Question: I have a couple of violets that always seem to get extra sets of leaves growing from the center of the plant. Eventually, I have to divide these plants when they get bigger but the problem will reappear. What can I do?
Answer: Unfortunately, “double crowning” (suckering in the plant center) is a genetic condition that won’t simply go away by removing the additional center growth or dividing plants. If this has happened more than once with the same plant, it will likely continue to happen. Stress also is a factor, since plants subjected to more of it are more likely to double crown or sucker. Excessive heat, light , or neglect in watering or potting can all lead to excessive suckering and double-crowns. Disbudding can also be a factor, since many plants don’t seem to do this unless grown for show and disbudded.
The only real solution is to not grow these varieties, or at least not to propagate using these plants. If others grow the same variety without having this problem, you might try to acquire a plant propagated from them. They may have a different genetic “strain” of that variety that is less likely to double-crown. We’ve had some older varieties that have developed this problem, and will propagate them, select those plants that grow the best, then propagate only from those, and so on. If we’re lucky, we can eliminated the problem, given enough time.