AnneCecilia z5 MIDecember 6, 2010

Out of the 4 leaves I bought (plus the bonus leaf) from Reed's back in August, I finally have 2 of them with little mouse ears poking up from the soil. The other three seem to be solidly in the soil when I gently tugged so I assume they're rooted and just slower than these two. I was thinking that none of them had sprouted yet, but was surprised to find the two pots with the mouse ears hidden on the back side of the leaf! For some reason I was thinking that the babies would show up on the front/top side of the mother leaf - I saw photos on this site and that's the way they were growing so I just assumed that would be the way they would come up and hadn't turned the little cups around and looked closely through the baggies, LOL.

There is one leaf (so far without babies) that seems to be browning a bit on the very tip - should I trim that part back or leave it alone? The rest of the leaf looks perfectly green, firm and healthy. I'm very nervous about separating the baby plants from the mother leaf. With all the time invested, I'm so anxious for them to do well!

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Hi Annececelia
Babies can come up on front or backside of leaf-cutting the stem at 45degree angle w cut edge facing front of leaf encourages babies to grow in front of leaf as babies grow from cut edge; I would make a horizontal cut across top of leaf to remove brown area-also most people do this routinely once babies start growing to stop leaf from growing and to promote growth of babies. Wait until babies have at least 4 nickel sized leaves to separate. Good luck

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 1:13AM
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AnneCecilia z5 MI

Thank you, Marty. That makes perfect sense about the angle of the cut - I apparently didn't pay close enough attention to the info on starting leaves that I read on line. I don't know if I cut them all "backwards" or not but we'll see, LOL.
And I'll trim off the top of that leaf tonight. Thanks for the tip!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 6:48AM
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Cheer up! I angle all my leaves and they still come up "backwards" once in awhile.

If the tip is soft or decaying, I would definitely trim it off with something like a very sharp, clean blade. If it's dried, then it may not be so important. Strangely, I've never noticed any of my parent leaves growing, although it's routinely reported by others.

I recently read something online that claimed that a sharper angle would produce more plantlets while a straighter cut would producer fewer but stronger ones. This was something I'd never heard before, I always heard cut them at a 45 deg. angle and tried to eyeball that.

I've seen various ways of doing things and tried trimming leaves (didn't like it) and went back to my old ways. I think it's one of those things where there's not just one best way and if you find something that works, it's a good one.

Congratulations on the babies!


    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 10:11AM
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Congrats on the new babies. I have been growing violets for over 30 years and have started dozens and dozens of leaves and I still get a rush when I see those little mouse ears appear. Mother nature is amazing.

Yes, I also cut leaves at an angle and the mouse ears come up all over the place. No worries though, they have all turned out the same. That is I see no difference in robustness of the babies behind the mother leaf.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 10:14PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

I trim the tips of standard and large leaves. If there is a beginning of the rot somewhere on a leaf - you can cut the bad spot out and sprinkle the wound with cinnamon powder. Sometimes if the leaf is almost rotten - and you just need to save this particular one - I make wedges out of healthy tissue - and plant them into reconstituted New Zealand sphagnum moss and put them into zip baggie. Sphagnum suppresses rot - and even small wedges eventually give a baby.

Larry - how can you grow violets for 30 years - you do not look that old! Unless you started growing before you started walking ;-))

I just heard that the formula for Jack's Violet food changed and the urea is especially detrimental for leaf starting. So - even if you used it before - read the fine print on nutrients content every so often even on familiar brands.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 1:12PM
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AnneCecilia z5 MI

You're all great coaches - thanks for helping me along.
No more have sprouted yet, but of the two that have little mouse ears one is growing like crazy and is approaching that nickel size so I'll be separating it soon.
I've learned so much here! :-)

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 7:04AM
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Larry - how can you grow violets for 30 years - you do not look that old! Unless you started growing before you started walking ;-))


You are too kind. I started growing violets in 1979 and I was 24 years old.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 9:27PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

shoot -

you are 2 years older than me - and look 10 years younger. It is not fair, the guys look better when they age...and they do not need to dye their hair...

anyway - just another example how consistent growing of African Violets for 30 years can keep you from aging! Magic Plant!


    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 5:44PM
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Hey Irina,
What can I tell you. It's all in the genetic make-up. It does seem to me though that men seem to age slower but not in all cases. I guess that parentage has a lot to do with it. If you received good genes from your parents you have a good chance of looking younger, As for grey hair, well thats another story. Men may not have much of it but like me, they don't have much of any of Oh and by the way according to my calculations I have 22 on you.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   December 25, 2010 at 9:45PM
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Just as Fred said, I chose my parents well when it came to looking young as the years have gone by. I am also blessed with a white gray hair that is almost blond. I do agree though that we men get away with gray hair easier than do women in this society.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 8:02AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Nope - it is just genuinely good people age nicely - and growing AVs most of the time means good people.

The problem with us pretty girls - that no matter how wonderful your hair is - if it is grey - it makes you look older. With the guys - it just makes you look distinguished.

I'll better get another bottle of hair color.

Happy New Year to all of us!


    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 5:34PM
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