What's a sucker and how do I remove it?

BuffaloViolets(z5 NY)January 1, 2013

A sucker is a baby African violet that grows on the stem of the mother plant. Occasionally, the sucker will grow on the portion of the stem under the soil and look like a baby plant coming up through the soil. Your plant may have more than one sucker on it. Like flowers, suckers are one of the ways African violets reproduce.

It's important to remove suckers. First, they distort the symmetry of the plant. Second, they drain energy from the mother plant and she will flower less frequently.

To remove a sucker, take a sharp knife, pencil or other object and "pop" the sucker off the mother plant by applying some pressure and digging into the stem a little bit. Make sure to get all of it.

If the sucker is large enough, you can put it in your potting mix and put it under a dome or in a plastic bag until it forms roots. Applying some rooting hormone will help.

Sometimes growers want suckers on their African violets. Some varieties, such as chimeras, cannot be reproduced by rooting a leaf. Chimeras can only be reproduced from suckers or by rooting the bloom stalk (which is no easy task)!

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