Question on preventing bugs and deseases on Violets

philpetSeptember 9, 2013

Hi everyone, this is a general question. Is their a regular spray program one does to violets to prevent bugs and such. We have been having a lot of rain here in jamaica(rainey season) and my Vanda orchids outside pick up a fungal infection so now I have to be spraying. Also one of my dens inside, so I started thinking about my violets ( they are all inside). I know violets are very sensitive to sun and such and most sprays are harsh. So the big question is what does one do to prevent fungal infections and bugs on their violets. I don't have a problem with them but I REALLY don't want to develope one either. Thanks to anyone who is willing to answer. Velleta.

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There are a couple schools of thought on this. Landscapers, such as myself, are encouraged not to spray or treat on a regular basis-just in case. We watch closely for problems and only treat when something is found.

On the other hand, some growers do treat on a regular basis. Most insecticides, miticides, fungicides used on violets are fairly benign but still must be used carefully. There is also the problem that over-use can and does just breed super bugs able to resist treatment.

Most violet growers follow certain steps:
Isolate new plants to make sure there are no critters hitch-hiking in with them. Some isolate six months but I isolate for about two months.

Watch the crowns, (mites), the point where the leaves join the trunk, (mealy bugs), and check for mold spores. Also, pull the plant from the pot and check for soil mealies. There will be a silver-bluish webbing on the inside of the pot. If you check your plants regularly while you are watering them, you really shouldn't have much of a problem.

I have never had anything but mealy bugs until this year. I was hospitalized in April and then unable to care for my violets for about three months. Every nasty in the neighborhood moved in while I wasn't looking. Now I am treating and winning the battle!


    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 1:17PM
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Thanks Linda, I can always count on you to set my mind at ease. But what do you actually use in your situation like the name I mean (chemical's name) or how do you treat it. And one more question, what is the best method to water violets? I actually top water which is faster for me, but I want to do what's best for my plants. I am very careful not to wet the fiolage and if it does happen I dry immediatly, but I have heard wick watering is better so I want to hear from an expert. I hope I am not killing you with too many questions, and if I want to try and wick one how do I go about doing it. Thanks again velleta

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 2:51PM
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There is no best way to water. You experiment a bit and find out what works best for you and your plants. Think of it this way-when you are growing a plant the closer you can emulate a plant's natural growing conditions, the more successful you will be. African Violets in nature get watered from the top when it rains and also from the bottom when they absorb water from the soil. Either one will work.

Wicking is not particularly better; I just find it more convenient as I have LOTS of plants. If you are vigilant about watering, you can maintain the even moisture that violets prefer but you can do this with top or bottom watering as well.

This is also a good time to debunk the old wives tale about not getting water on the leaves. Violets regularly get wet leaves when they are rained on. What they don't get is COLD water. Most growers, myself included, regularly wash their violets. Just use warmish water and dry away from the sun. Leaves have pores on them (stoma) through which they do a gas exchange. These pores can get clogged from dust, soil and various other things. Just don't let water sit in the crown.

I use Marathon for insects-mealies, etc., Phyton 27 for a fungicide-botrytis, etc., Forbid for arachnids-mites, etc., and
Avid for thrips. The trick is to find these in small quantities as they are sold in large containers with even larger prices. Forbid I found on E Bay and the rest from Cape Cod Violetry. They were in small quantities but affordable and enough to do many plants.

Don't let the list of terror creatures put you off. As I said, I had relatively few problems until I was unable to care for my plants. Just keep your eye on them and they will tell you what they need!

And don't apologize for questions!!! As you can probably tell, I love talking plants! :)


Here is a link that might be useful: Washing African Violets

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 12:44AM
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If you want to try wicking start with a violet that you have a duplicate of that is mature. Use a soil that is light-if I remember correctly, your soil mix is okay for this. For your wick, use a man-made material because it will not rot. I use acrylic yarn that is used to knit sweaters and scarves. Pass the wick through a hole in the bottom of the pot and up the side. Pot your plant and then top water to get the wick going. Place on a reservoir-try a margarine container or something like that-with a hole cut in the lid for the wick to pass through. Fill the reservoir and check (in a day or so) to make sure the wick is drawing water. (Your plant should be nicely moist.) If it is not, top water until the water comes out of the bottom. That should get things going. I like to let my plants dry a bit before I fill the reservoirs again but some people do not. Probably either way would work. Again, experiment.
This is a very basic explanation although it's not a complicated process. Let me know if you have any more questions.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 12:58AM
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Do a search on this forum for 'Mini Wick Solution Found'. It is from April of this year. It has a good wicking picture and a lovely way to display your violets


    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 1:04AM
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Please HELP!!!! My violets have bugs and are dieing the bugs only stay about an inch below the soils surface, they are silver black in color and very tiny almost so small you can't see them. Please help I want to kill them before they completely kill my violets!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:17AM
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Thanks so mch Linda, I am gonna try one. Jst for the fun of it( to be honest I prefer top watering, I get to examine each plant individually. And talk to them and encourage them. ( My kids think I am crazy when I do this). Lol. But who cares, I certainly don't. Thanks again. Velleta

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 11:44AM
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We need more information. There are harmless insects that inhabit our AV"s, so your insects may or may not be harmful. What do your plants look like that you think they are dying? Pictures?


    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 1:40PM
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On bugs ... I went through a time when moving into a
new house where ants got into the dirt in my plants.
They went after the roots. I repotted them all and
had pest control spray the house and garden. That
house was located in a place where there were lots
of ants. I don't think ants are a normal problem
for AVs.

In the past, when plants got bugs that were
specific to AVs, I used a spray recommended
from the local nursery and washed the plants often.
Some of the delicate plants, some exotic chimeras
and fantasies did not survive this rigorous treatment.

Some plants in the office got what I think might
be gnats, small black flies. Because everyone in
the office has violets, I got a spray. They did not
want me to, but I did spray after hours. That
controlled them. A friend in another office who
did not want to spray for these small flies still
has them a year later.

Joanne 47

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 4:22AM
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You will now be presented with a Horticulturist's main pet peeve: That stuff in your pots is soil, not dirt. Dirt is the stuff we get on our face and clothes when cleaning. Sorry. As I said BIG pet peeve. :)


    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 4:08PM
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HI Linda
Meant to let you know, I appreciate ALL the "tips,"
from insecticides to proper terminology. How else
could I learn!?
I have been reading some older threads, to my amusement and amazement, on the number
of violet varieties some have! I appreciate
the "veterans" who take the time and interest to
entertain and address all the questions of the "rookies."

I have found lots of good advice also from Irina who has
been posting on this forum for a while now. Especially
on the topic of maintaining a reasonable quantity of

This forum has surely "aided and
abetted" this "hobby" while providing practical advice
for growing and maintaining a collection. Most
enjoyable is
the writings of many people who enjoy this hobby.

Violet growers are generous indeed, sharing
their time and knowledge, and leaf propagation.
My first violet was a gift ...
the gift that keeps on giving and diversifying.

Joanne 47

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 3:05AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

It all belongs to the category - do what I say, not what I do. It is more desirable to have less plants but better grown than a large collection of neglected ones. But the ratio of AV lovers who maintain the manageable amount of plants is 1 out of 20 at best. The rest of us are hoarders... So many varieties ...we just need to try more and more.

too many plants..


    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 12:51PM
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