Learn About African Violets

Question: I just received my new mini African violet yesterday. Today the leaves are limp. I watered it when I got it and re-potted it into a 2" pot. It did not sit in water because the water drains right out. What’s wrong with it?  Read more ...

Answer: The wilting leaves tell you that the roots are not able to get water to the plant. There are several possible causes. You may have shocked the roots when you repotted by trimming the roots back, cutting some away, or tearing roots away, or by working away a lot of potting mix from the roots, seriously disturbing them and possibly tearing them. If you believe that you may have done this, then you will probably find that placing the plant inside a clear plastic bag (to increase the humidity) for a couple of weeks will help the plant recover and grow more roots. You may have packed the potting mix down too tightly around the roots. If you think you packed the soil, you should repot it again, simply piling the potting mix into the pot around the plant, and then enclosing the plant in a clear plastic bag should help. You may have used bone-dry potting mix that never absorbed water at all, leaving the roots in a very dry environment. Peat moss, which is the main component of most potting mixes, will often resist water when it is very dry. When you add water to the top of the pot, the water will flush right through with no absorption at all, leaving the roots completely dry and withering. There are several ways to get potting mix to absorb water: stirring, using hot water, or adding a wetting agent. If this is your problem, I would suggest removing the plant from the pot and adding water to the potting mix in a container that allows you to stir until the water is absorbed and the mix is damp, then repotting. Because the plant was wilted, I would also place it inside a clear plastic bag or domed container for at least a few days while it recovers. If you choose to use hot water, you must allow the soil mix to cool before repotting. Then, keep the plant a little moist at all times, to prevent future drying.

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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