Douglas asks Annie:
Q I have a plant of Double Black Cherry which is growing very well, but based on images of this plant that I find online the petioles seem very long. The plant is not reaching so I was assuming my light levels were good for it, but now I’m wondering if there is a light issue. What causes elongated petioles?
A Hi Douglas,
Great question, Douglas! Generally speaking, light levels that are too low can be a cause of elongated petioles, and sometimes plants with darker leaves that display elongated petioles need a little more light – particularly if blossom count is also low. However, there is another explanation: Some varieties simply grow in this open, “wagon wheel” style instead of in the tighter rosette formation that we are more used to. I grew this variety years ago and found it to grow in the wagon wheel style. In addition, Double Black Cherry is a variety from 1960, making it very much a vintage violet at nearly 60 years old – it could have sported over time (remember the copy of a copy of a copy discussion in Episode 3.3). However, if you look at other violets hybridized around the same timeframe, you will likely see more with the open growth habit that yours is displaying, as well as some with more unruly foliage. A more recent hybrid, Melodie Kimi (a plant from 1994 and one I would love to have back in my collection!), also grows in the wagon wheel style. Some growers don’t care for this open style – and some judges would take points off for being able to see through to the soil – but there are plenty of other growers who are very happy to be growing a beautiful vintage plant and keeping it alive for more generations. :-) You can experiment with more light, but I’m leaning toward this simpler explanation – it probably just grows this way.
I hope this helps,
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