The leaves to my African violets are becoming spotted and brown. What can I do?
Hardiness Zone: 6a
By Mary from Asheville, NC
One question I'd have for you right off the bat. How do you water the plant? Do you water from the top or the bottom.
Any plant that has fuzzy leaves like the African violet or the Purple Passion have to be watered from the bottom. I take mine into the kitchen sink and set the pot into a bowl of plant food water (see my 3rd paragraph), being very careful not to get the leaves wet. I leave it there till it has absorbed all it's going to into the dirt. Then I drain the water and put it back where it was. You have to be very careful with plants with fuzzy leaves to keep from dripping any water onto the leaves. Also, let it get pretty dry between waterings.
Another thing would be where is it kept? Make sure it's getting plenty of light, but not direct sunlight. If you have it in front of a south facing window it may be getting too much sun. Bring it away from the window and maybe put it on a coffee table or near a north facing window that has sheers hung on it. The sheers filter the sun just enough. You can experiment around with where to put it. Leave it in one place for a couple of weeks and see how it does. If it doesn't perk up or gets worse, try someplace else.
And finally, what kind of fertilizer are you using? They need the special African Violet food that's sold just about anywhere. For only 1-5 plants, one bottle will last you several years. What I do is I take an empty 16 oz water bottle, drip 10 drops plant food into it. then fill it up with water and shake well. Then all during the growing season, use this water for watering the African violet.
Also, be sure and stop feeding it the plant food in mid October, and don't resume till late March. Keep it watered, but hold back on the food. They need this time to "rest" before coming back bigger and with more beautiful flowers in the spring.
Hope this helps! I have had African violets that grew as big as a dinner plate and were absolutely gorgeous when the flowers started to bloom.
I think that cricketnc has a better "cure", but if that doesn't work, try spraying Hydrogen Peroxide on it, not really on the leaves, but at the root of the plant, that way if it's a disease the peroxide will kill it, but I would try doing what cricketnc said first.
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