Schedule for Disbudding for Show

Written by Nancy Robitaille

Appeared in African Violet Magazine May/June 1986

Reviewed/Edited April 2020 by Mary Thompson


How to Calculate for Disbudding.

  1. Take your target date, the show date, and using a calendar, count backwards. (Example: show date is May 29).
  2. Count backwards to find 6 weeks before show date. (April 17).
  3. Then count backwards for two more weeks (8 weeks before show date) (April 3).
  4. On April 3, stop disbudding for standards with double flowers.  Allow all buds to bloom from this time.
  5. On April 17, stop disbudding all trailer, miniatures and semiminiatures as well as standards with single blossoms. Allow all buds to bloom from this time.

Show Schedule Planner

Target Show Date: __________

12 weeks before show: __________(Date)

  1. Strip bad leaves check for suckers, disbud.
  2. Repot

10 weeks before show: __________(Date)

  1. Increase light hours – one hour per week until lights are on 15 hours per day.
  2. Dust off light tubes or replace. (Replace at night and allow new tube to be on only for a few hours since it will be very strong).
  3. Fertilizer: Switch to high phosphorus (high middle number) such as Peters 12-36-14 or Peters 5-50-17 for variegates.
  4. If plants are not disbudded, disbud completely now.
  5. Bathe plants two to three times a year especially after final disbudding for show. Dry with paper towels.
  6. Water with high phosphorous (bloom booster) fertilizer or foliar feed with products such as Superthrive.
  7. Put in new light tube on each level increasing light time to 13 hours.

9 weeks before show: __________(Date)

  1. Increase light hours to 14 hours per day.
  2. Bloom booster fertilizer (12-36-14 or 15-30-15, 5-50-17 for variegates).
  3. Disbud variegates for the last time. Future buds should be allowed to bloom.

8 weeks before show: __________(Date)

  1. Light: 15 hours per day.
  2. Bloom booster or foliar feed – Superthrive™ or other similar product.
  3. Final disbudding for doubles. Future buds should be allowed to bloom.
  4. Check for suckers. Cut off bloom stalk stubs.

6 weeks before show: __________(Date)

  1. Lights continue at 15 hours per day.
  2. Final disbudding for all singles. Allow future buds to bloom.
  3. Check for suckers.
  4. Carefully bathe each plant in very warm water. Sponge off any water trapped in the center.  Wait until plants are dry before placing under lights.

5 weeks before show: _________(Date)

  1. Lights continue at 15 hours per day. Check for centers that are tightening up and adjust light for each plant.
  2. Carefully place blooms to the top and center of the plant.
  3. Check for suckers and flower stalk stubs.
  4. Prepare design ideas and make up design kit with tools needed.

4 weeks before show: __________(Date)

  1. Lights continue at 15 hours.
  2. Fertilizer: bloom booster
  3. Make adjustments if temperature is cold and blooms are slow to come in. (Raise indoor temperature, increase light hours.)
  4. If temperature is too warm and plants are blooming too quickly, reduce light hours and reduce temperature of room.
  5. Foliar spray with bloom booster fertilizer.
  6. Brush plants and check for suckers and stubs.
  7. Should repotting be necessary, do it now.

3 weeks before show: __________(Date)

  1. Light continue at 15 hours per day.
  2. Fertilizer: bloom booster.
  3. If possible, begin to fill out papers given by AV society for the registration. When you have many plants to enter, this is time-consuming and causes stress.
  4. Check plants daily, grooming and checking for suckers, secondary leaves (those which are smaller or of a different shape under the last row of leaves.)

2 weeks before show: __________(Date)

  1. Lights continue at 15 hours per day.
  2. Fertilizer: bloom booster.
  3. Prepare boxes to carry plants.
  4. Pots should be clean. Place tape under each plant and mark plant’s name, your name, phone number or address.  This prevents loss.

1 week before show: __________(Date)

  1. Light on for 15 hours. Make adjustment according to temperature.  If plants are in full bloom, reduce light hours and reduce temperature.  If plants are not coming into full bloom, add another hour to lights and increase temperature.
  2. Brush and groom each plant.
  3. Check for suckers and flower stalk stubs.
  4. Check for possible last-minute leaf removal. Make sure you want to remove that leaf by planning bits of paper on leaves and seeing the effect if the leaf was removed. More points are taken off for a missing leaf than for a leaf that has marks.  Many points are taken off for baby leaves.
  5. If your plant has a sucker, it will be eliminated and not judged since the schedule states all plants except trailers, species and certain gesneriads must be single crowned.
  6. Check for toothpicks or any other leaf trainer.
  7. Remove any foliage support now or after transportation to show.
  8. Water with Sturdy™ which helps with the shock of transportation.

1 day before show: __________ (Date)

  1. Lights on for 15 hours.
  2. Suckers are removed.
  3. Flower and leaf stubs are carefully removed.
  4. Check that the plant shows no animal hair, dust or debris. Take makeup brush to show for last-minute culture.
  5. Wrap tinfoil around the bottom of the pot, and place it in a clean slip pot of the same size and then place it carefully in a box for transportation. Tape pots to box so movement is minimal.
  6. Place collection of papers necessary for registration in safe place.
  7. Leave packed boxes open until a few hours before transportation.

Show date: __________(Date)

  1. Arrive early
  2. This will be a stressful event, so prepare everything well in advance.
  3. As each plant is taken from the box, verify carefully for suckers and stubs, dust and debris. Water marks or other mishaps to leaves will have points taken off, usually 1/2 or 1/3 point for each mark. This will not prevent your receiving a high score.

Close of show

  1. Disbud at the show prior to bringing plants home.
  2. Pack with some care. Outside leaves may be removed to compact the plants into fewer boxes.

After the show

  1. Lights on for 10 hours per day.
  2. Unpack boxes carefully.
  3. Water with clear water to get rid of fertilizer salts.
  4. The plant room now becomes an isolation ward since plants may have been exposed to every insect and pest in the plant kingdom.
  5. Check flowers for thrips. If movement is seen when you blow especially on a dark colored flower, disbud every plant for two months.  Put up sticky yellow cards.
  6. Be prepared to treat for every known pest.
  7. Once plant room is back in order, sit back, drink a coffee and congratulate yourself on all the ribbons you won.
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