When to Pot Plantlets from Cutting

Question:  I started a leaf cutting at the beginning of the year, and exactly 10 weeks after sticking the leaf, the first plantlet appeard.  The rosette is now about the size of a quarter.  Many weeks later the cutting gave me three more plantlets, which are much smaller.  The parent (rooted) leaf isn’t shading the new plantlets as much as the older, first sibling, plantlet.  Can I remove this larger plantlet while leaving the other, much smaller, plantlets with the parent leaf?

Answer:  Yes.  You can remove the larger plantlet.  With some prodding, you should be able to remove it from the soil (if the rooting medium is as loose as it should be, this should be easy).  If not, you can carefully cut it off, leaving some roots attached.  You can then give it a pot of its own.  When the remaining plantlets get to the size you are confident handling, you can do the same for them.

Chimera African violets

QuestionWhat is a “chimera”, and why are they so much more expensive?  Are they more difficult to grow?

Answer:  A chimera is a plant, due to its genetic make-up, which can be propagated only by suckers to produce an identical (in foliage and blossom) plant.  In the violet hobby, the term usually refers to varieties having pinwheel striped blossoms.  Identical blooming plants of these varieties can on be produced when propagated by suckers.  When done by leaf cuttings, the plants produced usually will bloom without the pinwheel pattern, and in a solid color.  Because propagation by sucker is more costly in terms of time and growing space, and produces fewer plants than by leaf cutting, commercial growers pass along these additional costs in the form of higher prices.  Once successfully propagated, these varieties are no more difficult to grow than are other varieties.

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