Question: I’m growing for show for the first time. If I keep my standard-size violet disbudded, but don’t pot it into a larger container, will it produce the bigger leaves that I see on some large showplants?
Answer: When a standard-size violet is continuously disbudded, it will produce larger leaves (mini and semiminiature varieties will stay small even when disbudded). Not being allowed to bloom, all of the plant’s energy goes into producing foliage. This is how experienced exhibitors grow some showplants so large. Even though these plants may not have more leaves than they would when grown as a “house” plant, the individual leaves can double or triple in size. Grown as a houseplant, most standard varieties rarely require a pot more than 4″ in diameter. Grown as a large showplant, however, shallow pots 6″ to 8″ in diameter are often used, even larger for the humongous specimens!
A larger pot is aesthetically more pleasing for these big showplants (judges can deduct points for underpotting) but, without using larger pots, are necessary to produce such large leaves to begin with. As the plant grows larger, it requires a more developed root system to support it. This means providing more soil and a larger pot. A plant will only grow as much foliage as its root system can support. When disbudded, it may want to produce larger leaves, but will only produce leaves as large as its root system will support. Therefore, both disbudding and potting into a larger container will be necessary to grow truly large plants.