10 ways to kill an African violet dead

froeschliJune 7, 2014

Once you've chopped up a plant with an exacto blade, scattered the bits on some soil and they all grew into plants, you realize African violets mean to take over the world!

So here's some advice on how to curb their plotting:

1. Water, lots of it
This is probably the number one lethal practice of the home grower. Watering more frequently than necessary, or leaving the pot submerged for extended periods of time, leads to root rot, stem rot and dead plants. Rotted roots cannot absorb water - the plant dies of thirst whilst there is an abundance of water available.
Symptoms include droopy leaves, mushy stem and roots.

2. Dense potting mix
Holds water really well, therefore makes it much less work to water 'till it droops.

3. Lack of water
On this one, you have to be persistent. Unless it is brown and crispy, it may still bounce back!

4. Cold
Seriously, plants belong outdoors - if they can't survive a winter, then they don't belong here!

5. Heat
Best administered by placing them in sealed confinement (plastic bags, glass domes) within easy reach of sunlight - crispy fritters served in no time.

6. Sun
Honest plants don't burn!

7. No light
A slow, dwindling death akin to drying your plant. Works very well when topped off with a sun-soaked bath ;-)

8. Feed them to death!
Av's may not get clogged arteries, but too much fertilizer burns their capillary roots - which makes it impossible to take up water or food.

9. Change
As creatures of habit, African violets don't deal very well with changes in their routine.

  1. Reinforcements
    If all else fails, invite some guests into your home. Hoyas, cyclamens and most other house plants are attractive accommodations, and should make your new friends very comfortable. Place them near your collection for the most devastating, err, successful effect!



(WIP - Do you think it needs more detailed and graphic descriptions? I am thinking about adding pictures, but don't want to kill anything on purpose!)

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LOL - love it.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:57PM
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Clever! Would you be so kind as to remind me how to post pics? If I want to post a link, should I type it in the box below where it says optional link URL, or just in the comments box?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 4:54AM
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The easiest way to add images is through the "upload image" button.
If you want to post more than one image in a message, you have to upload them to the web first (Flickr, photobucket, picasa, your own domain, etc) then put the direct link into image tags . (Remove the space between the For a link, you add the URL (http-address) to the box below the comment field, and give it a title if you chose...

Here is a link that might be useful: How to post pictures on gardenweb

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 8:42AM
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So tell me did you apply for the job of GRIM REAPER of African violets your doing a wonderful job.at least now we know what not to do.LOL. Velleta

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 10:49AM
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Lol, I was just working on a "what not to do" post for my blog, when it occurred to me that I could have fun and not sound like a nagging reminder....
Now admitting I made all those mistakes at least once, that would be a bit harder :-p

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 11:24AM
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I have done just fine until now with only one or two of those. I just added a third recently :) Drowning and cooking was much faster than not watering them. That took years.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 12:11PM
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What does adding more plants to your collection have to do with killing african violets? I had my hoya next to my african violets for some time. It mustve been a particularly nice one, because they never so much as argued, let alone tried to kill each-other.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 1:31PM
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Thanks for the advice about uploading pics. There was an easier, faster way I did it directly but I don 't recall how. The directions on GW may have changed.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 6:12PM
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Lauraeli, cyclamen mites are almost sure death for an african violet, I won't let a cyclamen in my house....ever! I cringe when I see some beautiful African Violets in the grocery store right next to the Cyclamens.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2014 at 1:48PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Perhaps number 11 is to be sure and place them where small children and pets can easily stop and admire them. That way they are sure to be nibbled on regularly and knocked down often, ensuring their leaves are snapped, and the roots knocked about. Especially helpful when combined with Numbers 1 and 3 above.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2014 at 6:00PM
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Years back (7 or so) my autistic son used to "help" me by watering my african violets...really really water them! He is over that now thank goodness.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2014 at 6:27PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

LOL, my son ate two leaves and several flowers when he was quite young! Back then I didn't know any better and called the poison control center! I'm pretty sure they were laughing in the background! :-)

    Bookmark   September 14, 2014 at 6:58PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Heck, all you have to do is give one to me to take care of and it is done for (assuming I don't have a terrarium to grow it in).

    Bookmark   September 14, 2014 at 7:14PM
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Powdery mildew. If you ignore it, it will go away.

Well some people have said it did. OTOH, I started wondering what was smelling in the living room. It was Rosie Ruffles and she didn't make it. I rescued a few others that were affected as badly.

I find that rot is much more effective than drought.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 9:52AM
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I love this! What a clever way to deal with the topic. :) You might consider adding a little more under the "reinforcements" point so people know you're talking about pests.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 2:29PM
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