Thrips, Mildew, Fertilizer, in winter!
Hello friendly African Violet people!
I have been reading and enjoying your posts for a while now. I have been fairly obsessed with violets for about 6 months. I have so many stories I could share, but currently am dealing with something I need help with.
I have thrips. So, I get that I have to disbud and spray, but my questions is: where (in my house) should I spray? It's winter here in NH, and I live in an apartment, and I have pets. I have a back room that can be shut off for a while, which is probably my best bet, but is that safe?
Also, a couple of my plants (and rooted leaves) have powdery mildew. Should I spray them as well? Is that safe inside?
I have Sevin and Daconil (fungicide), and was thinking about getting some neem oil.
I had gotten some terrible advice from the local african violet "expert" at my local Agway, which is so unexpected. I love their business and the people, but this woman was miserable, and told me I should stop fertilizing my plants except for a strong dose (full strength) every few weeks, which led me to overfertilize. I should have just kept doing what I was doing (1/4 strength or less, every watering). So, now I realize that not only have I been overfertilizing, but using crummy fertilizer. Ok. So, I have a few packets of Optimara fert that I can start using, and I understand that I need to leech some of my plants. Though I do top water, with a small spout, not getting water on the leaves, etc....
So, I was having these gray patches on the flowers that looked like mildew, but I guess could be Botrytis. Upon inspecting, I definitely had thrips, which I've now found of 6 or 7 plants. The thing is, I could see the yellow pollen, but there is still that patchy gray.
I also have yellow spots on the leaves. Initially, I believed this to be because of the water being too cold. I always water with warmish water now. I definitely think overfertilizing, but I just checked, and Manchester uses Chloramine! It's like the stars are aligned and don't want me to grow these plants!!! I've been letting the water sit for days, but apparently that didn't matter a bit!!
I came home today to find one of my smaller plants that has been slowly getting less healthy had two totally rotten leaves! Pretty sure that plant is dying now, so I plan to root a couple of leaves first.
If I buy a strong, blooming plant, I can keep it in bloom for months. But many of my smaller plants that I've ordered are not thriving. A couple are, but many are not. I have a new order that arrived a few weeks ago, and I'd love to see some more success with those.
I will be leeching, using better fertilizer, and filtering the water from now on, so hopefully I will see improvement soon. But, I am super concerned about the thrips, and whatever bugs I might have. I'm paranoid I have some kind of mite, but while some of my plants aren't growing a ton, they have normal looking centers. I take that as a good sign. The only visible insects are the thrips. Blech.
Any suggestions on how I should treat, realistically, in my apartment (which is large) in the winter, please let me know!!! Thanks!!!
Nice to meet you all, thanks for reading, and I look forward to talking more soon!
Picture is of Ma's Paris Affair. I bought it in September of 2013 from Rob's. Picture is from December 27th, my birthday. :)