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African Violet...AGAIN!!

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by Amber Petersen on December 22, 2005 12:56 AM
Alright. I've had my african violet for over 3 months now, it wasn't blooming so I started fertilizing it (with the special african voilet stuff)(anyone noticing...this is the THRID time I've written about my voilets) but it's seem to gotten WORSE instead of looking beautiful. Do you think I OVER fertlized it?? it's in a North/West facing window...maybe it needs a little more light? Winter in Canada does a number on our light, so I'm going to try and move it to the North/East Window and give it a try. Any suggestions would be very welcome.

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Amber
by barleychown on December 22, 2005 01:03 AM
Hi There! [wavey]

So, you have had it for three months? Are you following the directions on the fertilizer bottle? If so, you are giving hime WAY too much "food".

As for light, the best way to tell if the light is good for them is to hold your hand above where it is sitting. If you can see a shadow, but it is not clearly defined, the light is good.

They do not like direct sun, ever.

How are you watering him? From the bottom, or the top? Can you tell me what size pot he's in? Measure in inches across the top, and measure the plant.

Sorry to ask so many questions, but all of them affect how happy an african violet is. [grin]

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We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.
by dodge on December 26, 2005 10:26 AM
[Embarrassed]
I find my africian violets do best in the southern window........Or the east window. Also they bloom and quit for about 2 months, and then bloom again.......
Dont put the water on the leaves....

Hope I said something helpful..
dodge [angel]

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''''Those who live in the Lord Never See Each Other For The Last Time!''''
by angelblossom on December 26, 2005 10:49 AM
my african violets are potted in a pot that cradles in another pot that attaches and theres a watering hole to it so aborbes water thru the top pot's base I've always been told not to water From the top [dunno] and not to over fertilize especially in the winter months' and I've not had a problem.. I'm thinking maybe too much fertilizer,, what do the leave look like now???

Barleychown never heard of the light, hand shadow technique > makes sense! [thumb]

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Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up!  -  -
http://photobucket.com/albums/e374/2thtek/  -  -
by GreenLeaf on December 26, 2005 11:06 AM
I've found AVs hate clay pots. I repotted a very healthy AV into a larger clay pot. It nearly died over the next few weeks. It lost nearly all its leaves and the cause must have been the clay pot. So I changed it back to a plastic one and it bounced right back to health. Now it's blooming like crazy. My point is, AVs like humidity and moisture, and dry conditions (like clay pots, which cause faster evaporation) is bad bad bad. Give good humidity, never wet leaves...flush out the pots to rid of excess fertilizer!

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~Green Leaf
by Cricket on December 26, 2005 05:06 PM
Greenleaf, was the clay pot much larger than the original? And how does the size of the plastic one you eventually repotted to compare to the first two? The problem might have been less the material than the size. Did you make other changes in light or watering regime after repotting?

AV's prefer to be potbound. My AV is thriving in the same SMALL clay pot it was potted in as a cutting 2-1/2 years ago. It receives moderately bright indirect light, top watering (taking care not to wet the leaves) and is fertilized with a diluted balanced fertilized only two or three times during very active growths periods in the summer. Now that it is finally very potbound this was the first year the AV has bloomed prolifically beginning in early summer and condinues to bloom even now at the end of December, although not quite as prolifically.

Cricket
by GreenLeaf on December 27, 2005 01:43 AM
Hi Cricket, the newer clay pot was a 4" pot, I think. Previous pot was 1" smaller. Then I repotted it back into the smaller plastic pot because I got so desperate. I didn't make any other changes with growing the plant (watering was same, fertilizing same, etc.). How often do you water your AV in the clay pot? I remember that each time I watered my AV (when in a clay pot) the soil was bone dry.

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~Green Leaf
by Cricket on December 27, 2005 08:55 AM
Green Leaf, my AV dries out well between waterings as well. My experience with them is limited but one of the other forum members, Barleychown, grows them by the hundreds. I'm sure she (or someone else with AV expertise) will be along soon with great advice. I'm interested, too, in what others' experiences are with clay vs. plastic pots.

Cricket
by Jeff Gates on December 29, 2005 01:51 PM
Greenleaf,

In my experience with African Violets, I have found that the fertilizers made for AV's seems to be too strong. I used to kill my violets in about 6 months using the recommended amount of fertilizer for each watering. Now, I fertilize every other month during the spring and summer months with 1/2 tspn miracle grow per gallon of water. That works for me. However I now have a water softener system and my violets seem even healthier. I water them only from the bottom, never get the leaves wet, and repot them every 2 years. Clay pots in my experience seem to slowly decline the health of these little guys. I think it is because the clay wicks moisture out of the soil and dries them out too quickly. I have about 45 or so AV's, and 6 of them are over 25 years old. Now mind you, the original plants are long since gone, these older guys have continued to produce offshoots throughout the years. Goodluck with yours.
Jeff

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Jeff
by barleychown on December 30, 2005 12:59 AM
I personally don't and will never use a clay pot on any of my violets.

My reasoning for this is the natural habitat of african violets, and their root structure. First, they live in the "V" of tree trunks, where there is not much compost material to root in, so they have shallow, wide roots. Second, they never like to dry out. I wish I had a picture of the roots of my violets. They are rather small, and coming off of the small roots are even smaller "hairs". When the violet is allowed to dry out, the "hairs" die, and it stresses the violet.

I'll see if I can get some good pictures today while I re-pot some of the babies.

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We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.
by Amber Petersen on January 06, 2006 02:46 AM
One of the voilets has steaded out. It has a few burn spots on a few leaves but is rather happy again. The other one, at least half of it died...but in good news a portion survived. Now is there any harm in DOWNSIZING the pot? It's in the pot I received it in, but even then the pot was much larger than the plant, so NOW it's a small plant in a bigger sized pot. I shall post a picture of both tomorrow morning.

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Amber
by barleychown on January 06, 2006 12:35 PM
Do downsize the pot. Ideally, the pot should be 1/3 the size of the plant. So, if the plant measures 12" across, the pot should be around 4" across.

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We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.
by Amber Petersen on January 06, 2006 10:48 PM
Alright. NP. I forgot my camera today, but by what you just wrote barleychown, I need to downsize.
Thanks for the info.

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Amber
by joclyn on January 07, 2006 07:03 PM
i use an 'african violet' pot. it's an unglazed clay pot that fits inside another clay pot that is glazed. the water goes in the outer pot and the plant will absorb what it needs.

i was given a plant...in a big plastic pot. i decided to split it - found that it was 5 plants in the one big planter.

they DO like to be kind of root-bound so they should not be in a lot of soil (which is why she had so many in the pot).

i have the african violet food - i put a few drops in the water on occassion. actually it's been quite a while since i've properly cared for them (was very sick for a while and i'm always too busy with work). they're still doing well tho - even if they've totally dried out a few times. i keep them under a full-spectrum gro-lamp which is on a timer so that it goes on at sunrise and off at sunset (i don't have proper natural light due to the porches and the house next door).

if i can successfully root some leaves, i'll be a happy camper, oops! gardener!
by mrsmessy on January 11, 2006 11:34 PM
I only have one African Violet but I get a little mental over it because it came in a mixed basket I received when my son died. Somebody moved it while I was away and it wasn't watered for weeks. I've removed everything I know for sure won't survive and it's down to 9 leaves. Although I am hopeful, it looks to me like the only thing that is going to survive are three small leaves in the center. These are sticking up about 3/4 inch above the soil.

Should I repot or add soil to cover the broken off leaves? It's looking pretty pitiful.

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Bev
by Amber Petersen on January 17, 2006 12:35 AM
*sigh* [Frown] I am afraid that my plant is pretty much dead. I repotted it in a smaller pot, and changed the soil, but it's still dying...well it's pretty much dead. The outside leaves just keep dying, and at the moment it just a bit at the main stalk part that's even a bit green. I guess I'll have to buy a new one. I'm blaming it on overfertilizing. Until I started fertilizing, the plants (although not in bloom) were healthy...that's the last time I push for my plant to bloom. ( I was told fertlizer would make them bloom) ANYWAY boohoo [tears]

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Amber
by mrsmessy on January 17, 2006 06:23 AM
sorry to hear that - better luck with the next one.

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Bev
by ShirlS on January 17, 2006 08:48 AM
MrsMessy,

if the leaves on your Av are dying I suggest you take the good leaves and propagate them into new little plants. AV's can go very quickly if there is a problem with them. Does the plant shake when you gently move it ( feels loose in the soil) or is it solid?

If you do decide to start leaves, there is a great instruction post on here. Starting african violets from leaves 101

Shirl

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Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
by mrsmessy on January 17, 2006 11:09 AM
I saw that other thread after I posted this question. Mine is loose but 9 small leggy leaves have survived. Thanks

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Bev
by ShirlS on January 17, 2006 11:12 AM
The reason I asked if the plant was loose, is because that is usually an indicator, of rot. Good luck with it!

Shirl

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Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
by mrsmessy on January 18, 2006 08:39 AM
Doesn't seem to be rotted - it's more as if the topsoil has washed away - I can see tiny roots on the surface.

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Bev
by Carly on January 21, 2006 06:55 PM
I was advised to water every two weeks.

Overwatering could cause problems.

I'd go with poking the remaining leaves in new soil if I were you.

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When sorting seeds, do not whistle.

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