Violets growing weird

gardencats2(8)April 12, 2014

Can anyone tell me why my violets are growing this way? The leaves keep dying on the lower area then I'm stuck with it looking like this ugly mess. I've had african violets for over 20 years and never had this problem until we moved to this house about 5 years ago. Slowly over time more and more of my vioets are looking like this. For the most part I have self watering pots and start them like you see here with a wick to pull up the water. I'm wondering if that is the problem. In years past I had very few self watering pots and I mostly watered from above.

I used to really like aftrican violets but I'm slowly throwing them out because they look so ugly and they don't bloom as much as they used to when we lived in a warmer/dryer climate. I"m in Oregon where it rains the majority of the time.

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Mary246

Do you use extra perlite? I don't see any in your soil.
I had some trouble with the outer ring of the leaves on my violets rotting last January and I believe most of the trouble was cleared up when I repotted the violets with 1 part av soil, 1 part or tad more of perlite and 1/2 part vermiculite. But, I am not an expert on AV. And, I had, had those violets for a couple years but had never repotted them. I am learning so much from this forum.
Mary

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 5:15PM
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gardencats2(8)

They are in african violet soil purchased at the store. I've always used this soil.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 8:20PM
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philpet

I think you need to restart them,cut the top right at the soil level, scrape the necks gently to expose the green underneath the brown scab,repot in smaller pots and add lots of perlite for a lighter soil,African violets don't like heavy soil,it rots the roots because it keeps them too wet,they like air.you should try to monitor your African violets to prevent them growing such long necks,also they like to be repotted every six to twelve months,this gives them fresh soil and helps them to absorb nutrients.you should also be giving them fertilizers made especially for them.i am not an expert but I have learnt all I know from this forum,everyone here is really helpful,you could also read previous post here and learn all you need to know to take care of your Av.you can also type in on google ' how to rejuvenate an African violet' and you will see videos on how to do it.but the experts here will advise you.Velleta

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 8:29PM
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Mary246

I suggest that you do a search on "Rot" or Rotting or Rot Leaves. You will read many times that av soil purchased at a big box store needs extra perlite or it hold too much water and the leaves and roots will start to rot.
Mary

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 9:20PM
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fortyseven_gw

Possibly, they need to be removed from wicking from time to time so that roots are not constantly wet and can breathe

This post was edited by fortyseven on Sun, Apr 13, 14 at 8:59

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 9:40PM
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Linda

Your violets are in dire need of some TLC. Follow Velleta's suggestions (Velleta-you are getting so good at this. I told you you would ;) ) You need lighter soil, smaller pots, (your pots are way too big) and they need to be potted down.

If you do this, they should start looking better almost immediately.

I don't think it's the move that's responsible; it's just that the neglect has caught up with them.

Linda

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 1:55AM
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quimoi

The change in climate probably does account for your needing to adjust the way you treat your plants. It sounds like you may have moved from an area with low humidity to an area with cooler temperatures and high humidity.

You don't have to throw out the plants. They can be started over as others have suggested. Velleta is right about rerooting the crown (potting the neck). There are some instructions for this on the Violet Barn website among other places.

You might want to consider not using self-watering pots or using a much lighter soil mix (again as suggested). No matter what kind of pot, you should use a lighter soil mix and make sure they aren't waterlogged.

Do they get enough light in your new home? They look healthy enough but every place is different. Give them what they need and you'll enjoy them again :)

Diana

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 10:25AM
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Linda

The difference in humidity would not have caused those long necks on your violets. I suspect they have been in the same soil for a very long time to have necks that long. Fresh soil, smaller pots and a re-pot will go miles towards making your violets healthy again.

The smaller ones with no necks are grossly over-potted. Too much soil, too much water=rot.

Your plants are trying desperately to survive and as they do not have the resources to maintain the entire plant, they are sacrificing the older growth in favor of the new.

Linda

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 11:36AM
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gardencats2(8)

Ok, I"ll add some perilite to the african violet soil I have and repot them all. Does anyone have a source for small plastic pots with saucers? Obviously the self watering ones I have are too big and I don't like the look of the pots sitting in various containers so the water doesn't drip through and ruin furniture.

The plans do look wet but that's because I had just watered them. Normally they only get bottom water about once a week except summer when it's warmer then every 4-5 days as needed. They have enough light but during the winter it's cold. I have wasted money on those bulbs for plants but they burn out within a couple months. There isn't enough light downstairs where it's warmer to put them during the winter, I tried.
Thanks to everyone for the advice. My plants have always looked great and bloomed regularly until we moved here.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 2:05PM
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quimoi

Most of us have a lot of violets and I suspect that we have ordered the pots we use. I don't know what you can find at hardware/big box stores but you want a pot that is about 4" or possibly smaller if a plant is damaged.

You can reuse the ones they come in if you wash them and soak them in a mild bleach solution for a little bit. Lowes sells clear plastic saucers which aren't the prettiest things but will work. Just don't let them sit in the water.

Maybe if they aren't over watered, they will do better in the chilly upstairs. If they are going to be cold, it's better to be dryer and cold than soaked and cold. How cold does it get?

I don't suppose it's everyone's answer, but I have a fluorescent fixture hanging in my window and I can turn it on when it's especially dreary. We rigged it from a light made to go in a ceiling and a swag light kit chain. I haven't had a bulb burn out yet.

If you don't mind ordering pots, Novosel Enterprises has both the pots and the saucers, although they are very plain. You would want the 4" azalea pots.

Years ago, I used a pot with an attached saucer and still have a few and still like them :)

Diana

This post was edited by quimoi on Sun, Apr 13, 14 at 15:32

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 3:24PM
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philpet

Or you could use solo cups. If yo restart them they won't have any roots and the smallest pot would be best. ( You could place the solo cup in a pot for balance and it looks pretter too) this way both you and th plant would b happy. I buy cheap bowls put stones in the bottom place the pot with th av on top, add a bit of water in the bowl, not too much it should be under the stones. AV really do better in small pots. Let m post you some pics so you see what I mean. Velleta

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 5:22PM
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philpet

This is the plant in solo cup, do you see how much perlite I use, both in th mix and on th bottom of the pot. Velleta

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 5:25PM
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philpet

Actual size of the plant its also in bud. Velleta

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 5:27PM
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philpet

This is my sixteen inches across av look how its potted, the outer clay pot is to support the leaves they are very big, but its in a small pot inside, the foil around the rim is to prevent damage to th leaves resting on th pot.velleta

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 5:49PM
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philpet

This is th size pot the plant is actually in. My rason for showing you these pics is because at on point I felt like giving up on them but everyone here helped me to fall bk in lov with them. You can do it just start over, small pots, lots of perlite, don't overwater, repot when needed. Linda is my idol here, she was the one who took me step by step and is still teaching me. At on point I had to repot almost everything to solo cups. But as you can see they are now doing great. And most of the mature ones are now in bloom or bud. Ok don't want to bore you to death :). Your at the right place with lots of experience folks and they will teach you all you need to know . Vellta

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 6:06PM
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gardencats2(8)

Thanks Veleta. You have a lot of violets. I re-potted several today and added a bunch of perilite to the mixture. I'm going to give them a couple weeks to see how they do and if they look better then I'll re-pot some more of them. I actually have too many because every time a leaf breaks I stick it in soil in a small pot (around 2-3") so I end up with more plants.
Someone asked about the temperature where the violets are. It can get down to the 40's-50's in the winter upstairs. We have a pellet stove downstairs but what they say isn't always true (heat doesn't always rise)
Thanks Again
Lisa

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 11:54PM
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Linda

Lisa,

My growing room is in my basement. Usually the temps do not go below about 65 degrees at night in the winter. Until this winter. I could not keep the temps above around 53 degrees (at night) for most of January and February. The effect of this colder than ideal temperature is that violets will slow down in both growth and blooming. If the temps continue at this temp eventually the plant will go into decline and eventually die.

After you have rehabbed your violets, cooler temperatures may affect the growth but the first thing you need to address is your pot size and soil issues.

Velleta,

Thanks for the kind words!!! I would love to see a picture of your entire plant room. I have only seen bits and pieces but it looks awesome!

And, you didn't ask but-I would remove the larger leaves from the violet in the last picture. I think their productive days are over but the pot size is just fine even if you do remove them.

How are your new violets doing?

Linda

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 2:32AM
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Linda

Another thought: when you re-pot follow the procedure Velleta described in the third post. Afterwards, put your violets under a dome or in a plastic baggie. Water, seal tightly and put in a bright spot until the plants have re-rooted.

Linda

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 2:39AM
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aviolet6(7)

Velleta, looks like you need leaf rings for some of yours, to help hold up and support the leaves.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 9:01AM
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philpet

Linda, my new babis are doing wonderful, I only had drooping on one ( Trasure Chest), but its now perked right back up. As for th one with the bud blast its also doing ok, no further problems. I will start a different post to show you my growing area. AVIOLET6, I would maybe have to make one, we don't get them here. Velleta

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 9:48AM
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quimoi

There is also a 3" pot like the 4" plastic green pots. I used to use odds and ends of china too but sometimes it can damage furniture so if that is an issue (actually sitting on it), I'd stick with the plastic saucer.

Solo cups (the 3 oz. bathroom cups available at Walmart) are fine but there are also pots that size which are nice for miniature plants if you don't want to use the cups.

The Violet Barn site has instructions for restarting the long-necked plant in a larger pot. I'll let you know if it works because I beheaded Witch Doctor.

It sounds like a little extra head in winter would really help a lot. I could always keep my plants at work until winter when they would turn down the heat overnight and on weekends. Then they would start failing.

Diana

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 9:54AM
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