Immediate help is needed

masspanicFebruary 9, 2008

Hi, and thank you for looking at my post.

I don't know anything about growing african violets, but I am going to take one over to care for. It is an important plant to me because it was given to my Grandmother as a gift months before she died. Since that time, it's been kept in my house and my mother's been looking after it. After being moved a few times, and been kept "out of the way" because it didn't match the Christmas decor or whatnot, it's been sorrily neglected. It's probably in the wrong soil, a pot that's way too big for it (about 5" diameter by 6" high) and in a very dry hot house. I don't thrive too well in this house either. LOL Anyway, I noticed it was about to be thrown away because it died. The entire plant has shrunk to about 1/3 of it's size. The leaves are very limp and wilted, but I still see some green and purple in them! I think it can be brought back. From the little I read, I made sure the soil was watered and drained, and I put it in a zip lock baggy. It has not had any condensation in the bag which seems odd to me. After a week, I've not noticed any improvement. :( What does anyone think? If anyone would like to see pictures, I'll make that available. Thanks to any advice in advance.

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irina_co(z5 CO)

Hi -

it is very probable that the plant expired. Hot and dry is not the right conditions for the violet - and being moved from corner to corner is detrimental too. I think that the plant thrives when it is loved. Then you learn how to give it the most preferable conditions and the grateful well loved violet just blooms its head off.

Do not despair - if you remember how this particular plant bloomed - purchase a similar one - and you will have the one that will remind you about your beloved Grandmother. We need to hold to people, not to things - and the thriving plant is a better reminder than a dead one.

Read some info - get some books in a library - and there is a wonderful site, created by a lady Rachel Mayer who just passed away - Hope the site will hold.

Wish you luck and keep us posted. Wait some more before tossing the plant - may be there is some life left - then it will send a new shoot. Dead leaves - you can remove.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 9:54PM
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You might want to take it out of the pot and see what the root system is doing. Sometimes limp means the roots have rotted. If it is still growing in that peat as they are sold in the store, it does not drain, just absorbs and absorbs too much. Also if the roots have all dried out and died, it would be limp. Take it out, ckeck the rootball and let us know more information. If the top is green there is a chance we can help you save it.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 9:57PM
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I went ahead and took the bag off and found a mold growing on the leaves. :( The leaves are very limp and spongy, not crisp and dried out. Maybe this has a bearing. Despite being in the bag, the soil felt dry. I dug around the perimeter and found I could still feel the medium that it originally was planted in, ie: was taken out of the old pot and put into new pot without being broken up. I removed all the old leaves, the stalk is resilient, and the roots are wirey, strong, resilient, and spring back. The original medium is light, but very dry as though the water wasn't getting to it.
I'd like to try anything to see if it works.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 7:39AM
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I could never grow african violets until I used semi-hydroponics. They love it and you can't overwater. I have about 60 and haven't lost any due to watering. I tend to be an overwaterer.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 8:10AM
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Since this violet means a lot to you, I'd try taking a leaf cutting to get some babies just in case your plant does not make it. Take off a leaf (the best one you can find) to put down for babies. Wash it gently in warm water with a little mild soap and water, then rinse. Leave about an inch and a half of stem on the leaf. Plant the leaf in a little pot with some African Violet soil. Put a baggie up side down over the top of the pot to make a little greenhouse. You can secure the baggies around the pot with a rubber band. Snip the corners of the baggie to give it a little ventilation. Set the leaf cutting where it will stay warm and get a little light but no direct sunlight. This time of year the windowsill is probably going to be too cold.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 8:12AM
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golden_ca_2000(BC Canada)

alotofplants - what is semi-hydroponics?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 9:33AM
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The small roots growing toward the outside and bottom of the pot should be white. Wirey and springy sounds like dead roots. Here is my suggestion. Take off as many leaves as you feel are not going to make it (sounds like you already did this. Cut off most all of that root ball because I think it is you are cutting it away and if it keeps looking dead, then just cut all that rootball off leaving that viable stem/neck. The "neck of the plant, is all along the stem where old leaves were and newer leaves you took off...scrape this with a knife, you need to get off the outer layer, the old scabs, etc so new roots will grow out. Like scraping the bark from a branch. Repot it up to the first row of leaves, all that stem should be in dirt. Repot into a smaller pot, as that old pot is way too big for it can use a plastic dixie cup or drink cup that is not too deep and punch holes in the bottom as a pot. If you just have a short stem, use a 3oz solo cup or something of that size you can make drainage holes in. Use some better soil, av soil from the store and if you know what perlite is or can find some at the store, add some more of that into the av soil, it will help the soil drain better and not hold as much water, more air for the roots. Soil should just be DAMP, not wet. Put it in that bag and try again....don't put it in sun, it will cook. If it is able, it should start putting out new roots from the scraped areas of the neck. If it survives, come back here and let us know and we will tell you to replant it in not too big a pot and how to "wicK" water it so it is more constantly moist and not wet and won't dry out as quickly. I do this all the time to plants, cut off the neck and regrow the roots. the key is not too wet soil and scraping so new roots will grow out. Hope it works for you! I saved my favorite Cool Mint, a constant bloomer, had root root and it was limp and not much left to it after I had to cut alot away and I did just what I told you and now it is healthy and has grown lots of leaves again. And don't forget to also try and put down a couple leaves you took off to root. There are pictures and lessons at this place.. has pictures of them worst case senario restoring a violet. If I got the addy wrong, its the violet barn, lessons, restoring a violet.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 9:21AM
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Thank you all so much for the advice! Especially lilypad. Some of us beginners need to see photos, etc.
I will try that and see what happens.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 10:19AM
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Well, I don't think following up this situation is going to happen. Going to the plant this morning to follow the steps in lilypad's post, I saw that overnight, the stem had been completely covered with white mold. Well, in these beginner's hands, I don't thing anything miraculous is going to happen with this poor little plant.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 5:01PM
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I'm really sorry. I know you wanted to save the plant. At least you know you did try. Even as long as I have been growing plants, I still lose one now and then also. Take care. tish

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 10:30AM
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My grandma was important to me and plants were always important to her. She's been gone many years and I lost all the violets we shared years before that, unfortunately.

But I have violets again now. And they still remind me of her. In fact, I named the "no name" violets I got from the for her, one for her sister (who was like a grandmother to me as well), and one for my husband's grandmother, who was also gifted with plants and I loved dearly. They are not 'official' names but they work for me. I just picked the flowers and colors that reminded me the most of each of them.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 1:13PM
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