New to African Violets

dandudeguyFebruary 21, 2010

I recently bought my first AV in a small 1" container. I purposefully bought the smallest one I could find so I could see its growth more clearly as it grew.

I put it in a 4 inch pot that I had and within days one leaf turned dark purple, became very limp and shriveled up. Then another leaf. Then another.

I decided to move it into a terrarium tonight, hoping the humidity would do it good (it is especially dry here right now).

Did I water it too much? I tried to avoid touching the leaves when planting it so I do not think that did it.

Again the leaves would lose their stiff stems and become brownish purple and shrivel and die. I remove the affected leaves as soon as these signs appear but it keeps happening with the outer leaves first and working its way in.


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Take it out of its pot and check the soil for insects or mites. Use a magnifying glass, because they are likely to be small. Broad mites tend to turn leaves purple. If you have pests, report back as to which one, and we can advise on treatment.

Here is a link that might be useful: insect pests of African violets

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 10:47AM
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minimac(6 So In. Louisville Ky)

Hey dandudeguy,

You may have pests, but first, if your violet was in an one inch pot, and you transplanted it into a four inch pot - that was way too big. A violet planted in a one inch pot says to me that it was a baby violet or a miniature violet. Miniatures should never be potted in a container larger than 2 and 1/2 inches. When you transplant plants into larger pots, move them 1/2" or 1" at most into a larger pot. It's root system which is shallow and fibrous is not big enough yet to be in such a large pot. The excess dirt isn't used by the roots and it could stay too wet. The dirt you use should be of a mix at least 1 part peat-1 part perlite-1 part vermiculite. or African violet soil with 1/2 perlite (added) mixed in. These mixes are light so the roots have more aeration.

Re-pot again to smaller pot. That's an easy fix. Good luck hope it perks up.

Mac (with 30x loupe in hand to check purple leaves!)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 2:02PM
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The roots looked fine, I didnt see any pests.

But after hearing about the pot being too big.. It is currently in a terrarium which is much bigger than its other containers. But it shouldnt be overwatered because I watered it sparingly because its a terrarium. I was hoping that having more humidity and less watering would turn it around.

Should I put it in a tiny pot 1 to 2" and place that pot in the terrarium instead?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 6:10PM
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Hi Dan,
I think that most of your problems are caused by overwatering. YOu also have the plant it too large a pot. I grow all my little staraters and minis and semis in 3oz Solo bathroom cups. I also use a very light mix to pot up my plants. If you are inerested I have three sheets of info that I used to pass out to people when I went our and spoke on aV.s If you wouold like them ust email me and I will send them to you.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 9:48PM
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minimac(6 So In. Louisville Ky)


You say you "recently" bought violet, transplanted, and within days "outer" leaves turn purple,limp and shrivel. Maybe it is in shock. Sometimes they will do that after transplanting or watering with too cold water, or temperatures being too cold in your house or transporting from store. Some growers will wait week or so before they transplant so violet can get use to new environmental conditions.

Are you growing under lights or was violet near cold windowsill? Did you use water directly from tap. It could have been too cold. Let water sit for 24 hours so chlorine can dissipate and water is at room temp. or slightly heat water. Did you fertilize right after repotting? Some growers wait a bit before using very weak fertilizer.

I don't know how large or deep your terrarium is, but this is what I'd do ( and let me tell you now that I am a novice grower). I'd pot it in a solo cup 2" or less with good drainage from bottom of pot with above mentioned soil (lightly moist) then put it in a plastic baggie zip lock, that will give it humidity, and place somewhere warm. Wait several days see if it gets any better still removing wilting leaves. If you think it has already gone through too much, you could also leave in terrarium and put it in a warm place.

Hope someone else can help you out.

I just took a break - came back and Fred has also responded. Send for his literature -good advice.

Good Luck,


    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 10:22PM
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hi dandudeguy, I am also from the KC area and am sick & tired of winter. The only thing keeping me going is the blooms on my AVs. I agree with everyone about not overpotting, keeping your soiless mix light. I have ordered 3 glass bubble terrrariums from ebay (with miniature plants) but have been waiting on shipping due to weather. Keep us posted on how the terrarium works if you keep it in that. The KC area AV clubs have show/sales at Loose Park in the spring and fall... can't remember the date of the next one but they are fun!! Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 8:57AM
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