Learn About African Violets

Question: What is meant when African violet growers talk about a crown?  What is an African violet wasp? (click here)

Answer: A crown is a center of growth with all the leaves originating from that center radiating out like spokes on a wheel. When a violet is grown as a 'single-crown', all of the leaves on the plant will radiate from a center where small new leaves are just developing. This is considered the ideal form for a standard African violet. Sometimes suckers (side shoot growth) will form on the main stem of a violet between the leaves- this is also a crown since it is a center of growth. If the sucker is allowed to grow and develop, it will soon become very similar in size to the original crown. This is not very desirable, as violets rarely bloom well and cannot grow neatly when there are two or more crowns in the pot. The exception to this is a type of violets known as trailers. Trailers naturally have multiple crowns that bloom freely, and they have longer leaf axils (the space between leaves) that allow trailers to develop a lovely mounded form. A 'wasp' is a rare blossom form in which the lobes of the flowers are narrowed into what look like separate petals, each with a narrow base that broadens at the tip. The effect is like that of a wasp's body shape. Two breeders, Jimmy Dates and David Senk, have worked extensively to develop this unusual blossom trait. More examples of violets with wasp blossoms can be found in the AVSA software program called First Class, available for sale at  or by calling the AVSA office. This searchable data base lists all of the African violets in the AVSA registry and is a great tool. Happy Growing! Joyce Stork

 Much of the information here in Violets 101 was originally published in the African Violet MagazineJoin AVSA to receive the magazine with much more in-depth information.

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