AV makes tons of buds, but they turn brown and crispy?

wendync(7b)November 5, 2012

Hey guys,

I have an Optimara AV that I've had for about a month. It is on a window sill in my kitchen with an eastern exposure and gets filtered morning sun. It makes tons of little buds, but they don't make it, they shrivel and turn brown and never actually flower. All the flowers that were on it when I bought it are now dead and I have these brown buds on it. I pinch the brown buds off when I see them.

I read that this may be a humidity issue, so I put it on a tray of pebbles and water, high enough so that the water can't seep into the pot. It looks healthy enough, but I can't get the flowers to survive.

Also, I'm wondering if I should repot it from the plastic pot it came in? It seems to have a very soft, spongy soil in it that stays moist for a long time. Should I buy an "African Violet pot"? I already water it from the bottom most of the time. What do you suggest?

What else can I try? Thank you?

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I think that your issue is LIGHT.

Don't filter your morning sunlight.

My plants get morning (unfiltered) sunlight and they still need more, so I've got a desklamp with a CFL fluorescent light on for them at least 12 hours/day.

When I was just getting into African Violets, I would bring home plants loaded with buds and, unknowingly, place them in locations with not enough light.

Sure enough, the buds would brown, shrivel, and dry.

Supplying your AV's with adequate LIGHT is STEP 2 of the Africal Violet success journey.

Just to recap ... Step 1 is learning NOT to kill them with kindness (water).

Then there's Step 3 ... fertilizers.

Step 4 ... pot size.
Step 5 ... avoiding AV pests/disease.

But figuring out your lighting needs will get you flowers, and that's what it's all about ... right ?

So, pump up your lighting (natural or fluorescent) and you will be well on your way to blooming AV's.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 5:12PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

To add to the written above:

no, do not buy a specialized AV pot - it requires a different technique and if you are not familiar with it - it will kill your plant dead.

I am of the opinion that your plant was grown in a greenhouse with high humidity and controlled temeperature and light - and the relocation from there to your place by the way of semi truck in boxes, shock from dry air here etc. - just put your plant into survival mode - and instead of blooming - it is taking all energy to survive and adjust to the new environment. It will be easier for it if you remove spent flowers and dead buds (when they are dead - that's it - they won't wake up) and let it be. If the conditions are right - and seems that they are - the plant will set up new buds soon and you will have it blooming again in 2-3 months.

Regarding the soil - yes, it would be much better if you repot it in lighter soil. It is hard to keep the store soil evenly most - it either dries and cracks - or gets way too soggy. Make sure that you remove all flowers and buds - to save plant's energy to use to regrow roots.

Seems that you already know what soil to use (1:1:1), but if there more questions - please post them.

Wendy - you already show a good beginning of a successful AV grower. You are trying to make your plant happy, you observe its needs - you are on your way of having great plants with full heads of flowers all over the place.
There is always a learning curve - but for you it will be short.

Good Luck


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:21PM
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Well I repotted it tonight, not in an AV pot, but in a slightly smaller plastic pot because I think the other pot was too deep and it stayed wet longer than it needed too. I brushed away most of the old soil and repotted with 1 part peat moss, 1 part perlite, 1 part vermiculite. I removed the brown buds(as I have been doing).

I also gave the rex begonia beside it a pebble tray, so maybe that'll increase the humidity.

The AV sits in an eastern window, so it does get a few hours of actual direct sun, but after a certain point, the sun moves away from the window and it gets bright indirect light instead.

It has no problem making new buds. It's made 15+ buds this month since I bought it, the buds just seem to brown before they bloom. There are a handful on it now that are not browned, so maybe some will make it one of these times. Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:26PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

I am harsh to mine - I usually remove all buds when I repot.

Since you repotted it to the good soil - you can consider wicking - running the acrilic thread through your soil - crochet hook helps - and letting it dangle in a container with water and weak fertilizer - deli container with a hole in a lid works. It takes care of the humidity and watering.

Good Luck


    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 12:21PM
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