Tropical Style

What Causes a African Violet to Wilt?

A sad, limp African violet (Saintpaulia spp.) Is a sorry sight, but you may have the ability to revive a wilted plant, based on the cause of the problem. African violets are tropical plants usually grown as houseplants, and they grow best in warm, even temperatures and moist soil. Even though African violets are usually unfussy, they could wilt in low temperatures, if soil moisture levels are wrong, or when experiencing root or crown rots. African violets potentially grows outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 11 through 12, although they’re usually only kept as houseplants.

Soil Moisture

Excessively dry or excessively wet soil can make African violets wilt. When the potting soil for African violets is excessively dry, the leaves wilt because they aren’t getting sufficient water, but African violet leaves also wilt when the soil is excessively moist. The roots need air as well as water, and soggy soil drowns origins. When the roots are no longer working, they can not draw up water to your African violet’s leaves. Overly moist soil also promotes rots, which avoid the plant’s systems from working correctly. The watering demands for African violets vary according to temperature, light levels, humidity, potting soil and drainage. Grow African violets in containers with drainage holes, and water the plants when the potting soil surface is dry to the touch, but don’t wait till the soil feels hard.

Low Temperatures

Exposure to low temperatures causes wilting in African violets, although the plants might not demonstrate the effects immediately. African violets grow best at temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Under 60 F, flowering stops and plant growth slows down, but reduced temperatures may cause the plants to wilt. The effects of excessive cold exposure may take around 36 hours to demonstrate, therefore by the time you observe the symptoms, it may be too late to save the plant. Moving a cold, wilted African violet into a warm area may revive the plant. Eliminate any dark, soft leaves, stems or flowers, and place the plant in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and don’t open it for at least a week.

Crown and Root Rots

A wilted African violet might be suffering from root or crown rot. Phytophthora crown rot, rhizoctonia crown rot and pythium root rot affect African violets, and wilting is a significant symptom of all three disorders. A plant’s crown is the part just above the soil surface. Phytophthora crown rot causes a dark, water-soaked look in crowns and roots, which spreads into the rest of the plant, and also affected leaves are difficult to eliminate. Plants experiencing rhizoctonia crown rot develop blackened leaves, which are simple to pull off, and red tissue sometimes appears at the soil line. Indicators of pythium root rot include dark roots and yellow leaves. Overwatering is the main reason for crown and root rots in African violets. Removing infected locations and repotting in sterilized potting soil may save mildly affected crops, but it is best to throw out plants that are badly affected.

Repotting African Violets

A broken African violet may wilt temporarily. African violets need to be divided when they develop new plants within their foundations. Divide the plants by cutting off the plants and a portion of the main system, and planting the plant in its own pot. Knives or razor blades for cutting African violets should be sterilized before and after cutting the crops by dipping the blades in a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach to 19 parts water, which helps avoid the spread of diseases. Newly transplanted African violets can wilt while they’re becoming established. Place new plants in their pots in plastic bags that are open at the base to help maintain high humidity and also help avoid wilting.

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