Thursday, July 18, 2024

Leaves smaller after repotting

Question:  After repotting, some of my miniature violets will begin to grow smaller than normal leaves in the plant’s center.  Any explanation?

Answer:  We find that this is sometimes the case with some of the heavier blooming varieties.  To start with, prolonged, heavy, blooming seems to divert the plant’s energies away from foliage growth.  This is especially a problem when heavy bloom is concentrated over the center of the plant–there just isn’t enough light or room for new growth to fully develop.  This is true for both minis (semiminis) and standards.  This is one reason that “showplants” are disbudded–to promote foliage growth.

This can be a problem following repotting, particularly if done while the plant is in heavy bloom (which was true for this grower).  Having pruned away a portion of the root ball, the plant now has to maintain a head of bloom with a smaller root system.  The consequence is that new foliage development suffers.  For miniature varieties, where the head of bloom is large, relative to the size of the plant, this seems more likely to occur.  Our answer is to remove all bloom when repotting, for any size variety (we do leave the smaller buds).  This allows the plant to reestablish its root system and grow some new foliage before it needs to support much bloom.  Those small buds that remain will become blossoms soon enough.

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