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Cape Town, South Africa.
BMcruiser
Nov 9, 2017 2:36 AM CST
Hello all,
A couple of questions concerning my third and latest AV (I successfully killed the last two) :

When I bought it a little under three months ago, the top two generations of leaves were tightly bunched and curled, although the plant looked otherwise very healthy. (unfortunately no photo of this). The top generation of small bunched/curled leaves subsequently died off and I removed them, leaving the top of the crown exposed as can be seen in photo. A few of the second generation leaves also died and I removed them also. The remaining leaves from that generation are still curled, but do seem to be reaching outwards, albeit very slowly and the mature leaves of the first generation look reasonably ok.

There has been no sign of any new leaves sprouting since I bought the plant (no sign of flowering either) and the top of the crown is now covered in a whitish fuzz.

Could someone with AV experience kindly offer opinions on the tight curling, the fuzz on the exposed crown top, and the lack of new growth and flowering - cause and remedy would be much appreciated.


Many thanks and warm regards from Cape Town.

ps : I'm determined to succeed with an African Violet. Before I killed the last one, I tried growing a new one from a leaf I had removed - that project so far is going well and I have a nice little baby plant now, with 10 or so leaves, and fairly energetic new growth.


Thumb of 2017-11-09/BMcruiser/5137fa
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Nov 9, 2017 11:11 AM CST
Kind of looks like mildew.
I think you need to back off water, let her dry some between watering's. One over watering , is about all it takes for root rot, and then doom. 😭
They do like humidity, in bathroom, above kitchen sink, Sprite's of water on leaves. Not from wet soil.
Also, I'd repot, after buying, into proper soil. Nursery soil , is good for the nursery, butt not at home.
Good Luck 👍
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Nov 9, 2017 11:44 AM CST
How are you watering?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Nov 9, 2017 1:03 PM CST
Oh , yes Daisyl, thanks for reminding me.
I forgot to mention to BMcruiser , that I recommend bottom watering.
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Cape Town, South Africa.
BMcruiser
Nov 9, 2017 1:09 PM CST
Philipwonel said:Kind of looks like mildew.
I think you need to back off water, let her dry some between watering's. One over watering , is about all it takes for root rot, and then doom. 😭
They do like humidity, in bathroom, above kitchen sink, Sprite's of water on leaves. Not from wet soil.
Also, I'd repot, after buying, into proper soil. Nursery soil , is good for the nursery, butt not at home.
Good Luck 👍
😎😎😎


Thanks Philip, for the good pointers. I re-potted a day or two after I got it, using proper AV soil, which I mixed with pearlite to loosen and give the roots oxygen. Also removed quite a bit of the nursery soil from the rootball before replanting, although I did leave some in, just to keep the roots supported. My last two I killed, one by overwatering and one by underwatering, so I decided to try wick watering with this one. I'm pretty certain it's not overwatered as the only water it gets is from a single wick. The leaves and stalks are firm. I agree the crown does have a mildewy look about it, but not sure what to do about that. I wondered about trying to cut away the top part of the crown. Would that stimulate new growth do you think? Or is there some product I could "paint" over the fuzz with? As you might have guessed, I belong strictly in the novice category here.
Cape Town, South Africa.
BMcruiser
Nov 9, 2017 1:10 PM CST
DaisyI said:How are you watering?


Hi Daisyl, I'm watering with a single wick only - nothing else.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Nov 9, 2017 1:29 PM CST
I'm sorry to see that someone who actually lives in African is having problems growing what we call African Violets. Crying

There are mites which are not visible to the naked eye, not even with a magnifying lens. You would need a microscope to find the Cyclamen mites or the much smaller Broad mites that sometimes attack Saintpaulia plants. These mites attack many different types of plants including African Violets.
Here are some links.

http://www.missouribotanicalga...

http://ipm.uconn.edu/documents...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Hope this helps. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Nov 9, 2017 1:37 PM CST
Over-watering results in rotten stems and under-watering results in crispy leaves. But it sounds like you are watering properly so I have to agree with Greene. Your plants have bugs. I suspect you are buying them with bugs - the leaves should not be tighly curled.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost
Cape Town, South Africa.
BMcruiser
Nov 10, 2017 12:02 AM CST
greene said:I'm sorry to see that someone who actually lives in African is having problems growing what we call African Violets. Crying

There are mites which are not visible to the naked eye, not even with a magnifying lens. You would need a microscope to find the Cyclamen mites or the much smaller Broad mites that sometimes attack Saintpaulia plants. These mites attack many different types of plants including African Violets.
Here are some links.

http://www.missouribotanicalga...

http://ipm.uconn.edu/documents...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Hope this helps. Thumbs up


Hehe, yes, a bit ironic isn't it? Actually Cape Town climate is unlike anywhere else in Africa. It is the only region in Africa with a Mediterranean type climate - hot summers with very little rain, and cool wet winters. My problem I think, is related more to ignorance and a poor history of trying to grow things in general. I will persevere though, and will visit the links you kindly provided, to see what I can learn. Thanks for your input.
Cape Town, South Africa.
BMcruiser
Nov 10, 2017 12:11 AM CST
DaisyI said:Over-watering results in rotten stems and under-watering results in crispy leaves. But it sounds like you are watering properly so I have to agree with Greene. Your plants have bugs. I suspect you are buying them with bugs - the leaves should not be tighly curled.



Thanks Daisyl. Stems are green and firm and the leaves are firm but with no crispiness. The bugs verdict makes sense, so I'm off to visit the links kindly provided by Greene, to see what I can do about removing and guarding against bugs. My baby plant which I grew from a leaf cutting is sitting right next to the problem child so it will also probably end up with bugs. That I definitely don't need as it's doing beautifully (still maybe a bit too small to start flowering) and it represents my only step towards success so far.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Nov 10, 2017 12:13 PM CST
Yes, I would just discard the original plant.
Name: Karen
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plantmanager
Nov 10, 2017 12:17 PM CST
I think tossing the main plant and rearing your baby one is the best idea.

I was always taught to keep their leaves totally dry. No misting. I don't know if that's the way an expert would recommend or not. Those furry leaves don't react well to water and can spot and make dead spots.If I had a very dirty or dusty AV, I'd carefully wash it in tepid water and then dry the whole plant really well and really carefully! It's too easy to knock off leaves when you handle them.
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Name: Critter (Jill)
Frederick, MD (Zone 6b)
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critterologist
Nov 10, 2017 12:35 PM CST
TIghtly curled crown leaves = bugs, 99.9% sure. Agree with tossing the plant (hard to do after all the TLC you've given it, I know) and starting over. If it's a really rare cultivar, you could try rooting an outer leaf or two, but as long as this problem has persisted I'm guessing all leaves are infested to some extent. If you do keep a leaf, please isolate it from other plants and watch for symptoms. Be sure to disinfect surfaces, any scissors or other tools, pot, etc. (if plastic nursery pot, just throw it away). If baby plant shows symptoms, you'll need to get rid of it as well, but for now I'd keep it. Wishing you better luck with your next purchase!
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Sempervivums
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plantmanager
Nov 10, 2017 12:47 PM CST
Yes, I now closely inspect each new plant I buy. Use a magnifier if your eyes aren't the best. I keep them away from my other plants and don't put them with the others for a few weeks so I can make sure they don't have bugs or a disease. I used to bring in bugs constantly. I've noticed many problems with big box store plants. My local nurseries have much healthier plants.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Cape Town, South Africa.
BMcruiser
Nov 10, 2017 2:32 PM CST
critterologist said:TIghtly curled crown leaves = bugs, 99.9% sure. Agree with tossing the plant (hard to do after all the TLC you've given it, I know) and starting over. If it's a really rare cultivar, you could try rooting an outer leaf or two, but as long as this problem has persisted I'm guessing all leaves are infested to some extent. If you do keep a leaf, please isolate it from other plants and watch for symptoms. Be sure to disinfect surfaces, any scissors or other tools, pot, etc. (if plastic nursery pot, just throw it away). If baby plant shows symptoms, you'll need to get rid of it as well, but for now I'd keep it. Wishing you better luck with your next purchase!


Thanks for the valuable advice and yeas, I'd rather lose the main plant than the little one I grew. Actually, after I separated the baby from the mother leaf, I replanted the leaf and have just noticed another new sprout from it, so with some luck, I'll end up with two anyway.

I bought some stuff that was recommended by the nursery, so I'm going to try that on the infected plant for a while, just to see, but as a precaution I'm going to move it to a spot where it's on its own and not near to the new plantlets.
Cape Town, South Africa.
BMcruiser
Nov 10, 2017 2:35 PM CST
plantmanager said:Yes, I now closely inspect each new plant I buy. Use a magnifier if your eyes aren't the best. I keep them away from my other plants and don't put them with the others for a few weeks so I can make sure they don't have bugs or a disease. I used to bring in bugs constantly. I've noticed many problems with big box store plants. My local nurseries have much healthier plants.


Valuable advice and it makes sense. Now that you mention it, both plants I bought were from a big store, so that is almost certainly the source of the infestation.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Sempervivums
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plantmanager
Nov 10, 2017 2:37 PM CST
Yes, it's sad, but most stores don't have qualified help, and don't take proper care of the plants. They look so great the day they come into the store, but a few weeks later most are dead, dying or diseased.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Critter (Jill)
Frederick, MD (Zone 6b)
We're all learners, doers, teachers
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critterologist
Nov 10, 2017 3:26 PM CST
Avid is an effective miticide, but it's $$$ and VERY toxic, so use it or similar treatments cautiously. Keep the plant out of reach of pets, too. I avoid anything systemic (taken up by roots & leaves) in general, because I never quite know what the cats will take a shine to. (Eliot spent yesterday night eating and coughing up plant leaves after I brought the rest of the tender plants inside for the winter -- nothing toxic, but it sure didn't agree with him.) Rolling my eyes.
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.
Cape Town, South Africa.
BMcruiser
Nov 10, 2017 11:56 PM CST
plantmanager said:Yes, it's sad, but most stores don't have qualified help, and don't take proper care of the plants. They look so great the day they come into the store, but a few weeks later most are dead, dying or diseased.


Too right - I'll exercise more discretion when sourcing future plants. Actually this problem child looked so good in the store - strong, green and energetic growth was evident and didn't realize that the tightly bunched and curled leaves in the centre, were an indication of a problem - I just thought it was young growth and the leaves would uncurl and expand outwards. I'm wiser and better informed now, thanks to all you good folks.
Cape Town, South Africa.
BMcruiser
Nov 11, 2017 12:10 AM CST
critterologist said:Avid is an effective miticide, but it's $$$ and VERY toxic, so use it or similar treatments cautiously. Keep the plant out of reach of pets, too. I avoid anything systemic (taken up by roots & leaves) in general, because I never quite know what the cats will take a shine to. (Eliot spent yesterday night eating and coughing up plant leaves after I brought the rest of the tender plants inside for the winter -- nothing toxic, but it sure didn't agree with him.) Rolling my eyes.


I haven't seen Avid in stores locally although there probably is a local equivalent. I was recommended and bought a locally made product called Oleum, produced by Efekto. It's a white oil emulsion type insecticide with a mineral oil active ingredient, specified in control of aphids and spider mites, amongst other things - not systemic as far as I can see. Applied it yesterday so now we wait and see. Toxicity is always a concern when there are pets around (or any animals for that matter). We have three cats but they sleep most of the time and I've never seen any of them show the slightest interest in plants, apart from Gizmo, who occasionally does a little weeding in the lawn outside, but never gives the indoor potted plants a second glance. Poor Eliot - I do hope there is no lasting effect from his feast.

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