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African Violet Suckers: What Are They and Removal?

What are African Violet plant suckers?

African violet suckers are baby plants that outgrow from the stem of the mother plant. These suckers are found attached to the plant stem and not to the leaf stem. Occasionally a single plant will have multiple suckers. Any new growth which does not originate from the crown, most likely will be an African Violet sucker.

Why do you have to remove African Violet suckers?

To maintain a healthy plant it is important to remove all suckers as soon as possible. Suckers are responsible for robbing the African Violet plant from essential nutrients and slowing the growth of the plant. Suckers drain energy from the healthy crown growth (center of the plant) of the main plant. Suckering also leads to less flowering, again due to the plant energy being diverted towards sucker growth. Finally suckers are responsible for ruining the symmetry of the African Violet plant and creating distortions in the rosetta leaf pattern of the plant.

Where can African Violet plant suckers be found?

Suckers are attached to the stem of the main African Violet plant. Suckers can also look like tiny leaf outgrowths from the axils of the leaf (the area between /around were the plant stem and leaf meet). The sucker offshoots can grow into new individual plants or develop crown growth if not removed in a timely manner.

What do African Violet plant suckers look like?

African Violet suckers look like a small baby plant, i.e. two to three tiny leaf outgrowths from the side of the stem, not from the center (crown) of the plant. Over time they grow into bigger mature leaf sets and can be easily spotted between the leaf stems. As suckers grow larger they begin to develop their own crown and rosetta pattern in addition to the main crown of the plant.

Why do African Violet plants sucker?

As with any other living organism the production of progeny/new plant growth or suckering is a means of survival for the plant. Usually when a plant is stressed, it responds by suckering to ensure its future survival. Many times, when a plant experiences extreme changes in its environment (temperature, fertilizer, water or soil) they react to this change by producing suckers. 

How to prevent African Violets from suckering?

Ensure basic routine care of African Violets to prevent suckering. Keep the plants watered, fertilized and repotted in fresh soil and suckers will not form. Many times, if the suckers are continually removed from the plant, this will also prevent future suckering. Routine grooming of the African Violet plant can ensure that it maintains good crown growth and breaks the habit of suckering.

How to remove African Violet suckers?

African Violet suckers can be removed using a “ sucker plucker “ tool or a similar sharp blade, pencil or sharp tool which can be used to pluck or scrape the sucker off from the stem. Apply some pressure and remove all the small leaves / parts of the sucker from the stem of the mother plant. If the sucker is large, then you can scoop up the whole sucker crown using the sharp tool and re-pot the sucker to create a new plant.

Re-potting African Violet plant suckers?

Once you have removed the large sucker from the mother plant, it can be re-potted in a small 2oz pot filled with potting mix. The pot can be placed in a small Ziploc bag or under a humidity dome and allowed to form roots. The sucker will eventually in 4-6 months grow into a similar plant as the mother plant.

Is it time to replace the suckering African Violet plant?

Routine inspection and removal of suckers from the African Violet plant prone to suckering will deter the plant from producing future suckers.  However, if an African Violet plant is neglected for a long time and large multiple suckers have formed similar to the size of the main crown of the plant, it is best to get rid of the plant and replace with a new African plant.