crown / root rot disease?

froeschliApril 14, 2014

Ok, so i thought i was doing rather well with my African violets. they all went into bloom and then things started to go off...

just today i lost two plants to what appeared to be crown rot (outside row of leaves went limp and started dark, mushy patches around the petioles, inside, smallest leaves turned to mush) i planted what leaves didn't look affected, but they were rather small...

anyhow, this brings the number of mysteriously rotted plants up to 5, i think, not counting rooting leaves, suckers and babies...

i am getting concerned, to say the least.

Linda did mention the ROOT ROT - disease. now i am wondering how i would tackle such a thing and stop it from possibly spreading even further...

i have to admit, they all probably have it, since i bottom water them all in the same bucket. (not anymore duh)

i am planning on getting a few varieties from the Toronto show this weekend, but they are going in a different room altogether. no chances with those babies.

any suggestions apart from "kill them all"?



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I don't have time to write much. But would you do a search here on this forum for Rot or Rot Leaves. See if some of the answers there might apply to you.
When was the last time you repotted them? Did you add extra perlite? How long do you leave the plants in the water when you bottom water?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 9:18PM
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Have you taken the root ball out of the pot and inspected it? Do you see any brown mushy roots or white fungus areas?
I hope you get it fixed. Your plants are beautiful in the photos

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 9:19PM
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Hi Karin

So sorry to hear that but glad you are going to make it to the T. show. Yes, good to not have the on a common watering system.

Years ago, I had problems with a common watering source. It was when I lived in a climate that had lots of winter and not much sun. I now realize that condition was more prone to some type of fungus getting into the water. I lost my AVs one by one. I think the winter conditions require more care and adjustment for AVs to thrive.

Ever since then, I don't share the saucers, each one has its own individual water supply.

Hopefully, starting fresh with new plants will work. Maybe you can ask the vendors for some suggestions for especially strong plants.

best of luck joanne

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 12:50AM
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It sounds like Phytophthora. This fungal disease is caused by too much water and/or too heavy soil. It is fatal (sorry) so it is best to toss your affected ones. There are remedies for treating affected plants but I've never known one to work.

I would clean up my growing area before you bring home your new ones. Re-pot with soil that is lighter than what you have been using. It is not really a disease that 'spreads'; it will only affect plants when they are growing in the right conditions for it to take hold.

I always run my plants a bit dry before I re-water. It is much easier to revive a plant that is a bit too dry than to deal with any sort of rot. I had rots when I first started growing but I haven't had any in many years. (Knock wood!)


    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 2:10AM
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Thanks for the replies!
I have them in 50/50 fafard av mix and perlite. Bottom water when the soil seems dry. Leve them in between 1-5 minutes. Maybe I'll have to try the 'chopstick method' to determine whether the soil deeper down is still moist - the pots seemed light enough... I'll also add some vermiculite on next repotting.
I'll keep an eye and see. Just seems weird that everything went fine, then one by one they started keeling over. Ah well. Gives me more space on the shelf...

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 7:33AM
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I watered everything in the same bucket. I did that for a while then had one plant go bad. I held my breath waiting for the rot to spread. I guess I got lucky but I still haven't learned. I still do that sometimes when I am in a hurry or don't want to take time to make all the mix. Not anymore!
I am sorry you have to lose plants, but I like your attitude, more room and more plants.

This post was edited by lucky123 on Tue, Apr 15, 14 at 21:04

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 8:57PM
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I have lost about 50 or so outdoor plants because of the harsh winter and right now, we are in the midst of a hard freeze so I know there will be more. So-there's lots of room for new and different plants. It's really the only way to look at it if you don't want to succumb to the vagaries of Mother Nature. Sad, but true.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 3:32AM
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after moving to an apartment with no balcony, i have only two outdoor plants left - left in storage on a friends' balcony. i have mixed feelings on whether i am wishing they died, so i don't have to figure out where to put them for the summer, or whether i want them to be alive...
i guess the grape could do ok in a south facing window, but keeping the lilac indoors seems like cruelty....
ah well, that's why i started being interested in african violets in the first place. no need for balconies, and plenty of flowers :-)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:16AM
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Me Too
The gophers ate 2 of my 6 ft pines this winter. Something ate the roses (squirrels, dear?) We haven't had any rain since Christmas. We keep the scrap of lawn and the trees alive by constant watering until monsoons start in July. I could easily grow cactus inside but, oh. look, I have plenty of cacti outside. Violets are becoming my flower garden in the small amount of space I can spare inside. I hate to lose one but I always like space for a new one.
I am abashed to admit I sometimes have a wicked, mean thought, wishing that one ->over there, would die or something so I can get one I like more.
O, the joys of gardening. There is always another beautiful violet!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:55AM
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I have been struggling with root rot disease since mid-January when my mother opened a window in my plant room. I did not catch it for 3 days. During the days here in Tucson the Temp was in the high 80s but at night it would drop down to the high 40s. Since I keep every thing on wicks and reservoirs it was perfect for the spread of root rot. I lost 4 trays of plants quickly and it just keep spreading. I finally repotted everything, scraping anything brown / mushy from the roots and pulling every thing off the reservoirs . I treated with PHYTON 27 first . I then went on line and picked up THIOMYL, from Southern Ag. on E-bay or

Thiomyl ($15. for 8 oz) a Turf and Ornamental Systemic Fungicide the active ingredient is 50% Thiophanate-methyl It is a Genric Cleary's ($145. lb) !

Black Rot ----Pythium Phytophthora
Fusarium Wilt-----Fusarium
Root Rot -------Rhizoctonia
Are the 4 major Diseases of rot in most plant . Thiomyl and Cleary's will treat all put ( Black Rot ----Pythium Phytophthora).

Banrot 40WP Etridiazole 15% Thiophanate is the only treatment for Black Rot and it is $350 for 1 Lb more that i wanted to pay

Since using the Thiomyl (Systemic Fungicide) it has all cleared up and it only cost me $15.00. I only lost about 75 of the 1000 plants I had before the 3 cold Jan. nights.

I mixed 2 tsp with gal of water and drenched every plant 2 times over 3 week period. I choice not to spray , which would have been easier. Thiomyl is a white powder and it would have covered my plants with a thin white film, that looks like Powder Mildew.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 4:49AM
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Thanks for the information
In dry Arizona, rots wouldn't seem to be a problem but between the dry air, hot days and cold nights, it is my greatest concern.
I have lost more plants to rots than any other cause.
Can this product be applied to newly purchased plants as a preventative or is it applied after the fact?

This post was edited by lucky123 on Thu, Apr 24, 14 at 14:54

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:04PM
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This is interesting, although I haven't had the problem. I have often wondered if there weren't some remedies for the various rots other than tossing them immediately.

I'm glad you found one. I hope you didn't kill your mom.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:41PM
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No I did not kill my Mom! It was my own fault I should have know the window was open. I noticed the room being a little cooler on the first night , but I did not do any thing about it. As for using Thiomyl Systemic Fungicide ( 50% Thiophanate-methyl) or Cleary's as a preventative measure they are commonly used in commercial green house when transplanting starter plants to prevent damping off. I am going to start adding it to my water when I am transplanting form now on. The best solution for preventing crown / root rot disease is watching your night time temperature especially when using wicks and reservoirs. Water in the reservoirs cools quickly. as long as your night time temp stay above 75 degree you should be ok. Living here in Tucson we don't think about turning on a little heat at night, many don't even have heat in their home and it is just easier to get under a blanket.
For the most part we just don't get that cold. At the most we have 2 or 3 weeks where it might drop down to freezing. All it takes is a night or two and you end up spending the next 3-4 month bring your plants back

No, I am not a MOM killer, just a AV SERIAL KILLER!!!!

This post was edited by daniel.edmondson on Thu, Apr 24, 14 at 22:36

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 10:33PM
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1,000 AVs! Congratulations!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:29PM
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I am so glad :D. (I didn't really think you did.) Of course I always suspected that my mom would have sacrificed me and kept the violets.

75 at night is quite warm. I agree that people have to monitor those temps, but I doubt that everyone in colder climes keep it that warm at night. I don't use reservoirs but we do have our thermostat set fairly high any more and it gets chillier than that.

At any rate, so glad that so many plants and all the people made it through!


    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 10:05AM
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Ah, I haven't been back in the forum here for a while, but SOMEONE keeps opening the window in that room..... GRRRRRRRR if that is indeed the cause. But it would coincide with when things started to go lopsided....

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 6:34PM
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Here's a growing tip: In my growing area no one is allowed to touch anything under pain of dismemberment. I hope this helps.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 3:26AM
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My growing area currently doubles as our dining room, so I can't keep everyone out. But we'll be moving again in the next few weeks so maybe I can set things up differently...

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 6:32AM
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Didn't you just move a few months ago?


    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 11:51AM
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Yup, DH's a property manager - so we move wherever the company needs us... And I'll be happy to see the last of this place - A shoe box is bigger than this...

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 12:36PM
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