Bloom Management and Disbudding?

ocelaris(7a)December 3, 2011

How often should I let my violets stay in bloom? i.e. I just started a few months ago, and some are bloomed out and have been in bloom for going on a month now. I don't need them to bloom necessarily as much as they want to bloom, but if I disbud them are they going to come right back? Or is it like a cycle of blooming heavily and then taking a break. Can I start that cycle early by totally disbudding and keeping an eye on any new stalks popping up?

As far as plant health, I would assume a plant contstantly in bloom is putting it's energy into blooms and not leaves. Say I want a plant to get bigger before blooming, any problems with disbudding for quite some time?

I was at my Parent's house last weekend, and my mother has gotten a few now that I'm into them as well, and she show's me how she keeps them in bloom. So she reaches straight into the center of the crown and plucks off a perfectly good new leaf! I was a bit appalled, but that was what she was taught to keep them in bloom, something along the lines of making room for the flower stalks instead of leaves... but that would seem to me to stunt the plant's growth?

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Sounds like an ol' wifes tail! LOL! My plant blooms all year, every single day of the year no matter how bad I treat it! Why would you not want it to bloom that is what makes it so pretty!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 8:58PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

dogflower is correct: Plucking out a leaf from the center to keep a plant blooming is probably an Old Wives' Tale.

You've asked some really good questions that will help many newcomers to learn.

Blooms do not stop leaf growth so there's no need to disbud for that reason. The only time you worry is if the plant is budding like crazy and the leaves are not doing too well. This is the sick AV trying to reproduce before it dies.

They do take breaks from blooming but, depending on the variety/hybrid, those may be long or short. One of my chimera, Cool Touch, bloomed for nearly two months solid. It took a break of only about two weeks and new buds are now forming.

Personally, I love the foliage as much as the blooms; especially the variegates. I have a Wrangler's Winter Hawk (or is it "Winterhawk?" Can't remember) that I don't care if it ever blooms. Same with Wrangler's Pink Patches.

If your AVs are blooming like crazy then you are doing something right so keep it up.

On the other hand, if your Mom keeps taking crown leaves she will eventually wind up with a whoppy-jawed plant. If the leaves are preventing the buds from coming completely out you just gently lift them out.

Glad you posted and glad you're enjoying your AVs.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 10:53PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Hear, hear... it just tells me again how resilient our beloved plants are.

The stronger the plant, the heathier the leaves - more bloom it can support. But even in the best conditions the old blossoms fade and the new are still not open- so there are breaks in bloomimg when a plant takes rest. Some varieties bloom abundantly 3 times a year - go through cycle - rest - buds - a full head of blossoms - keep them for long time - they fade - start again. Some are practically all the time in bloom - but with 3-5 flowers open, the rest are developing.

There is a routine how to grow them to show - and actually the second type is more controllable, you disbud - on a schedule - and they accumulate enough energy for the Wow duringthe show. The first type does it naturally - but on its own schedule. Some year it ccoincides with the show schedule. someimes not.

Truly everblooming violets are made from plastic ;-).


PS I just thought - may be in Mama's method - traumatize he plant to make it bloom more - is the same idea why the plants with a beginning of the root rot bloom like crazy - before demise trying to set seeds. Scaring the it will bloom itself out ... I think it is not good in a long run.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 1:12PM
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I am new to this forum and to the AV as far as knowing anything about growing them but if you look at I think I titled it "Old Violet" this plants blooms every single day of the year, even when I don't water it, it has many blooms all the time it never rests. That pic is about 2 years old I think so it is even prettier now with about 1/16" shy of being 25" across from left to right of the same plant. Is is possible some verities just never stop blooming? I do agree that the old blooms die off but I have pink at all times.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 8:31PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

DF -

you have several crowns on your plant. So - probably at any given time one crown is just done, other one is in full bloom, third one is just starting.

We usually grow trailing violets in a multicrown form, and standard violets - as a single crown. It is a requirement if we want to show it at the AVSA club. Usually this way it is more esthetically pleasing, but some violets registered as standards are showing the treats of a trailer - so they look OK grown this way - and some trailers want to grow as a single crown and it is hard make them to behave as they are supposed to.

It is a show standard - and it is the rule of the game. This rule is developed with the idea that a satndard violet looks very attractive even without flowers - so you start with growing a really nice symmetrical plant, and try to make it bloom at max for the show.

If you are not showing - you are not limited in your creativity to the rules and if your very vigorous and very floriferous plant gives you joy - who really cares if it has 1 crown or 5. The only thing that eventually the stems become very elongated and bare and that's the time to reroot the crowns. Plus old soil gets depleted and needs to be replaced.

So - enjoy your pink flowers and put more leaves down so you can have more young plants to share with friends. You really lucked out on it.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 9:52PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)


Each crown on your AV is, essentially, a separate plant. That it has thrived on benign neglect is a testament to its hardiness...something not all hybrids possess. You are very lucky to have such a beautiful plant.

I agree with Irina: Because your AV has multiple crowns it appears to be blooming constantly when in reality, the crowns are cycling. Or, do they all bloom profusely all the time? If so, please post a photo.

The way to see what your AV looks like with all crowns in full bloom simultaneously you could disbud for about a month and then let them all bloom at once. But, like I said, yours is such a beautiful specimen, why fool with it? :-)

For future reference: If yours starts to get "necky" and you don't want to cut it up, you can try putting small nicks in the neck (small and shallow) and new crowns will form.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:03AM
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Kind of a related question. I seem to have some plants develop crowns waaayyy too frequently for how much I like the plant. i.e. one is enough, but I'm not that interested in growing another and my collection is full. If I just snap off the budding crown will that prevent the crown from forming permanantly or is it just going to grow right back? Do leaves ever grow from anywhere but the middle except when making new crowns?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:54AM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

This is from the Violet Barn Q&A on suckering:

"An African violet will often sucker when subjected to stress--it's a means of survival. Extreme heat, overfertilization, a toxic reaction to chemicals, and disbudding are a few of the possible causes. In each case, the plant tries to survive by vegetatively reproducing itself through suckering. In many other cases, unfortunately, this habit is genetic. These varieties will tend to crown-sucker more often than others, especially when subjected to stressful conditions."

Hi, Bill:

I looked back over your previous posts and think the above might apply. It appears your AVs have been under a lot of stress in the last few months. Just the shipping can be stressful. That's why I don't repot mine for three or four weeks...and then I just put them back in the same pot with my soil mix (3:1 perlite and Metro Mix 360 or 366).

Re: Irina's response in one of your posts on wicking (I think) was to start a sucker or two so you have plants that have "grown up" in your enviroment. I agree; a plus is these probably won't sucker.

Good luck,


BTW: Rob recommends removing the suckers the minute you see them. Unfortunately, with minis and semi-minis I can't tell the difference between the crown and the sucker crown! I'd blame it on my sight but I couldn't tell when I didn't need these goldarn reading glasses. :-)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 3:39AM
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