Learn About African Violets

Question: Why are some of my violets getting brown spots on the leaves? Read more ...

Answer: If the brown spots are small and consistently around the edge of the leaves (especially outside leaves) you likely have a problem with too much fertilizer salt in the leaf. Some varieties are very sensitive to this and require little or no fertilizer. The problem can get worse if violets are allowed to get too dry between watering. It can't be reversed once it's present, but leaching the soil with clear room temperature water will help remove excess salts from the potting mix and reduce the amount of future damage. If the brown spots are increasing in size, if the leaf tissue becomes a thin brown membrane, and it appears irregularly on the leaves, you may have a bacterial disease. Erwinia can be very aggressive and can be hard to control. Disposing of infected plants is the best cure. If there are many pin-head sized brown spots scattered across the leaves, you may have red spider mite or aphids. Either can be controlled with Neem Oil or with common insecticides that list African violets on their label. Be sure to apply under the leaf surface where they commonly feed. If the spots are greenish brown and have a web-like pattern, you may have watered with too cold or too hot water, damaging the roots. Or you may have had droplets of water that stood for a length of time on the leaf surface. These cannot be reversed, but the violets typically do not become worse if the conditions improve.

Happy Growing!

Joyce Stork 

 Much of the information here in Violets 101 was originally published in the African Violet MagazineJoin AVSA to receive the magazine with much more in-depth information.


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