Too much light? Or something else?

Cleo_13October 20, 2012

I've had my African Violet for about a year. After it was eaten by my cats, I put it in the only place I could find, which was on top of a bookshelf. I didn't think it would get enough light there, so I eventually put it on a table in a south facing window where it recovered and started blooming again.It's been blooming on and off ever since, and has been joined by three other AVs. My worries are that, while it's flowers are beautiful, it's leaves are a much paler green than the others. I don't know when that happened, or even if it was always like that, because I didn't notice until I compared it with the other's dark green leaves. Now I'm worried, because not only are the leaves pale, but the inner leaves are growing in curled, and some of the outer leaves have faint reddish brown patches on them. Should I move them to a different place with less light, or is it something worse? Also, how do I help the affected plant recover?

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If it has been blooming on and off for the last year in that spot, you're probably fine with respect to light.

Out of curiosity, when was the last time the plant was repotted? Are you fertilizing your plant, if so, what sort of fertilizer are you using? Often times I've found distorted leaves or paler leaves than usual is due to the lack of nutrients. This can be caused by a lack of fertilizer, or having your pH too low in the soil (often from not having repotted soon enough).

When you got the new plants, did you put them in the same place as the one violet you already had? How long was it between getting the new plants and occurrence of these symptoms on your old violet? There is a chance it could be a cyclamen mites. Would it be possible to upload a picture of it?

As for the leaves, there are different types of leaves. There are dark-green, usually with red backs, dark to meedium green with red veins, and medium to light green with light green veins; comparing them to your other violets isn't a reliable way of determining whether your old plant is truly unwell.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 12:14PM
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I took some pictures of it. I really do think something must be wrong. If it is cyclamen mites, is it contagious to plants other than African Violets? I'm separating it from the other three, but need to find another place to put it. Is there a way to treat them that won't hurt my cats if they get to them again? Since they've all been in the same area, I assume I should treat them all as if they're infected.

I have to admit, I didn't do enough research when I first got them. I assumed I was doing something right, because it never stopped flowering. Now I figure I'd better find out as much as I can. What kind of fertilizer is good for AVs? I also need to know about repotting, because after looking up some information I realize that all my plants are way overdue to be potted. Also, one of them has at least two crowns that I want to separate. I have some some soil marked for AVs, but need pots. Is there anything special an AV pot has to be? I read that they need shallow pots, but what else?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 4:28PM
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It looks like it is getting too much light to me. Better move it farther back from the window. You need to mix perlite with your AV soil to make it lighter. You can add vermiculite too but at least add perlite. Don't buy ceramic self watering pots. Plain plastic pots are better and not a very big one. I'll let someone else explain more.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 9:57PM
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I'm pretty sure I have some perlite. I'm having a hard time getting a hold of small plastic pots. I'll keep looking, but if I can't find any, would small terra-cotta pots work?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 11:14AM
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Tough call on this one. I've seen too much light, and those leaves tend to go yellow and dull on them. Your leaves seem to have a gray tinge to them. This can be caused by a few things, most notably lack of nutrients. There are multiple threads on this forum with respect to good fertilizers, check them out. I might give that a good and put the plant in a dome/bag to isolate while I evaluate whether it is indeed a nutrient problem. If it's not that, it's likely cyclamen mites or possibly aphids.

I'm curious what Irina might think on this one.

Here is a link that might be useful: 1st post, too much light

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 11:48AM
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Yes, it does seem like too much light because of the pale leaves and the tight crown. In terms of AV pots, I would not recommend using terra cotta pots, its very difficult to control the watering frequency and the roots of the plant will not be happy.
Choose a pot size based upon the pot width = 1/3 the width of the plant. If you will removing some of the outer leaves, then also keep that in mind when measuring the width of the plant. If you just need a few pots (4-10), I would recommend buying them from walmart, home depot or a local hardware store. For me basic plastic pots with saucers have worked well. I have never used the self watering pots, so not sure how well they work. If you need more than 10 pots, I would recommend Amazon/Ebay as that would be more economical.
If the plants have not been repotted in over a year, I would suggest that too with some fresh AV potting mix with perlite added too.
I did see a recent post on this forum about AV fertilizers, please do check that out for recommendations,

hope this helps,


    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 2:18PM
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Thank you. A few weeks ago, I went to both Walmart and Home Depot, and didn't find good plastic pots anywhere. I'll head over to the hardware store in my town as soon as I can. I'll be looking for a good fertilizer too. Any more advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 11:01AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

If you have access to a good nursery - that's where you can get your pots. Otherwise - check the Internet.
I am lucky - I live near - so I just stop by and pick them. Check their site - so you will see what kind of pots we are talking about - as well as other supplies.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 12:40PM
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If you want to get small plastic pot go to CAPE COD VIOLETRY
They have the best selection of small plastic AV pot I think 25 2 1/2 in. pot cost you $2.75 plus shipping

TELEPHONE 508-993-2386, FAX 508- 993-0042
E-mail or Orders

If you e-mail him he will send you copy of is catalog

When you e-mail him some times it takes a few days for him to get back . He is on the road going to AVS flowers show so he will be gone a few days at a time

He caries just about any thing you could need to grow AVS and he is the cheap

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:27PM
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sorceress99(Tennessee 6)

Looks to me like your plant is getting too much light and probably needs to be repotted. The yellow leaves are old and need to be removed. As a rule of thumb, AVs are planted in pots 1/3 their size. AVs are normally rosette in shape, laying flat with each layer of leaves overlapping the ones below and increasing in size. Remove any leaves that are smaller then the ones above them. AVs have shallow roots and grow better in shallow pots rather than deep. The bottom row of leaves should be level with the rim of the pot. Plant should be centered in the pot and the soil should be slightly below the last row of leaves. Dust any bare places on the neck where the leaves were removed with a rooting hormone to prevent fungus and promote new root growth.

There are many good books on growing AV that would help you. The one I use and recommend is Pauline Bartholomew's 'Growing To Show'. She discusses every aspect of growing beautiful AVs. Personally, I grow every plant as if for a show. The plant is then at it's full potential of health and beauty.

I also recommend Kathy Spissman on eBay for pots. Her pricing is good (100 for $10 usually)and her shipping costs are resonable compared to most other suppliers. Check her out!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kathy Spissman's eBay Store

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 5:15PM
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