Here's another photo of plant with yellow leaves:

blondiejanOctober 28, 2013

This is Optimara Michelle.....with yellow leaves....

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irina_co(z5 CO)

Just replied to the previous post.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 7:51PM
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Thanks so much! I'm going to investigate your suggestions, and follow through. I don't have a huge collection, maybe 15-20 plants. I went to rainwater because I thought maybe our city water was contributing to the problem. But it persisted.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 7:30AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

You need to investigate city water - they are obliged to provide customers with a report. The points you need to look at are Ph and total dissolved solids - should be less than 150 ppm - if they are higher - you can split your tap water with city water.
Then you need to check if they use chlorines or chloramines - if it is chloramines - you can use the aquarium treatment - the pet supplies stores carry it. Chlorine = you just need to keep water in a bucket for a day to let it evaporate. I hope you do not have a water softener in your house.

What I suspect is your soil Ph is seriously off appropriate 6.4 - 6.6 pH- I do not know if the soil itself is not right - or it is thE water you use. What kind of soil do you use? Again - in a aquarium supply store - or on Amazon - you can get a Ph kit - the cheapest is a set of litmus strips - you mix your soil with equal amount of distilled water - let it settle - and dip the strip in. Do not use Ph stick meters from HD - they are not precise enough - they will show you the difference between vinegar and lye - and that's about it.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 1:04PM
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I use the 1/3 soil mix for violets. But I have been watering with rainwater 100%. I'm thinking these plants in the photos are starving for something...probably fertilizer. The rest of my plants are far. I have ordered some AV food off the Optimara website, and some fish emulsion off Ebay. Hope that will help. I don't like sickly looking violets, and I thought I would ask for help instead of discarding them, and maybe the rest too, if I don't find out what to do. Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 2:21PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

If you use 1:1:1 mix and water with rainwater - without fertilizer - that explains. 1:1:1 mix doesn't have nutrients to talk about.



    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 3:22PM
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bunnycat(z6 NY)

Not sure where you live. But in parts of the northeast (ex. Adirondack and Catskills), acid rain is a problem for forests, ponds, marshes and some lakes. Fish kills occur periodically. Some ponds no longer have fish. I wouldn't want to water my violets with rainwater from our cabin in the Adirondacks ( I sometimes take a few along with me, especially baby plants)

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 3:55PM
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Yes, thank you all for your suggestions. I live in the Great Lakes area, so I think the rainwater is pretty good here...

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 6:17PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

My understanding is that wet peat deteriorates producing humic acid. That's why we need to repot in half-year- year anyway. If you use tap water - it has dissolved solids in it - calcium, magnesium etc. - which "buffer" the acidity to to some extent - plus usually the tap water is intentionally made slightly alkaline - so it doesn't eat into water pipes. So for some period of time the peat of the soil stays in acceptable range. But eventually it sours. With rain water - it just sours faster. If we have too alkaline water - coming from limestone wells - very soon our soil gets alkaline - and not good for growing as well. (probably kidneys get petrified too).

Both high pH and low pH prevents plants from absorbing some nutrients - and make them absorb other nutrients or trace elements excessively - creating mineral poisoning - and plants deteriorate and die.

When you look at Blondie leaf starters - they are probably not that long in a soil - but they show signs of nitrogen deficiency - which happens in 2 cases. If the soil is too acid - or if there is no nitrogen in a soil at all. Since BlondieJ doesn't have urea free fertilizer - she doesn't fertilize at all. So - it is a case #2.
It is not good to fertilize with the only urea - the plants cannot use it. But if fertilizer has half urea and half nitrate nitrogen - it is better than nothing. At least half of it will be used. Urea is a highly solvable compound - so with a regular leaching of the soil with clear water - you can wash it out - and it won't hurt the plant. The high concentration of it will burn the roots.

Seems that MacDonalds is better than starvation.

So where is my Big Mac?


    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 10:23PM
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Here's a pH graph that might help explain how nutrients get locked up at various pH levels. This chart is for veggies but it's pretty easy to understand for other plants. Most plants are happiest between 6 and 7; a slightly acidic measurement. Also, important to remember-the difference between pH numbers is not 1-as in 6 to 7, 7 to 8. The difference is 10-as in 6. 6.1, 6.2, 6.3,etc. So the difference between numbers is a bigger difference than it looks on first glance. That is why sticking close to the ideal pH number is so important.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 2:38AM
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