Does my violet look damaged?

sarahrgDecember 18, 2012

I bought this violet on spring break this past March. It had flowers when I bought it, but before I could get it back to my college dorm room, my cats got to it and chewed up a bunch of the leaves. I cut off the damaged leaves and left the unharmed ones once I got back to school. It didn't bloom for the rest of the school year, but it bloomed again from May-August.

The problem is that it hasn't bloomed since mid-August. The last bloom from summer was coming up when I went back to school. It says in the FAQ that I probably just need to fertilize it, but in looking at it, I can see that it's a lot lighter than most pictures of violets I've seen, and I'm wondering if it's damaged. I can't keep it out of direct sunlight all day because my dorm only has the one window, but the maximum direct sunlight it gets is shown in the picture. That's only for a couple of hours a day; is it too much? It puts out new leaves constantly, just no flowers.

I water from the bottom up and the sill is between a radiator and the window so it stays between 60-70 there, so I don't think that could be the problem. If it is just a case of needing fertilizing, can anyone recommend a safe blooming fertilizer for violets?

Here is another picture that better shows the color:

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As you say you've had it since March, repotting it in fresh soilmix will probably do it a world of good. You can pull off the yellowing leaves and set it down into its (clean!) pot just lower enough to cover the bare stem.

If you pick up potting mix for AVs it's a good idea to also pick up some Perlite to add to it to lighten the texture of the "soil". Most potting soil mixes are on the heavy side (lots of peat) and will soak up too much water and stay wet longer than might be good for them if you're not careful.

If you pick a brand such as Miracle-Gro it's laced with fertilizer so you wouldn't want to add additional food right away. Otherwise "which brand of fertilizer to use" will get as many different answers as the number of people you ask :) Most any All Purpose or AV specific fertilizer will do - the main thing is to use LESS than it says! I think they want you to buy more sooner and the doses are too strong. (IMHO) Try half the strength recommended on the container or even 1/4th at first. You can always strengthen it later but you can't "take it back" so easily.

All About African Violets is a Podcast that just did a video of repotting a plant this size (or a little bigger). #25

Episode 8 might also be a good one to watch as she repots a plant in mix that needs to be lightened and shows how she goes about it.

Here is a link that might be useful: All About African Violets

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 2:37AM
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Actually, your violet looks pretty good. It probably does need, at a minimum, some fertilizer. That will green up the plant. Think of fertilizer as food. Without adequate food, the plant will just operate at survival level (no blooms).

Repotting the plant is an easy way to get it more nutrients, but you'll still have to eventually start a fertilization plan.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 8:09AM
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