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Why Do My African Violets Keep Dying?


I need some gardening advice. I'm on my third African violet in less than a year and they keep dying on me. I have the special AV soil and give it plenty of sunlight as well as water, but it doesn't seem to matter, my violets all kick the bucket.

My grandmother 40 years ago had one African violet that she rooted over a 1000 more plants from (I'm not exaggerating, her house was a plethora of AVs before she passed). Advice? Please? It's the only plant I want in my house (minus herbs) and the only one I can't keep alive. (Maybe the only one I truly care about that I can't keep alive, there have been other nature murders under my roof).

Hardiness Zone: 7a

By Tricia from DC


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By Joanne 33 02/06/2011

Could be too much water. I believe the soil has to dry out a bit between waterings (you might want to look that up to confirm it).

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By Cindy 3 287 02/10/2011

Hi Tricia. My grandmother grew the African Violets beautifully, too. The only two things I remember her telling me as a child was that they needed to be in a south window and they should only be watered when the soil was very very dry.

How dry? I know not. We were never allowed to water them unless she checked them and said they were indeed dry enough! Maybe "Joanne" is on to something with suggesting your problem could be too much water. Good luck and hope your thumb keeps getting greener! :-)

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By Crystal 27 02/11/2011

I've had really good luck with African Violets, just had to move them to work because my cats like them too. I've rooted some with no roots and even just leaves before. I've always read that they need to be in a north window and you don't want to have them too wet or too dry. Don't get the leaves wet or that leaf will turn brown and possibly eventually die and they prefer to be watered from the bottom, though I have read and do myself water them from the top on occasion to wash away any minerals that may linger for whatever reason. I only have 3 right now because of room issue but they are all 3 huge and flower regularly. Good luck. I've been told they're hard to grow, but I've never had a problem doing that.

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By Renee Schuhmacher 4 02/11/2011

My 91 year old grandmother has grown african violets for years in her north facing kitchen window. She says the trick is to use a pot with holes in the bottom and place it in a saucer then water from the saucer. The plant will wick up what water is needed. Don't however let it sit in water for days. Whatever water is left after 24 hours should be discarded. When the soil feels dry water from below again. Her plants are always beautiful. She also fertilizes with a fertilizer made for violets. Good Luck.

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By Aunt Peg 1 3 02/11/2011

Tricia, When I first started growing African violets I also had several die. Then I solved the problem by stopping the over-watering. I am sure you are giving them too much water. Let the soil be completely dry before you water, water only from the bottom, and don't let any water touch the leaves. You will be successful in no time.

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By LeeAnne67 4 106 02/12/2011

I had one AV that was almost 30 years old before it finally died. Nearly broke my heart! Anyway, the two I have now are probably close to to 10 years old. I have them in special violet planters that are in two parts. Water is kept in the outer pot and the plant is in a smaller pot that is porous. It is continuously drinking what it wants and I don't have to worry about over watering. I just have to be careful not to forget. Which I have done! Poor things were bone dry when I noticed the pots were empty. I got the pots at the Home Depot, a real saver for me and my plants!

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