Question: You’ve told me that you can ship plant crowns into my country with no roots or soil. How can I successfully rot these?
Answer: For many countries, such as Russia, most in Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean, it is not possible to send potted plants. Only cuttings, or the plant crowns (the top of the violet with all roots and soil removed), can be shipped. Surprisingly, this can be quite easily and successfully done. As soon as possible after receipt, root the crown much as you would a large sucker. Fill a small pot (2″ or 2 1/2″) with soil and moisten (wet, but not soggy). Make a small “divot”, or hole, in the surface center. Drop the crown into the hole and firm the soil around it. It’s important that the crown is in the soil firmly–it doesn’t easily “pop out” when you touch it. To do this, you might need to remove a few more leaves. If you can’t, press the crown as deep into the hole as possible. So long as the very tiny center of the plant isn’t totally buried, the plant will eventually grow out. After rooting the crown, place in a clear plastic container, like a sandwich bag or deli container, seal it, and wait about four weeks before removing. You’ll then have a small (rooted) plant. We’ve shipped thousands of plants this way to our international customers with much success.
Do the same if you’d like to root suckers, especially those taken from chimeras–those that you can’t propagate true from leaf cuttings. Or, do this if you’ve divided a multi-crowned plant, and some of these crowns ended up without roots. You might also want to intentionally remove and root a crown if you have received a plant you suspect may have soil-borne problems like soil mealybug (though doing so isn’t a foolproof solution), or if you have to “restart” a plant gone so long without repotting that its neck is too long to bury.