Suckers? What do African violets have to do with suckers? Suckers are small plantlets that arise from the main plant, giving the plant multiple crowns. These little plants are identical to their parent. On March 11, we had our last African violet society meeting before the state lockdown. One of the members had cleaned up her plants that day and brought all the suckers she took off her plants. She generously shared them with the members and Ireceived two suckers. One is called ‘Brass Band’ and one ‘Beachcomber’ and below are pictures of the suckers.
The small plantlets/suckers are separated from or cut off the mother plant and at that point, they usually don’t have any roots. The plants are placed on top of a pot of moist potting medium. It is hard to see, but I made a small indentation to hold the plant.
Keep the humidity high
At this point, because they don’t have any roots, the humidity needs to be kept high so I place mine in a plastic bag. I put them on my light stand where they bask for 7 hours under LED lights every day. Putting them in the natural light would work as well, making sure the enclosed plant doesn’t get too hot.
Almost two months later
Here are those plants less than two months later. I really noticed that they had taken off last week, with new leaves. So after approximately 6 weeks they both had rooted and started growing.
To separate the suckers from each other, I have some tools I use. The “sucker plucker” is a ceramics tool that people in the African violet world use to separate the suckers. Many take the suckers off the plant when they are very tiny and so the curved end works well to “scoop” the little sucker off the mother plant. If it is a larger plant, I use a knife. I always label my plants with the date and the name, if I have it. Pencil works best. Markers seem to fade and if you use a pencil, the label can be reused. The makeup brush is used to brush the potting medium off the leaves. (I’m messy)
A plant with three crowns
I bought this violet a while ago and at that time it had one crown, but now it has three, so I decided to cut it apart. I used a sharp knife and carefully cut between the crowns of the plants. Carefully pull them apart as the leaves will be intertwined. These suckers have roots, so I will simply plant them into their own containers.
All potted up
Here are the three suckers all potted up and labeled. Don’t worry if you do break a leaf or two, because then you can make even more plants!
A mini violet with four suckers
This beautiful little African violet revealed four crowns when it was finished flowering.
This plant is small so I used the sucker plucker to “scoop” the suckers off the main plant and they were potted up individually in 2″ pots.
I watered them in well and brush off any dirt with a soft brush. If the plants have no roots, I will put them in a plastic bag to keep the humidity up until they start growing. The large plants that had roots, will be fine without being bagged.
Below are all the plants I potted up along with the two suckers that were gifted to me. Yesterday I went from two plants to 7 plants and 1 leaf put down. It was a good day! Hopefully, they all take off, and then I will be able to share some plants with others. Pass along a plant to someone this week. We could all use a little happiness and kindness right now. Stay safe!
If you want to see me splitting the suckers you can watch my You Tube video here.