Problems?

BittyBats(8)August 22, 2014

One of my avs has red reverse leaves. Recently the color has been fading and started to turn a light green. Is this a light problem, not enough?

Another av has leaves that are curling down. The plant is very stiff. It's only the outer leaves. I've had this plant for a month, its only recently been doing this when I moved it closer to the window. Too much light?

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lucky123

Kathie
If it is light, then it is too much light which causes lighter green leaves and smaller, tighter centers.
Lower the light and see what happens.
Stiff leaves and lighter new growth could be other issues.
Fertilizer can affect the leaf color and red reverse.
Which State is your zone? Seattle and Tucson are both zone 8. The frost date and temperature range may be similar but humidity and light intensity are not.

This post was edited by lucky123 on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 14:44

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 2:42PM
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BittyBats(8)

I live in Mississippi, which this website put at a zone 8. The window is east with a little bit facing north, if that makes sense.

It might be fertilizer. I did pot it a few weeks ago in new potting mix. It was about 4 parts perlite and 3 parts av soil, MG. I have been watering with plain water for fear of over fertilizing.

I'll try adjusting the blinds. I've been letting it go full blast because I wasn't sure if there would be enough light in that window with those trees blocking the morning light. They get direct sun at around 9 am to maybe 10 to 11 am.

Kathie

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 3:17PM
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lucky123

Kathie
Lower the light.
Do one thing at a time. If the plants start to look better but still too light green, fertilize.
Too many things at once can shock a plant and not provide useful information about what caused or solved the actual problem.
I would say too much light right now but if it is still too light green or the red reverse fades, fertilize.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 3:45PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Not sure if this will help any, but I used some AV soil from MG at first. I found that the AVs grew really fast and bloomed, but that the lower leaves kept slouching down, went "icky" and had to be pulled and that the remaining leaves curled. Very stiff on the upper leaves as well. I asked around, even at the Violet Barn, but couldn't get a decent answer.

Finally changed the soil mix, quit using MG (with it's "built-in" fertilizer) and things went far better. Right now I'm using the Optimara soil mix with perlite and it's working very well. The MG mix leftover went out into the yard.

However, like Lucky says-one thing at a time.

Best,
Judy

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 7:31PM
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lucky123

Sometimes no matter what...
I have one plant that was normally flat when I got it. Now it curls and drapes over the pot. I tried different lights to no avail. Other than draping and curling, the plant is healthy and growing.
Another plant, same light, is reaching for the sky. All the leaf petioles are pointed straight up and the leaves are flat but at a 90 degree angle to the petiole. Flat leaves on top of stick stalks. Funny looking thing but again growing and healthy.
Plants right next to those two are well behaved normal looking flat top AVs.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 7:45PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Yes, go figure, right?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 8:06PM
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BittyBats(8)

Alright! Imma adjust the blinds to decrease the light, hopefully that helps. I'll wait and see what happens then.

When it comes time to repot I'll think about the soil more.
Thanks for all the advice!

Kathie

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:40PM
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fortyseven_gw

Judy,
Thanks for the info on the MG. You described my plants.
I wonder what it is in the MG that makes the leaves stiff and curly?

Too bad I had not read this sooner as I just bought a big bag of MG brand potting mix and one of perlite and also a smaller bag of vermiculite. Sounds like I will have to send for Optimara potting mix in the future.

My club had a talk on potting mixes recently.
It was all very "organic" (talking about living organisms here!) Some members mix their own.Very serious business!
A little too rich and exotic for me at this stage of my smallish collection.

I am trying to get everything repotted for annual repotting plus pot up babies from the nursery and just placed several orders for new plants and leaves, so that was why I stocked up on mix materials. Joanne

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 3:43AM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Hi Joanne,
Making your own "soil" isn't very challenging until you get into all the little nematodes and other organisms bit! I actually made my own for a while-between the MG and ordering the Optimara. It just wasn't light and "fluffy" enough to me-but once the Optimara is gone, I'll likely do it again-making it nearer the Optimara type than it was before. There was a bag of sphagnum peat, a bag of Happy Frog (which we had for the vegetable pots anyway) and perlite. The Happy Frog weighed it down too much IMHO. I only mixed up what I was going to use-any leftover (not much) was put into a sealed tupperware-type container until the next potting round. It seems to me that the Optimara is almost entirely sphagnum peat, with some styrofoam balls in it (which don't hurt anything and lighten the soil).

Some folk put in other nutrients, but as I fertilize with every watering (at 1/4 strength), there isn't much need for that.

Best,
Judy

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 9:07AM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

I switched from the MG to using Fafard AV mix. Two local places carry it, but you can't get it at Home Depot or Lowes. I would never go back to MG unless there was absolutely no other alternative.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 10:24AM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Fafard 's(R) AV soil ingredients really look great. They also have the Black Gold(R) line, but I don't like the ingredients as well. However that seems to be all we can get here. I don't use dolomite (lime) in my mix, but it shouldn't hurt as Sphagnum peat is a little acidic and is the basis for most AV soil.

http://fafard.com/catalog/2014%20Retail%20Catalog%2008.14.13_web_SinglePages.pdf
I do use their perlite and their Orchid mix, but only the Black Gold (R) type.
This is a fairly large file so give it a couple minutes to load.

Here's MG's website. They don't list their ingredients.

http://www.miraclegro.com/smg/goprod/miracle-gro-african-violet-potting-soil/prod70208/

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 6:17PM
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fortyseven_gw

Hi Judy
Thanks for the info. I will start to look around for the other brand you mentioned. Karin has been using it for a long time, also.
Just don't want to have to deal with "critters" in my AV mix!
Joanne

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 6:31PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Hi Joanne,
If I got "critters" in my pre-packaged soil mix, I would be at their door hollering! :-)

There's a video on YouTube about cutting strep leaves for babies, and this guy is following a method he was taught at Lyndon Lyon's, where he is sterilizing everything-including cut leaves. That's a bit much for me but there is a way to sterilize the soil in a microwave-5 minutes in one with a rotating plate. Just don't know if that would work with Optimara (R) with the tiny styrofoam balls. However, if in question...I certainly would! :-) I haven't had any need to--the Optimara soil is just great! I ordered eight bags of it-and will probably run out sometime this winter when I'll go to my own for a little while!

Best,
Judy

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 7:19PM
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froeschli

Judy, I've been using the fafard av mix, and was looking at the fafard perlite, how do you find it texture wise? I've been using the MG perlite, but there seems to be way more fertilizer in it than expected, and a lot of dust...

Karin

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 7:52PM
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KandyR

Hello All!..I'm new here and I am new in the Gardening department as well. Bought a house 11 months ago with fabulous organic grounds, native trees and plants. We're doing the best we can, and are starting to get the hold on things.Now some of the trees (Mature) are looking scorched in clumps. We never water them because the grounds are always moist in their area. Now our Hydrangeas are getting yellow (we water as needed) and the Japanese maples as well. And there is a list of other shrubs that are loosing leaves. Any suggestions for this Newbie Georgia Gardener (Zone 7) about the reason our trees are looking scorched will be very appreciated!!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 8:02PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Hi Karin,
I'm currently using the Black Gold(R) version of Fafard's(R) perlite. Don't remember what I used before, it might have been MG (but there was no fertilizer added at that time). My only issue with the Black Gold(R) is that it's not consistent in size. There's far too much dust perlite in it-way more than in MG.

At some point before I repot again I'm going to the better garden shop and see if I can get something more suitable. They have their own brand too, but were out of it when I went to get some more. Theirs is much more consistent in size-with little dust at all.

Best,
Judy

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 8:16PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Hi Kandy,
You probably posted in the wrong place-this is the African Violet forum-pretty much houseplants! You would probably wish to post in the one of the "Trees" sections or possibly in the Lawns and Landscaping sections!

Best,
Judy

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 8:22PM
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KandyR

Yes I did!..Sorry!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 8:41PM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

Kandy, there is a Georgia Gardeners forum too, try that, you should like it.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 8:45PM
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fortyseven_gw

HI Judy
Thanks again for the tips on the soil mix. I can also check with my club what they are doing. They had a very in depth discussion of this topic with people bringing in samples of their mixes. I did not tune in too much. However, there have also been some very interesting discussions on this forum from those who have very serious conditions of their formulas. So when the club had their discussion, I was a little prepared by what I read here.

I do remember back in the day making my own mix and cooking it in the oven in the days before microwaves.

So for a long time, MG just seemed like a luxury and as the expression goes, the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Anyway, I appreciate the advice on the store-bought mixes, Optimara and the Fafard.

Joanne

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 10:37PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Joanne,
Did your club list any resources for soil mix-or post any papers? If so I'd love to see them. Already I'm calculating what I need for the next soil mix but always appreciate new input. Perhaps if I join our local chapter, they'll have some input also.

Best,
Judy

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 7:21PM
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fortyseven_gw

Hi Judy,
The speaker had a fantastic presentation, and several other experienced members chimed in and brought samples of their potting mixes they made up. They did pass around a write up. However, they did not post anything on line as we don't have a website. So much of
what the local experts talked about that day I had read
about on this Forum. So I was glad I knew what they were talking about, in general. The discussion got fairly esoteric when they began to talk about worm casings and other such exotic ingredients. And also the possible need for sterilization if there might be some kind of live, organic matter. However, at the time, I was not aware that my potting medium needed to be upgraded, so I was there for academic interest. Now I realize that I should have taken notes. I suggest you do a search on this Forum for similar types of discussions that Irina and Linda used to have. Perhaps enter the words worm casings or potting mixes to find threads. Sorry that I cannot be of more help.
Joanne

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 7:39PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

So here's a little bit of an update. While most of my AVs (and baby streps) are on capillary mats, my older and blooming ones aren't. I've found that I'm a little too heavy on the perlite at the bottom-meaning the mix is too light. I'm going to be adding something-possibly vermiculite since it's water-retentive- to the soil of these to make them store a little more moisture.

Best,
Judy

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 7:32PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

To those who use Fafard perlite-
How do you like the Fafard perlite? I'm not happy with the Black Gold stuff, It's just got way too much powder. There's a bag of Fafard perlite on Ebay right now and I'm tempted to just buy it.

Best,
Judy

    Bookmark   October 5, 2014 at 6:58PM
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