New and need opinions

kolfinnaSeptember 22, 2008

Hey, all.

I just "rescued" four miniature AVs (mini pink, green, blue, and gold pots) from the local Lowe's and, honestly, they don't look too great. They look like they're slowly stabilizing... two look like they're going to be okay, but the other two look like they're struggling.

I've repotted all of my AVs, typically within a week of purchasing them, so if it didn't help, that's something to contend with too.

One has some odd discoloration on the leaves (mini green-pot), but the other struggling AV looks like it might have something major going on (mini pink-pot).

Can you all take a look and let me know what to do? I'm really new to this and I'm not sure what I'm looking for yet.

I've included the URL to my pictures below...




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I'm not an expert on photo diagnosis but I did want to welcome you to the board.
I did look at your plants and I don't see anything that a few more weeks of getting used to their new environment wouldn't fix.

How dense is your soil?


    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 4:38PM
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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

You know it's so enjoyable to find nice healthy plants anywhere--even the NOIDs at grocery stores and other places. And it's and adventure to rescue those plants marked down because no one wants the poor little struggling plants.

But do you know what you can bring into your home, into your present collection by buying plants that are not in good health.

Root rot caused by overwatering probably wouldn't spread to your other plants. But crown rot just might. And all the bugs you could bring in starting with the devestation of soil mealy bugs.

Unless you take the plant out of the pot and check for symptoms you could be bringing home any number of bugs--even viruses. Mites are often enough in these types of plants.

Viruses that can't be cured could easily be affecting that poor little deserted plant. Maybe why it looks like it needs to be on the compost heap already.

Sometimes we get what we pay for. There may be a reason for a plant being marked down.

If you have few plants in your home, you will probably still enjoy the challenge of helping a plant to survive but if you have a large collection of plants, you really risk a lot to provide that care.

Enjoy your purchases but look carefully at the plant before taking it home.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 4:41PM
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Thanks for your replies and the welcome! I'm glad to have found an online community for this new hobby of mine. :)

The plants I got from Lowe's were kind of in a darker area, surrounded by other plants, bone-dry, and quite a few had been tipped over. Most were pretty deformed-looking (leaves reaching for whatever light they could find), and these were the healthier-looking of the group.

Of the miniatures, I'm most concerned about the mini pink-pot. It looks kind of stunted compared to the others, but doesn't have the discoloration of mites or insv (sp?).

My standard-sized AVs are looking, on the whole, healthy. The fantasy violet was my first one--and only today have I realized it might be getting too much light. It has really healthy leaves, though...

Within the month I have expanded my collection to nine violets total--and have been thinking about propagating just in case. :P Because I've just really started collecting, I'm not particularly attached to any of these plants...but I'd love to see them survive. :)

Thanks for everything!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 5:39PM
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By the way, I use Miracle-Gro African Violet potting mix. I don't fertilize the soil other than what Miracle-Gro already gives the plants, and I keep a bottle of water refilled and on the shelf for watering.

Does anyone else have any idea what's going on with the mini pink-pot? Not sure that I'm seeing any signs of necrosis, thripes, or mites-- all in all the plants have healthy color and they're not excessivly hairy. The spots on mini green-pot are golden in color, but don't seem to affect the plant. Yet. :\
The gold-pot has some lovely fresh leaves while the older ones seem to be losing their springiness and dropping to the edge of the pot.
Finally, the blue-pot has interesting colored leaves (bright green at center, pushing to dark green at the ends).

I made sure this morning that all the crowns have no soil covering them (I'm a bit paranoid of crown rot), so we'll see what happens...

...which leads me to my final question: should I propagate these before anything really bad happens to them? What's the chances of getting a good plant from a waffly-looking leaf?

Thanks so much (and sorry I'm so verbose)!


    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 11:35AM
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Your plants actually do look pretty decent. After looking at the pictures I notices that there is very little perlite in your potting mix, and then you indicated you use Miracle-Gro potting mix.

Okay, here is the deal on potting mix for African violets: premixed varieties, and it doesn't matter which brand you buy, are almost 100% peat moss. Peat moss by itself has basically no nutrient value. It holds water very well, but too well for AVs. Unless you are extremely careful and vigilant, you run a high risk of overwatering and having the plant die from root rot.

So, most experience growers either buy pre-mixed potting mix from specialized suppliers, such as Cape Cod Violetry, or they mix their own. It's easy enough to do, simply make a mix of 1/3 peat moss (you can use your Miracle-Gro instead of the peat), 1/3 perlite, and 1/3 vermiculite. This gives you a light fluffy mix that allows lots of air spaces for the roots and greatly decreases the chances of root rot.

If you are using this mixture, you will need to provide nutrients in the form of a balanced fertilizer, but wait until the nutrients in the Miracle-Gro are used up, or you will be double fertilizing.

Since you have some plants now drooping, I would definitely take a decent leaf or two and propagate them, just in case you lose these plants.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 2:04PM
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Update time. :D

I've repotted all of my plants, have expanded to thirteen plants, and one has had babies. I've posted a picture of the repotted babies in another thread.

As to the miniatures, I have six now and only one that looks woofy...which is strange, because it was fine two weeks ago. Ah well...

I've been really fortunate not to have any thrips or other gnarly bugs, as far as I can tell.

My next step is to get timers for my cubicle lights so the plants can get more than just eight hours of "daylight".

I'm not sure that any of these are ready to bloom, but I'm SO looking forward to when they do. :)

Here are the pictures:

This one's doing pretty well. Hasn't given me any fits, so that's good. :) It has pretty foliage so far--can't wait to see what the blooms look like.

This one's a bit strange. The leaves are super-shiny, it's got a really tall crown and virtually no neck to speak of, some leaves are twisted, others in the crown are fine, and there are dark areas on the leaves. Also, are the little leaves that are coming out just under the tip of the crown suckers? Or should I leave those alone?

This one's not doing so hot. It was fine up until a couple weeks ago, then started freaking out and wilting. The crown leaves don't look too happy either...

This was the one I hoped would survive most intially. Turns out, it's doing quite well.

This one looked like it was ready for the compost heap when I first got it. A month or two later, and it's really pulling out its rough time. I got rid of the leaves that were showing signs of necrosis, and the brittleness the leaves once had has gone away with the newer leaves. Victory!

I can hardly wait for this one to start flowering. It has taken off since I brought it here. By far it's the healthiest of my miniatures, but I'm hoping the others can catch up! :)

Finally, introducing the new members to the family...

White standard--very healthy!

A 6" newbie. It originally had a much bigger presence, but I took off all the suckers. :)

Does anyone have thoughts on the mini purple-pot?



    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 1:25PM
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"Does anyone have thoughts on the mini purple-pot?"

Is that the one in the bag?


    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 7:39PM
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It's great to see plants responding after being rescued! The plant in the 2nd photo looks like it has previously been in crowded/low light conditions. That's why the stems are so long, spaced out, and twisted, the leaves look like they are reaching up to find light, and the crown area is so tall. The little leaves you mentioned are suckers and should be removed. As far as the dark spots, look at the leaves from the back side. The plant may be one that normally has a red reverse to the leaves. Sometimes when grown in low light the plants lose the red back. Now that you are giving the plant light, it may be slowly regaining the red leaf backs. If you keep giving it enough light and space, gradually as you periodically repot it, the plant should look better and better. Please post pics when the plants bloom. Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 10:27PM
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Yes, the purple one is in the bag.
Unfortunately, it's starting to show signs of necrosis in the crown. :( There's probably no way I can rescue it, is there...?



    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 9:13AM
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You may not be able to save any of the plant. If any of the leaves can be crisped up by soaking in warm water, you can put them down and see if they do anything.

I suspect if you took this plant out of the pot and took the soil off, you would find it has root rot. The roots will be mushy and brown.

If it were me, I'd pitch it and buy a nice healthy plant next time. Why torture yourself?


    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 4:59PM
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Hello, I am devastated because I have a sudden infestation of thripes which is spreading among my otherwise very healthy violets. I have read that Neem oil is good to use but can I also use the NEE REady to use spray by Green Light? Can I spray it directly on petals and also leaves? Do I spray both sides of leaves? Please advise and I will really be appreciative. Am so attached to my violets and don't want to hurt them further but the thripes are taking over, thanks, Patti

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 4:22PM
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minimac(6 So In. Louisville Ky)

Hello Patti,

I hate those little guys! A lot of us here have had them and there are several different ways to deal with them. The link will take you to the Thrips (search) page of AV Garden Web. Read some of those and they'll give you loads of info.

When I had them I did the Rubbermaid containers (or large plastic garbage bag) with a No Pest Strip for 24 hrs. three times one week apart each. You must cut all blossoms and buds off and KEEP them off for a month maybe longer. There are sprays you can also use. Think Irina suggests Schultz 3-n-1 spray?with Neem. Same procedure: Cut off bloom stalks with buds and blooms and any little buds sticking out in between axis of stems, and spray 3 times - a week apart each treatment.

To ask a new question:
Log in at the AV main page (at bottom of page)once you log in, it will take you back to main page, scroll all the way down after B-days and that's where you can begin a new topic. "Questions about spraying for thrips" and then it will come up on main page. More people may notice.

Good Luck

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Web AV Search THRIPS

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 3:18PM
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