Have I killed my plant by repotting? :(

happy_tomatoMay 20, 2012

This is my first AF plant and I'm now worried if I've done something very wrong so any help would be awesome!! ...:(

I bought it when it was in bloom and it was in a small pot (probably the right pot for its size anyway). But at the time it was before I started reading up material about caring for AVs. So a week into getting the plant I made my first mistake by repotting it in a pot that's way too big think it would look better (around 4-5" pot)... Another month or so later I started to notice fungus gnats on the soil (most likely because of over watering.. My second big mistake).. I tried drying the soil which didn't work... Also tried the hydrogen peroxide method which did nothing... At the end I was so frustrated and worried I decided repotting completely.. And since I knew the plant should've been in a smaller pot anyway I decided to plot it down to a 3" pot.

It's been around 2 weeks since I repotted and the leaves are getting droopier by the day. First it was just the outer leaves but today I noticed the plant in general is a bit droopy.. The baby leaves aren't looking too healthy either with burnt spots all over... I stopped watering from above the soil and use the water dish method to let it absorb water from below. The plant is currently blooming again...

Should I be worried? What can I do?

Thanks a tonne in advance!! :)

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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Hello, Tonne:

Can you post a photo? There are detailed directions using either PhotoBucket or WebShots in the African violet "Gallery."

What medium are you using? Straight AV soil? You mention burn spots; do you know what from? Are they sunburn spots?

By "watering from the bottom," do you mean setting in a saucer until the water is absorbed or wick-watering? If with a saucer, are you sure the whole plant is being watered?

The problem with drooping is it can because from overwatering *or* underwatering. Very confusing, isn't it?

Let us know the answers to the above and try to post a photo.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 3:55AM
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Hi Linda

Thanks for your reply! I've just created my PhotoBucket account and uploaded three photos; first one shows what it looked like about a month into getting the plant(as u see it looked pretty healthy), and the other two showing what it looks like now - one showing the overall droopy leaves and the other showing close up of the spots.

Photos are at this link: http://s1052.photobucket.com/albums/s450/Happy_Tomato/

I'm only using potting soil with no mix of perilite or what not that i see from most posts..i know it's probably not good for the AVs but i'm still finding it hard to get anything other than potting mix near where i live.. :(

I'm not sure what the spots are.. i place the plant by the window but it is mostly in-direct sun it's getting..

As for watering, i place the plant onto a saucer of water (no wick).. the top of soil was very dry for the first week or so right after repotting because i remembered trying to sit the plant in the saucer for half hour maybe an hour tops but the top of the soil still seems very very dry. I did the saucer trick maybe every second night for that first week (because it was SO DRY and the droopy leaves made me think maybe it's because i'm underwatering) and still the soil was super dry. Until around 3 nights ago i sat the plant in the saucer for almost 2 hours and the top of soil finally feels a bit moist. I have not watered since.

I do have a side track question - as you see in my photos, the plant is giving out completely different flowers in the second bloom (first bloom was almost white with hints of purple and many petals.. second one is full purple with 5 petals joined at the end).. why is that? is this normal? (sorry if this is a stupid question..)

Thanks again and do let me know if you need any more info! :)


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 12:42PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Bonita -

your plant does OK, it is hugging the pot a bit, but leaves seem juicy enough. The "hugging" sometimes is a feature of the variety , sometimes it is too much light.
The spots on the leaves - either some kind of mechanical damage, cold water used for watering - or again - too much light.

You are in a beginning of your hobby - so there is so much to learn - but for the newbie you do very well.

Your soil mix is of a poor quality, your ceramic pots are attractive but probably not functional enough etc. etc. - but look at your plants - they look good and they bloom.

The color of the bloom changes depending on the conditions and usually the very first bloom is someway different from the next ones.

The way you describe you fight with dry soil - tells me that your life will be easier if you order a small amount of soil from a vendor. violetbarn.com has good soil, Cape Cod Violetry sells supplies - you can call them on the phone, violetshowcase.com sells supplies etc. And fancy pots are better to be used as cachepots, while the plants really do the best in plain plastic pots.

The main thing is - despite all things - your plants are quite healthy and blooming - so with some know-how - you are going to grow super violets. The way how you describe your efforts - tells me you feel the needs of the plant - and this separates a green thumb from a brown one. People who think more about how plants match their wallpaper -
usually have brown ones.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 7:05PM
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korina(9b, Sunset 17)

Irina is correct about everything.

My question is, do the leaves feel soft and floppy? If they are, that would be over/under watering. If they're firm, then it's likely too much light, as Irina says.

Your pots are *much* too tall; AVs have shallow roots, so you want to either find a shallower pot, or put in a thick layer of perlite or charcoal in the bottom of the pot and water from the top with tepid water.

Until you can get a good soil mix, you can make do with what you have if you're extra careful about watering. Let it get fairly dry, but not completely dry, then water thoroughly, making sure to drain it well; set it on a baking rack or something.

Good luck, and remember, everyone kills a few plants; it's part of the learning curve.

Korina, experienced plant murderer

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 1:37PM
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Thanks guys for the responses! I got quite a few good tips out of it!
The leaves are soft, and they've gotten only worse since my last post.. at first only those on the side are soft and now every leave are turning soft.. those on the side are dying and turning black from the stem spreading to the leaves and i ended up having to remove a dead leave maybe once every second day or so... Is this some sort of rotting telling me the plant is literally dying?

I felt the soil and it's still relatively dry.. i watered it again (after a week) today and let it sit in a saucer for maybe 1-2 hours (though the top of the soil still feels dry.. so it's possibly true that Korina said my pot is way too tall.. :(.... )

Is it worth taking the risk to re-pot (yet again) to those small standard plastic pots? It looks way too fragile (and honesty dying) for me to do that to it again.. :(

I would like to save its life if possible but i'm not sure what else i can do now..

Thanks so much again.


    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 1:49PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)


Haven't seen you in a while. Happy you're back.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 3:23PM
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korina(9b, Sunset 17)

Bonita, I'm sorry, it sounds like you have a bad case of root rot and the easiest thing is to toss the plant and start over. Call it a learning experience; you'll know what to do next time.

Linda, thanks! I'm happy to be back. :-)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 5:39PM
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