What's Wrong with my African Violet?

JZK100January 13, 2013

I've had this "Original" African violet since May, 2012. It was doing fine throughout the summer, though it didn't bloom. I brought it to my dorm in September and placed it in the window (facing East). Its health has been declining ever since.

I first noticed that the leaves were branching out and sticking up, rather than staying bushy, like African Violets should look. At first, I thought it was because it wasn't getting the nutrients it needed, so I bought some African Violet plant food and started feeding it the instructed amount in each watering.

When that didn't change anything, I googled it, and found that perhaps it wasn't getting enough sunlight. I tried moving it closer to the window, but when the leaves began to turn brown, I figured it must be getting too MUCH sunlight and moved it closer to my desk, in the shade.

It didn't get any worse, but it stayed persistently lanky, and just generally unhealthy-looking. A couple of the leaves fell off, as well, and the newly-broken stem tips turned black.

So, over my winter break, I brought it home with me and placed it near our South-facing window in hopes that perhaps some constant (though indirect) sunlight may help it.

It, in fact, made it worse. Now, the leaves are starting to turn white, starting from the edges and going in towards the stem.

I currently have it sitting further away from the window, and am watering it (with plant food) whenever it seems to get dry. It's not getting any better.

I have no idea what's going on, nor how to fix it. I don't know how it happened, but I'm getting increasingly attached to this plant (affectionately named "Dormie"). Is there anything I can do to save it?

Any help is appreciated, thank you!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
taxonomist3

For some reason the picture isn't showing up. I think this may be a matter of too cold, too big of a pot, too little light, along with perhaps chemical burn when it was fed, but it would be much more helpful if we could see exactly what's wrong with it.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 6:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
seaj

Plants also need time to gradually adjust to higher light levels, or else they get burned.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 12:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
JZK100

Hrm, let's try this again...
Thank you for your input, by the way. It's probably a mixture of all those things.
The plant itself has gotten a LOT smaller since it was first re-potted; should I put it in a smaller pot for now?

Believe it or not, it's actually gotten better, I think. The leaves are starting to turn green again, which I assume is a good thing. And it's still growing the little baby leaves in the center of the plant (and they're a healthy green, too).

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
irina_co(z5 CO)

Your Dormie is severely overpotted, you need the pot no more than 1/2 diameter you have now. The soil is way too heavy - needs at least 1/2 of perlite in it.

There is a site you can pick all the know-how you need - it is rachesreflections.org

Good Luck to you and Dormie!

Irina

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
JZK100

Okay! I'll put it in a smaller pot asap. As for the soil, I'm using African Violet soil...I bought it special. Is it not the right thing?

Thanks so much for your help!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 4:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
irina_co(z5 CO)

African Violet soil is mostly peat (the cheapest ingredient) - but if you add at least 1/3 of perlite to the volume - it works. Try to get larger grain perlite.

I.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 7:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
JZK100

Will do! Thanks so much for your help!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 7:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
perle_de_or(Zone 7)

I use the Miracle Grow AV soil and add an equal part of perlite. It works very well. I hope you can get your plant back to health. I would take off the broken stems.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 1:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
JZK100

Just for starters, thank you all so much for your help. It's nice to know there are people out there who know what they're doing (because I certainly don't).

Just an update: I repotted Dormie (a 3" soda bottle remnant is all I have to use, at the moment) and cut off the broken stems, unfortunately leaving it looking a bit scrawny. I haven't been able to get perlite yet, but I should be able to soon.

I don't know, do you think I should keep trying? I don't want to just leave it to die, but it'd probably be good to know what its chances of survival are.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 8:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dognapper2(5)

It looks like you may have too much dirt around the center crown of the plant. You don't want to bury the tiny new leaves in the center.
Go easy with the water!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 3:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
JZK100

Oh jeeze, I hadn't even realized I buried the little guys. And will do; should I let it dry out a little bit? I didn't notice any root-rot when I replanted it, but I'm not sure how to water African Violets (other than to water them from the bottom, and to not water the leaves).

Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 12:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vickikim(6b)

Don't give up yet.! Every plant is a little sensitive. I suggest that you look up some websites for African Violets. There is a LOT of info out there. I looked at your picture and it looks like you have it planted too deep also. I only water when the soil feels and I always add a little food. I only water from the bottom also. I suggest that you ry to get a small plastic pot from walmart,Like the original one it came in. Keep posting! Good Luck!!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vickikim(6b)

Don't give up yet.! Every plant is a little sensitive. I suggest that you look up some websites for African Violets. There is a LOT of info out there. I looked at your picture and it looks like you have it planted too deep also. I only water when the soil feels and I always add a little food. I only water from the bottom also. I suggest that you ry to get a small plastic pot from walmart,Like the original one it came in. Keep posting! Good Luck!!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:51PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Optimara Rita
Looking for Optimara Rita AV leaves. Would love to...
carolyn18810
What is happening to my African Violet leaves?
The edges are getting pale and brown and drying up....
louder92
Thanks for helpful hints
Just a note to let you all know that while researching...
michellervt
When will the leaf cuttings send out new growth?
I potted up 4 leafs in 4 small pots. Actually they...
tlbean2004
spreading your wings to other AV groups
Here is a link.There are also other groups as well. http://z15.invisionfree.com/Violet_Reflections/index.php?act=idx...
fortyseven_gw
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™