Question about leaves that are rotting

Mary246February 14, 2014

I have a problem with an african violet that gets a brown, mushy leaf each time I water. I have repotted it with 1:1:1 mixture and I have started top watering instead of bottom watering. I checked the website for our water system and they say they use chlorine and there is no mention of chloramine. Should I just start this plant over with a leaf cutting? Any other ideas?
Thank you

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Top or bottom watering really makes no difference to your violet. Either way is fine. That said, mushy is a sign of too much water at some point. It sounds as though your violet has some root problems or a fungal disease, both of which can be caused by too much or improper watering, as in swamp to desert conditions. Since rots are difficult to deal with, I would start a few leaves and get a healthy plant instead of trying to nurse a sick one.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 11:08PM
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Thank you for your advice. I will get new leaves started. I did a search here on the forum but didn't figure out what to search for. Then last night I typed in "mushy" and I found more advice. I'm pretty sure the problem is I bought them at Lowes or HyVee....and they had NO perlite in the soil. So I never could get the watering right. I have really enjoyed reading posts on this forum. Thank you all that have contributed. Mary

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 11:50AM
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Many of us repot the ones from Lowes because that is a very heavy soil they use and it absorbs a great deal of water.

Even though I repotted one, it still lost a few leaves. It had been in a 6" pot and I put it in a 5" so it was stressed. Lowes also had them all sitting in puddles of water too. It had a strong root system so I didn't remove as much of their mix as usual and I still have to watch it so it doesn't get too soggy.

Some folks wash all the soil off a plant from a "big box store" but I haven't done that. I've never actually gotten any pests from my Lowe's but I do isolate the plants.anyway.

This was the first time I ever bought a 6" one. The 4" one really came through in better condition.

So, in short - watch that soggy soil. It helps to lift the pot and learn to judge the weight.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 12:02PM
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Hi Mary, I suggest you let the chlorine avaporste by letting your water sit in an open container for 24 hours.
Diana, Just as a point of interest, a local violet friend told me that Calif wants to grow their own, they don't usually allow plants from other states. Yet, there is a concern about a western thrip. Go figure! By the way, one of the growers I ordered from put Agricultural disclosure sticker on the shipment box, and charged $2 for the sticker. The sticker said there were no known pests or diseases. But others on this forum have complained about getting a disease from that grower. They sent mislabeled plants I did not order. I won't order again from them because the post office is entitled to open the box and confiscate the plants. I had not known that at the time. Jo

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 2:05PM
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As quimoi noted, violets from big box stores and groceries are potted in very heavy soil. Those who buy assume the soil is good for growing since the violets obviously come from a commercial grower. The soil, however, is good for packing and shipping,( not growing), which is the wholesalers main concern.
Re-pot into a light soil. I would be very careful about washing soil from the roots as the tiny feeder roots are fragile and easily damaged. I would not be concerned about a bit of old soil clinging to the roots.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 12:40AM
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Thank you for making me feel better about not stressing my plants by taking off all the soil. I think the person who mentioned that had gotten soil mealies somewhere (I don't think it was from a big box store) and that's why she does it. I have spring water so do not currently worry about additives and forget that issue.

I suppose someone can grow in that heavy soil. I just hefted O. Pennsylvania, which was the 6" one, now 5". It feels much lighter today so I will water it. This one did lose several leaves during isolation too, either because of the repotting stress or the fact that it started out waterlogged.

I have no known pests or diseases on my plants either ;). I suppose they have to pay for the state to inspect them. I'm certainly not familiar with all states' programs, but most states are running with very lean budgets and I wonder how often they really make it to a greenhouse. I have some familiarity with PA Agriculture in some other departments. They are simply spread very thin.

Inspection is a good thing but I don't put too much stock in it. I wonder how often a inspector checks any grower and how carefully they look for problems.

As to thrips (which were and I hope remain a new thing to me). One is a thrips and a dozen is 12 thrips. Its always plural. I thought since they were Western that I might be immune but was told not. Still, I've never seen one. (knock on wood).


    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:30AM
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Insect names are arbitrary. The 'Western' in Western thrips does not mean it is confined to the West. It could be where they were first seen, identified, the name of the one who discovered them, anything. An example- one of the mites that attack violets is called Cyclamen mite. It attacks Cyclamen as well as several other genera.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 1:11AM
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Yes, that is what I was informed about "Western" thrips. Cyclamen mites have been known as long as I've been growing so I'll hazard that they may have been first identified on cyclamen.

Edit: I looked this up and cyclamen mites were first identiified on chrysanthemums in 1898. Apparently they were widely spread by infested cyclamen corms being shipped by commercial growers. (I thought I posted this last night so I hope I have it right now.)


This post was edited by quimoi on Tue, Feb 18, 14 at 10:16

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 10:16AM
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That is a relief, I thought it referred to a California thrips.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 3:55AM
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