting vs breaking a leaf off and it's implications on suckering)
Some people say plants sucker if they are left too long between waterings, other say they sucker because they are happy and prolific.

Take your pick, but if it is only a few plants in your collection, I wouldn't worry about environmental issues. Maybe they just want to behave like trailers.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 11:14PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Thanks Folks-
It hadn't occurred to me until I saw how many suckers were going on with these minis/semis that there might be some trailers in their background! Guess I need to read a bit more about trailer history-I've got several of those also. No big deal, just curious. Little bit of a pain to keep plucking them off, but maybe I'll try what Lucky123 mentioned, though probably have the same luck! I'll look on the link you posted also. Currently I have only one chimera. It's pretty enough but not worth the expense, IMHO!

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 5:38PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

OK I just found another one on my Twinkle Blue mini...and on my standard chimera (I had to look!)...maybe these things are just too happy.. .or maybe I need to separate them from my trailers, so they quit getting ideas! :-) Time to go read that link!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 5:55PM
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Not sure if this is on-point, but my little kunzite has never had a sucker. Although...none of my AVs sucker. I have bought plenty with suckers but never had one show up while in my possession. So I guess it is environmental.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 7:47PM
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Every Optimara or commercial violet I have purchased has had suckers. But not one plant has developed a sucker thereafter. I would opt for environmental but I bet the chimera producers wonder what the devil that x factor is.
I tried to acupuncture a noid because it sported on a sucker which I lost. The noid is growing in a very strange fashion. Perhaps I mutated it :) Mwah hah hah!
My Name Up In Lights
Lucky's Latest and Greatest Yellow Flowered Succulent African Violet, adapted to harsh climates, guaranteed to grow in the Gobi and back of beyond. Blooms Yikes Yellow, a shade that compliments the yellow and brown spotted leaves.
Such a dream, aye?

This post was edited by lucky123 on Sat, Aug 9, 14 at 20:14

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 8:12PM
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Don't forget to mention it is sulfur scented ;-p

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 9:35PM
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And eats thrips instead of thrips eating it.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 9:39PM
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Did you cross it with a flytrap?

Actually you can propagate chimeras by bloom stem propagation although apparently neither suckers nor bloom stem is 100% guaranteed to be true. People have reported that they didn't come true.

Rob's have had a certain reputation for suckering. I think some of the newer ones may not be as bad as the earlier ones. I grew some for awhile but haven't grown any until just recently so can't comment. I have actually bought Optimaras without suckers. Not often, but it happened. I believe high humidity increases the likelihood. It seems as though constant wicking may do it too. I believe some of it may be light-related.

Ive seen complaints about the small Optimaras but after bringing mine home and having some of them with many suckers, I have had almost none since I repotted them. Maybe Little Cherokee got a bit once. I have 12 although the blue one is going as soon as it blooms because it has lagged way behind everyone else. I think it's Little Comanche.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 1:29PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

We do use capillary mats and the plants are under lights until they're blooming well. They're in a small indoor greenhouse so the humidity levels stay decent as well (helpful in Colorado).

All of my violets less a couple noids and two non-Rob freebies are from Rob's stock. Most are semis with a couple minis. One of the noids (a standard) I have did sucker once several months ago, but once I removed it, never did so again. It is not, however, in the little greenhouse-rather it sits quite happily under a fluorescent light at work.

This may have a lot to do with it-I'm seeing similar comments in several posts.

Thinking to order a couple of Sorano's to see if there's a difference.

Maybe I'll start a notebook! :-)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 6:17PM
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Judy, the Sorano s' are on sale this month! I just got a dozen and posted a photo on the Gallery . Joanne

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:40PM
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Vikki(7b / 8)

Talk about suckering. I just stripped 9 of them off Db's Kamon's Star. Some were only a couple of leaves, but man, I couldn't believe when each time I popped one off, there was another one growing in the same spot at the base of the same leaf! I think it likes being a mama. I'm hoping one or 2 of them didn't inherit the suckering gene so I can grow at least one that looks 'normal'.


This post was edited by vivey on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 8:34

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 8:32AM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Hey Joanne, saw the sale, thanks! I'll probably order two or three to see. Think I will start a notebook and see how far it goes. Wanted to do that anyway for my streps- there appears to be an enormous difference in how the varieties grow (same with the violets). At best I can use it to select the best varieties down the road!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 6:32PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

You know, even with LL's sale, Rob 's is still somewhat less expensive (looking at non-Rob hybrid semis). Has anyone a comparison of what they receive as far as size, health from both?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 6:48PM
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Hi Judy,
From Lyndon Lyon's, or LLG, I get consistently large plants, often in bloom, in 2 1/2 in square pots in a good potting mix that does not have to be changed for at least six months. They come with plastic stakes that have the plant name printed on them so I can move them when I repot. The plants grow rapidly and do not sucker. The company has excellent customer service and ships promptly. For me, it is worth it to pay slightly more to get consistently larger, premium quality plants. For all the trouble of ordering live plant material across country, I want to get the best I can for my money. They have good quality control and accurately label the plants. They are my first choice.
I only go elsewhere if there is something I want that they don't carry. They also keep their web catalogue updated, so if they are out of stock, they won't list the item. So, no surprises and no substitutions. They usually have enough of a particular type to choose from. For example, they will offer five different reds or five different whites or more. Their own hybrids are exceptional, vigorous and strong. I primarily raise Lyon 's own hybrids. They also have a wide selection of many other hybridizers. They are a large enough company to be able to introduce new hybridizers. They first opened up the Russian market and offer a wide range. They seem to pick the best choices of other hybridizers, so if they offer a plant , I feel it has been preselected for good performance. If something is new in the plant world, chances are they developed it. They are consistent in what they offer, it is usually possible to find the same plant year after year, plus new ones. I like to be a loyal customer and give them my business. They have been at this for sixty years, I appreciate they are still in this business. I feel they are excellent, so why not do business with them? When I place an order with them, I already know what to expect, so I can safely order a dozen. But they will accept an order of any size.
When I want to try out a new grower, I place a small order. Usually, about four.

This post was edited by fortyseven on Tue, Aug 12, 14 at 10:56

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 12:54AM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Thanks Joanne, for your lovely report! I'll take another look at their website-I'm likely to order a couple as I've said to check environment versus genetics on the semis and minis. This specifically related to suckering. Would you happen to know where I should look on their website for shipping size, etc? I was unable to find it, but probably just missed it!


    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 7:24PM
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Lyon's is still listing a variety on their website that was "unavailable" in my order. They don't seem to be keeping their website up to date. That is one thing I do like about Rob's.

Apparently it depends on the time of year what you get from Lyon's. I haven't hit it right yet.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 9:14AM
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duplicate posted I error

This post was edited by fortyseven on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 19:45

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:08PM
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I've ordered from LL, Rob's, and Bluebird Greenhouse. Every plant I received from LL and Bluebird was large, healthy, and well-established. Of the ~7 plants I've gotten from Rob's, only 1 was well-established. The others I had to try and nurse along. One broke off near the potting mix level during shipping and had only 1 thread-like root, so promptly died. I'm experienced with these plants and am an AVSA judge, but I've pretty much given up on Rob's. He has a great variety of plants that other places don't carry, but I just don't feel I get my moneys worth.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:50PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Something I have noticed from Rob's-and that's the only place I've ordered from so far- is that if you get them early in the spring, April, for example, there's a lot more growth than there is later in the season. Mostly I order in April, after drooling over the varieties and finally keeping myself in check! :-) This is primarily because the guaranteed shipping is considerably less expensive. I've always gotten some in bloom. They are hardy and there's been at least one bud or bloom on them-streps and violets alike. I was able to immediately put them under the lights, with no issues.

This year I ordered in July as well, but had to take them all and put them under not-to-bright natural light-they were very frail. The streps much more so than the violets. These were just at the size where I would have put them in 2 inch pots myself as babies. I put them under lights yesterday-that was about a month after I received them and they're now doing fine.

My guess was that they're having some problem keeping up with demand during the late spring to summer months and are sending out some that they would normally wait on until the plants were a bit older.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:26PM
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I placed 2 orders with Violet Barn in the spring and the smaller varieties were all very nice. The standards were smaller. He carries some varieties I can't find elsewhere.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 11:30PM
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