Behind the Scenes – S. petrocosmea ‘kerrii’

This is the only petrocosmea that I own, and over the years it has done really well for me. This past fall, however, it began to get cranky. More than likely this was due to inconsistent care on my part, but I also had it in a north window in my kitchen because it doesn’t care for the amount of light on my stands.

During the summer I had attempted to move it up from this 5″ pan pot to a 7″ size.

It was not happy in a larger pot, so I groomed many leaves off of it and ended up taking it down to a 3″ pot where it seemed to be OK for quite some time. It began to lose some older, lower leaves, but I didn’t think it was anything to concerned about.

Imagine my horror to see this on the 29th December:

There are a number of things that could have happened here.

  • First. I know from past experience that kerrii does NOT like to dry out, and as I was not able to be consistent with my watering schedule in the past month or two, I know this plant dried out more than one time. I threw water into the reservoir and it seemed to make a comeback – but it’s very possible that it happened one too many times and the outer leaves of the plant collapsed.
  • Second: A viewer on Facebook pointed out that the line of demarcation was right at the pot rim, and asked if something might be happening there.
  • Third: It might have gotten cold near the kitchen window.

They only way to find out which of these might have been the cause of collapse was to get it out of the pot and get the affected leaves off of it. Quickly. So, even though I wasn’t feeling well that day (I’d had a root canal a few days previous), I took kerrii apart and headed down to the potting bench. Once all the damaged leaves were off of it, I gently removed some soil from the roots and made a fresh cut on the stem to remove some of the roots and take a look. It wasn’t a healthy green. So I made another cut. And then another. And another . . .

Ding Ding Ding! We have a Winner! It was clear to me that my inability to keep the plant on a consistent watering system was the culprit.

Since I had to cut pretty far to get healthy tissue, it made the most sense to me to restart the crown. Here it is, ready to go into a domed tray.

Cross your fingers! We’ll be following this one on the podcast in the weeks and months to come.

Having a good watering system is just as important for African violets, so if you’ve not been as consistent as you might be, now is the time to get cracking! We’re past the Winter Solstice and the days are getting longer – this makes our plants want to grow! So take a look at your plants and see who might need a little more consistent care :-)