Can this violet be saved?

dylanangel2001February 15, 2010

This is a violet my mom has had since my wedding 3 years ago, and it's not doing well at all. I have taken charge of it, but since I'm a beginner I'm having problems diagnosing it. Can I get some help of what to do? Thank you!

P.S. - Here are some links to pics in my fotki album.

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It certainly looks like it can be saved to me. First I would remove any dead or dying material from the plant. I would repot the plant into a 4" pot using a 1-1-1 mix of perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss. Then water using a light fertilizer like Optimara African Violet fertilizer. Give it time and it should come back. Others might give you some somewhat different advice.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 2:40PM
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I would put a leaf down in some slightly damp soil and put in in a baggie, just to be on the safe side. If the mother plant makes it, then you can give the new baby plant to your mother.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 3:33PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

D -

I would go with Snappy's advice - just much smaller pot.
I would use the mix Snappy recommended for sure - or get some African Violet mix - and split it in half with perlite.

What I will do - shuck your plant out of the pot, accurately remove most of the soil - trying to preserve roots - and pot it in a humid new soil - in a 2,5" pot - or take a Dannon yoghurt cup, make a hole in a bottom. Pot it, bag it and when it perks up - start using a weak solution of AV fertilizer - Optimara, Peters - just keep the solution at 1/4 teaspoon per gallon. You need to have your soil humid - but not wet. On your pics - it is just plain dry. You water your plant - and then 15 min. later - splash the unabsorbed water out from the saucer.

I am looking at your leaves - and they are so weak and pale - I do not think they will root- as Carol suggested.
Did you give your plant enough light? It should be on the east or west window light wise.

Good Luck.
If your Mom kept it going for so many years - it is definitely a family treasure and worth saving


    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 7:06PM
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minimac(6 So In. Louisville Ky)

Hello dylanangel,

I'm not sure, but it looks like your plant may have root rot. (crown rot). This happens usually when we water too much or it gets stressed from not watering then we water too much and from being in pots that are too big, and also when we plant in too heavy soil, or combination of all the above.

Put a healthy leaf down just as carol222 suggested. (Just in case) Pull off unhealthy collapsed leaves and debris. Dump the plant out of the pot (looks like at one time it had more than one crown.) Cut away dirt and roots from other crown, so you are working with whats left of the 'good' part. Inspect the roots of the part you're trying save. If they are dead, brown or mushy, remove. Inspect the neck ( the big stem of of plant. Scrape decay away from stem and see if it is still green. If you have some healthy roots and neck seems firm - repot. I'd go much smaller than even 4" pot. You have taken off leaves and roots, you are potting down. I'd plant in 2 1/2" - No larger than 3" pot. Plant with the 1-1-1-mix like snappyguy said. Make it lightly moist. Then put the whole thing into a baggie. This will give your plant enough humidity to survive and develop new roots. I would wait to fertilize. In a couple weeks if it perks up open baggie for day or two to let it acclimate, then take out and lightly water. The next time it needs water then fertilize.

You could also do same as above except after you inspect the stem slice all the roots off and some of the stem. You will be left with small stub of stem with remaining leaves. Pot that in your moist soil less light mix then bag it. Leave in baggie for a month and it will grow new roots.

Oh, and while you are checking out those roots, look for white webbing from soil mealy bugs. Mealy bugs look like small white grains of rice. But, we won't go there unless we have to.

Any way this is just what I'd try and do. More experienced growers will be here to help you out.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 7:09PM
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Well here's what happened. I got it home and started getting rid of the extra soil, so I could inspect the roots. The "crown" (I'm guessing that's what it was or what was left anyways) separated from the bottom with the roots. It was barely attached at all rot maybe? So I potted the crown and then took the roots and potted them in another pot. Although the roots did look kinda rust brown colored. I put a plastic baggie over both. Hopefully one of them will survive.

I really don't know how my Mom had been taking care of it. So that's a mystery...she doesn't pay attention to those things like I do unfortunately. Probably a mixture of under/over-watering.

Thanks for the tips. I'll let you know if she makes it. *crosses fingers*

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 9:32AM
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Hopefully when you repotted it you used a very light soil mix and not just the HD bag of African Violet mix. It's much too heavy and has to be ammended with equal parts of vermicultie and perlite (preferably coarse). I would have removed any dead debris and put it into a plastic solo bathroom cup.
After doing this I would put the entire plant and pot into a plastic zip lock baggie and put it in a bright but not sunny location. Direct sun will cook the leaves. Check the plant every week to make sure it is not dry and in a month the plant should have developed roots and begin to grow.
Fred in NJ

Here is a link that might be useful: Ness' Opreration Orange Pekoe

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 1:52PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Hear, hear -

the rotten rootball part - you can trash.
The top - just as Fred recommends - you need to cut off all the rotting infected tissue - to the clean one - use fresh blade for the last cut - like dip it in alcohol to kill the infection.

We all lost violets in a very beginning, there is a learning curve. If you still remember how Mom's violet looked like - you can get a baby of a similar one - and grow it to perfection.

Sometimes the plant is so weak - no matter what you do - it just doesn't have energy to survive.

So - was it pink or blue or white? Or may be red with white edge? Or raspberry with blue streaks?

Just so many gorgeous varieties..


    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 6:04PM
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