My many African Violet plants appear to be dying

vickster257(Z7aNJ)June 4, 2008

one by one and it could be botryitis but the leaves are beginning to get extremely soft with a grayish tinge and hairy and the petioles are mushy. They are grown in the ceramic planters. They all have blossoms but what can I do to save them. Any advice for me at this stage or is it too late??


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Vicki, I'm no expert on AV's, but it sounds like root rot. Do your ceramic planters have drainage holes? Even though AV's like water, if one is sitting in water, 24/7, and there's no escape route, the plant can rot.
Is there an odor in the soil? Sometimes, rot has a sour odor. Toni

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 2:38PM
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Hi, Vicki,

I assume you mean the 2-part ceramic planters, so based on that, what do you have them in for 'soil'? Is the soil sopping wet?


    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 3:34PM
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How long have they been planted in the pots. They are a little tricky, the soil needs more perlite and you have to keep a lower water level in the lower pot and let it dry out between watering. Also they need repotted as the soil retains the salts and such from fertilizer and that can cause the plant to die also. If you take the plant out and the root is gone, try cutting off the crown where the stem is still showing good green growth and try and reroot it. You can do a search here and find out ways to reroot the crown.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 12:07PM
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korina(9b, Sunset 17)

First things first. Grab as many healthy-looking leaves to root as you can; it's good to have insurance.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 5:32PM
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My question to you would be, have some other plants died of gradually before this sudden large number? If not then what have you done differently in the past week that could affect all of your plants suddenly? Any new fertilizers, pesticides or have they been exposed to excess water. Think of what has suddenly changed. I agree with some of the others about getting crowns and leaves too replant before whatever this is takes the rest. I am really sooo sorry for you but do think about any change you've made in the past week or so. Start repotting in a proper soil. 3 parts peat, 1 part vermiculite, 1 part perlite, 1 half part charcoal. Or check out some other growers recipes that are out there. And do be sure to not let your violets stand in water for more than 30 minutes. I hope this helps you a little. Again I'm sorry for your situation. Please reply if you need any more help.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 10:26PM
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Since I posted my message, I am losing many, many leaves some of which are dying due to root rot and others because of botrytis. I have removed the fertilizer in the base which holds water and now only have plain water but just a small amount in it. However, the soil is not saturated and I am giving them a chance to dry out between waterings.

I don't always have success in starting new leaves for cuttings. I usually do this in water and it sometimes works and other times it does not.

Will report back periodically to let you know the status of my violets. Vicki

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 6:17PM
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If I was in your situation, this is what I would do; make up my own mix of 1 part each peat moss, coarse vermiculite, and perlite. I would take the plants out of the ceramic planters and check the roots. If there is root rot, you can only salvage the crown or leaves if not too far gone. Cut the stalk to see if there is fresh green inside, and you may have to cut higher up the stem. If you are able to get to fresh green, remove the leaves except for maybe three rows, and put the stem in the new potting mix in a plastic pot. Bag it and place in light but not sun. If there is no stem and you can't make one by removing leaves, pot the leaves.

This is why the ceramic planters ring the death knell for so many plants.

Even though you are letting the plants dry out between waterings, if there is any root rot it doesn't just go away, you have to remove it. And you can use the same potting mix for the leaves.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 2:39PM
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Barbara,Do you oppose the ceramic planters just for A.V. plants or is it a general consensus that they are undesirable for all plants? Initially, my thought was that they appeared prettier than the plastic pots used by manufacturers to hold most plants. But, now, it is quite apparent that they cause root rot. That to me is sad b/c African Violets are usually easy to maintain and have been my hobby for a very long time. I like your suggestions and will give them a try.

For other folks who grow other plant material in the ceramic pots, may I hear from you as what else can be grown in them. Thanks. Vicki

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 2:34PM
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I have never tried any other plants in them, so I don't know how they work in other instances. I guess that is because I have total tunnel vision when it comes to the violets....I'v given everything else away!

After you get your plants squared away, you could probably use the outer pot as a cache pot, and set the plastic pot in it, but just for decoration!!


    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 4:26PM
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