Browning of center of leaves: Optimara Tradition.

SonorityJune 16, 2011

I had an Optimara Tradition which developed brown spots on the leaves and eventually I tossed. I rooted a healthy leaf from it and it produced a few babies which I have been nurturing. These babies have started getting brown discoloration as well. I don't want to lose the babies too!

Is there something I can do here? Are they getting too much light? (Currently under a single bulb, a "Jump Start Grow Light" 24 watt T5 6400k fluorescent bulb). Plants are about 8-9 inches from the light.

The plants are small so it's difficult to get pictures of, and the flash doesn't help with all the shininess, but here's what I have. The smaller baby is still being kept in a clamshell type container for humidity, #2 isn't.

Baby 1:

You can see the browning especially on the smaller leaf, center.

Baby 2:

The original plant, when I first saw the problem, although the babies browning is a little different:

I'm not sure what to make of this. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful:

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Any suggestions I give will be bad news to you, I'm afraid. Dreaded cyclamen mites attack plant centers, leaving them brown and dry. You'll need a jeweler's loupe or magnifying glass with 30X or better to see them on the plant.
Overfertilization could also cause brown centers, but it also causes variegation to be minimal (mostly green leaves with little white or pink showing).
If mites were present, I'd expect them to spread to nearby plants, which would also develop brown centers.If overfertilization were the problem, I'd expect to see rust-colored crystals on the center leaves (fertilizer salts). Any further comments?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 11:04AM
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This is a problem I've had myself. It's water damage to the leaves. It's caused when a plant is enclosed within a domed container. Water condenses on the dome, plastic bag or whatever is covering it. As the temperature cools in the room, the water will drip down on the leaves causing these spots. The plant being under the light while the leaves are wet causes the burn. The fix is to prop the dome up or some other type of ventilation to prevent the condensation from forming. I had mites a few years ago and this does not look like mite damage to me. You can see some mite damage here.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 5:50PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

My first reaction - it is probably too wet. It is a heavily variegated variety, so the water turnover and metabolism is slow - so probably it is a good idea to try to use smaller wick - use only 2 plys(?) out of 3 or in the twine, make extra vent holes on the sides of the solo cup.
The plant leaf color is olive - so I cannot see if the browning of the leaf of the plantlet is a damage - or a natural dark color variation.
The plantlets look quite healthy to me - and it doesn't seem to me that it is any kind of pest, it looks like the culture needs slight adjustment.
Good Luck


    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 3:25PM
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Thank you for the replies.

I split the three babies up and tried them in different light situations (two under growlights, one with natural light) to start with.

The larger they get, the greener and less brown they are becoming, so I think you could definitely be onto something, Irina. With that variety I might have to go even lighter on the mix.

Thank you for the help. I love these little things, now I just have to do my best to make them happy so they love me back.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 4:42PM
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Thread necro! Before and after!

Here's a photo of the same plant posted above. (It's actually Optimara Modesty, not Tradition, btw, not sure my brain was when I tagged the first post).

Irina was correct, conditions were too wet. I potted them into a much lighter mix, and tried a few different lighting conditions. When this one was small, it was actually under an aerogarden light, and is now under normal standard conditions (two T8's, warm and cool). And yes, I managed to break off a leaf when I pulled the buds out from below the leaves. :(

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 8:54PM
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suecirish(6 SE MA)

Looks great now! Looks like you gave it really good care.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 10:10PM
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jerome(z9 CA)

That's a beautiful plant.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 12:46AM
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OMG---that is one beautiful violet. Keep me in mind when you trim some leaves.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 10:56AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

This is one WELL GROWN Plant!

Please make us a pic when it will open the buds.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 12:51PM
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Thanks for the comments. It was the help on these forums that got it to where it is now. :)

I should have taken a picture of it in bloom before I dis-budded it. :( The purple noid next to it had thrips in the blooms when it opened, so I took the buds off all the plants around it and sprayed everything.

The flowers are simple, modest (ho ho, bad pun!) purple flowers, the real beauty is definitely the foliage.

I put a picture in the gallery of a Rob's Cool Fruit that has about nine stalks incoming. It's foliage is so white, and it's still very happy. I can't wait for it.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 5:08PM
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