Growing A Show Plant
with a little help from my friends
W e made it to 150 days! The Rob’s Cherry Cola babies have grown, though not as fast as I had hoped, it was time to separate the main baby from the leaf and get it into its own pot.
Since my last guest post, I needed to create a new instagram account to post the images. A new phone, an email account no longer in existence, and a lost password all combined into the unfortunate need for a new place to post the daily images. The new instagram account is; @growing_an_african_violet_cont and is where you will find the current and future daily posts. The old instagram account; @growing_an_african_violet is still available to see the images for the first months of the project.
Since the leaf had issues after putting it down, and the stem had rotted, the leaf sent roots out from the base where the stem had been attached. This caused the babies to grow from the “wound” in the leaf, which necessitated cutting the leaf to remove the plantlet, something new for me.
The items needed for the separation and potting up of the baby were gathered. I wick all my plants, so you will see the wicking cord, plastic deli container for the reservoir, perlite, potting mix ( 40% peat / 60% perlite, and the knife.
The leaf of Rob’s Cherry Cola and it’s baby ready for separation. You can see I have let the soil get pretty dry, this is to help get the potting mix off the roots.
After gently removing the soil attached to the roots, I made two cuts in the mother leaf to separate the larger baby. Wanting to keep the second baby growing for insurance, I replanted it. There weren’t very many roots attached to it, but there were enough to ensure it would keep growing.
The wick was soaked in warm water with a drop of blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid. This helps the wick to stay moist and continue to draw water into the soil. I have tried using wicks that were just wet with water, and I had significant trouble with them, so I am a firm believer that the soap does help.
Since I do wick water and there are times when my pots are in a tray and need to be watered from the bottom, I put a half inch of perlite in the bottom of the pot. This way i can put water in the tray and it will wick up without over saturating the soil (a trick learned from Annie!). The wick is then placed up the side of the pot and curved around the circumference of the pot. I like to have a lot of contact with the soil, and this configuration has worked well for me.
Next the potting mix is placed in. Keep it loose, keep it airy, never push it down. African Violet roots developed growing in loose leaf litter that gathered in cracks and crevices, it allowed loads of air to get to the roots and our mix needs to emulate that.
I used the end of the X-Acto knife to make a hole in the mix. Then gently placed the roots of the plantlet into the hole and pushed the mix back into the hole.
With the plantlet in place, I watered it in. Water to help firm the potting mix around the roots and to moisten it throughly. I water until there are a few drops running down the wick. The pot is then placed on the reservoir and filled with a weak fertilizer/water at room temperature.
Finally, the plant is placed back on the self where it can be photographed every morning. Stay tuned as this little guy grows and hopefully gets into a show!
If you would like to view the prior post, it can be found here on AllAboutAfricanViolets.com.