Monday, February 26, 2024

Remedies for suckers

Question:  What’s the best remedy for suckers?

Answer:  A simple question with a simple answer–blooming!  A sucker, of course, is an extra growing point (crown), usually appearing as a pair (or pairs) or leaves within the leaf axils beneath the original growing point in the uppermost, center of the plant.  Unless this is a trailing variety, on which extra crowns should be encouraged, or a species violet, which you can choose to grow multiple crowned, these suckers should be removed at first sight.  Allowing them to develop not only distorts the symmetry of the plant, but will also delay and/or discourage production of buds and blooms.

Your violet produces suckers as a means of reproducing itself.  If unchecked, those suckers will eventually grow into entirely new plants, leaving you with a multiple-crowned plant that will then need dividing.  True, it may continue to sporadically bloom, but it will bloom much more if not allowed to sucker.  Why?  By not allowing your plant to reproduce vegetatively, it must try to reproduce itself sexually by flowering.  It will bloom earlier and more, if not allowed to sucker.  In our experience, varieties that seem to sucker the most when young also seem to bloom the most once suckers are removed.  ‘Rob’s Jitterbug’, is an excellent example.  It is a terrific propagator, producing lots of plants, very quickly, from a rooted leaf.  Once potted, it grows quickly–and produces lots of suckers!  Once they are removed, however, it will produce lots and lots of bloom, continuously, without producing another sucker.  It doesn’t need to, since it’s much too busy blooming!  The moral?  Suckering can be a good thing, so long as they are removed in a timely way.  It’s evidence of a vigorous plant with a strong survival instinct.  You only need to tell it how!

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