Curling leaves

i_dig_it(z5a - Illinois)February 12, 2012

The leaves on my AV have started curling under and I'm wondering if anyone might know what the problem could be.

It currently has a single bloom on it, but I don't want to loose this plant.

The stem has also become somewhat woody and it's starting to grow or tilt to one side. Any help or ideas would be appreciated.

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bunnycat(z6 NY)

Posting a picture would help. If the stem is "woody" I'm guessing you've had your violet for a while? Has the potting mix been changed recently? Maybe the soil has compacted, has too much of a mineral buildup? Maybe the pot is too big, holding too much water too long (needs perlite)? Too close to a cold window? A picture is worth a thousand words!
(PS... welcome fellow hostaholic!)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 9:20AM
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i_dig_it(z5a - Illinois)

Hi bunnycat! I remember you from the Hosta forum :)

Just a follow up on my AV. I did some reading at the Violet Barn website and decided to try transplanting my AV.
I trimmed off some of the curling leaves and scrapped the curled woody stem and then planted it deep enough to cover it. I actually went down in pot size to a 3" pot.
In my opinion, it looks better already. BUT I'm scared that it won't root and I'll lose it. It currently has a couple of buds/blooms on it too.

The soil was slightly moist when I planted it and I didn't water it any further. I have a plastic zip bag over it, but do I need to water it at all? And when?
The soil I used wasn't AV soil, it is just the mixture I use with my other potted plants. It's has alot of pine bark mulch fines in it and it drains really well. Is this ok for AV's?

I need batteries in my camera, but I'll try to get some pics soon and post them. Any other advice or comments?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 12:37PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

If you keep your soil slightly moist, it would be perfect.
The soil full of bark is not ideal - it is great that it drains well - but bark IMHO will start deteriorating while wet - and it will strt changing Ph to acidity and it will eat all the nitrogen from the soil. So- you need to repot your violet in something more appropriate in several months. Store bought AV soil with 1/3 perlite added will do the work. The best recipe is called "basic Cornell mix" and consists of 1:1:1 PEAT PERLITE VERMICULITE. Since it is a soilless mix - the constant fertilization with a weak solution is recommended to keep your plant fed. 1 blossom is not enough, you should have your plant blooming 10 months out of the year.

Good Luck


PS I think Bunnycat nailed the cause.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 2:00PM
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i_dig_it(z5a - Illinois)

I'd love it if my AV bloomed 10 months out of the year. I think it has only ever bloomed about twice a year.
Anyway, I did get some pictures, just so you can see how it looks now...

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 4:02PM
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i_dig_it(z5a - Illinois)

Where do you suppose I could get the mixture of Peat/Perlite/Vermiculite?
This is the only AV I have, so I really don't want to buy bags of each just to make about a cupful. I wonder if I went to a flower shop, if they would sell me a small bag of it already mixed? I'll have to check around.

This plant is special to me because it was my Mom's plant. She loved AV's and had several, but when she fell ill, my Dad didn't take care of them and they all died....except this one. When I found it, it was a gray sickly looking thing with about three leaves. I brought it home and repotted it and was glad when it started growing new leaves and bloomed. Even if it was only twice a year ;-)
My Mom and Dad are both gone now.
That has been about 3 years ago now, so you can see why I am so attached to this little plant. :-)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 4:15PM
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bunnycat(z6 NY)

Since spring is on the way, maybe you can find a nearby garden show with an AV vendor. Or contact your local AV society to see if they will sell you a small bag of soiless mix. They will likely encourage you to join them, and then you will buy more AVs and NEED big bags of perlite, vermiculite and peat.

Your Mom's violet is very pretty...looks like it has "girl" leaves ...a personal favorite :o)

It is easier to gauge the amount of water in your violet if it is in a plastic pot. A ceramic pot is so heavy that it is really difficult to tell if the plant is soggy or dry. The top dries out first, and you can't tell what's going on below. I have all of my violets in plastics pots that sit in pretty china pots and cachepots. Then I slip them out when it is time to water and set them in shallow plastic dishes (chinese take-out)to water. I do love the look of china, but found the single drainage holes were apt to get clogged. So, I use of both worlds!

You may have some friends who use perlite and vermiculite to lighten the mix in their potted annuals. (I like perlite in my potted hostas because it doesn't break down.)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 6:11PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

HELLO- - i_dig_it -

I get my mix at - because they are 5 miles from my house. has a bit heavier but also a very good mix. You just need a minimum size bag from them.

Right now - I would recommend you to use a very sensitive and important tool - your finger - stick it in the soil - and if you do not feel that the the soil is dry - do not water it. You can get a fish emulsion fertilizer to start with - make a half strength solution - and water until it runs out - and then splash out all the water that is not absorbed _ all my splash goes into a large big peace lily pot and this thing is blooming and shedding pollen all over the place - I guess it likes leftovers.

Good Luck


    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 2:52PM
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i_dig_it(z5a - Illinois)

Well, so far so good. My little AV seems to be doing ok. At least it's not wilting or shriveling. I replaced the zip bag with a 'dome' cut from a 2 liter bottle bottom. It seems to really help hold the moisture in, as the soil is still moist feeling.
I used to fertilize it with an all purpose plant food liquid that I mixed in with water. I have to say though, that I wasn't very consistent in doing so. I'm going to look for fish emulsion and give that a try. How often should it be fertilized?

Thanks for all the tips and ideas, I really appreciate the help :)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 4:40PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)


At that point - your soil is unknown thing - because usually in ready mixes some amount of fertilizer is present. It usually runs out in 3-4 months. So - you can be economical on fertilizer for some time.

I use Dynagro 1/4 of teaspon per gallon each watering. Or Plant Marvel no urea 1/8 of a teaspoon.

Fish emulsion is a weak nitrogen fertilizer with bunch of microelemnts and you can use 1/2 of the strength off the label - every so often. Eventually you wil get your new soil, repot your plant into different pot and will be fertilizing weekly weakly.

Right now - the main thing it needs - to keep it from drowning - so just be accurate with watering. I would put a leaf down just in case. This plant has a special value for you - so no matter what = you will have babies off your Mother's plant.

The know-how site that describes how to proceed is


    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 8:54PM
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You should take a leaf cutting from your AV and start some babies just in case. Where are you at in Illinois? I am in Peoria. If you are nearby I can give you some 1:1:1 mix. I just bought a bag of vermiculite today and I always buy peat and perlite by the bale for potting up hosta.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 9:00PM
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i_dig_it(z5a - Illinois)

Thanks franknjim for the offer. I'm about 60 miles to the north near Ottawa, I appreciate the offer though :)

I did think about trying a leaf cutting. My only problem is, I don't have anywhere to keep them where they'll be safe.
You see, I have cats and so houseplants are out for me. My cats find them anywhere I try to put them and destroy them. This little AV I have in a hanging basket in a window they can't get at and that's about the only safe place here :/

That's why I get my gardening fix outside in my gardens growing hosta and other perennials. I've often thought about setting up a small growing table in the basement with grow lights, because I'd love to be able to start some of my own garden plants too. But that's a project I never seem to do.

Again thanks for your offer.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 12:30PM
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bunnycat(z6 NY)

The cats will know as soon as you set up in the basement. They will ghost past you somehow, and nibble away. I have bads cats, too. As much as I love my AVs, I love the kitties more, wouldn't be without them or punish them, so I am resigned to not playing perfect defense.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 2:25PM
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I have five giant dogs (700 lbs total), two cats, two parrots and a snake. My plant areas are off limits to all of them unless I am in the room and they are behaving.

There is a way to have a plant/plants on a shelf with kittehs around. You can also keep them out of a room this way. Use a Scat Mat on the shelf or across the floor in a doorway. It gives off a slight low powered shock that animals do not like. They only have to feel it once and they will never step on the mat again. You don't even have to have the 9volt battery in it once they know what it does. They come in many sizes and are sold by most chain pet stores.

If you can keep your AV going until it warms up a little, if you would like to, I will trade you a named hosta of your choice from all of the extras I have(many)for a couple of leaves from your AV. I will propagate it for you and give you back plants from it. I don't want you to lose your plant beacuse of what it means to you.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 2:44PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Hmmm - my cat is from Chicago - and I was told that he will destroy my inside plants - he was given the free run - and the only problem - he leaves his cat hair on everything.

May be sprinkle the shelf with coyote urine granules concoction that is sold to repel the critters from the yard?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 3:30PM
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i_dig_it(z5a - Illinois)

Frank, we'll see how the plant does and I might take you up on that offer.
Not that I need any more hosta either, but once things start coming up in the garden, I'm sure I'll be able to find a spot for one more.
I looked at the pics of your set up and WoW!
Maybe in a few years I'll be coming to buy plants from you instead of Hornbakers, lol.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 4:01PM
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I love to share and am always giving lots of them away to friends, neighbors and even strangers. I have a serious propagation addiction and will turn a 4" perennial into hundreds of plants even when I don't need them. I do try not to do it but I don't always make it. I spot a stray seedling 1/2" tall from 10' away and I throw it in a pot. I have so many things in pots that I will never use and many things I need to dig up and get rid of.

Something else you might consider for anti-cat plant protection is one of those little wire shelving units that Lowes sells in the garden department that has the plastic greenhouse cover. If the bottom could be made cat proof it might work. They are 28" wide x 18" deep x 64" tall and only $40.00. The front of it is zippered to close it up. I put a link in the picture to Lowes webpage for it.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 5:09PM
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