Question: The lower leaves of one of my violets curl down over the rim of its pot. They seem quite healthy, not limp. The plant seems almost to push itself out of its pot at times.
Answer: It’s quite likely that the cause of this is genetic and not cultural. It’s a trait especially common among varieties with heavily ruffled or girl foliage. Many of the older varieties also had this characteristic. Fortunately, like many other undesirable traits, it has been “bred out” of most of the current hybrids. Plants with this growth habit don’t like to have excess rows of leaves. Regularly removing the outer leaves will allow the remaining foliage to grow flatter and more symmetrically.
One possible cultural cause may be excessive light. Just as leaves will “reach” toward dim light, they may move away from intense light. If growth in the plant’s center is tight and crowded, light may indeed be too intense. Once again, genetics are a contributing factor. Some varieties seem to tolerate brighter (or less bright) conditions than do others. In this case, the obvious solution is to move the plant to a location with less light.
Another solution would be using a “leaf support” or “ring”. These are collars that are attached to the pot to provide support for the leaves. By supporting the leaves, not only is appearance improved, but more surface area of the foliage is exposed to light, encouraging more vigorous growth. Most exhibitors use these supports on the showplants for this reason.