Learn About African Violets

Question: What is wrong when the center of African violets become real tight? Read more ...

Answer: The symptom you are describing is often called stunting. Stunting can be the result of a fungus (blossom botrytis blight), an insect (cyclamen mite), of pollution (natural gas leak), or because of a cultural problem (micro-nutrient toxicity). In addition there is a possibility that a virus might also cause stunting. Deciding which one of these is causing your particular case can be difficult. It requires that we look for other symptoms as well as cultural factors which might favor a specific problem. If you have blossom botrytis blight, you would probably also be seeing tannish or greyish flowers and you might be growing in a humid atmosphere with little air circulation where fungus disease thrives. If you have cyclamen mite, you would probably see some twisting or gnarling in the center growth and any flowers might be similarly twisted and misshapen. If you have a natural gas appliance or line in the area of the affected plants, it is wise to have it checked. If you have what looks like a miniaturized plant with perfectly formed healthy leaves that are very tiny growing in the center of a formerly large growing violet, then you may have micro-nutrient toxicity. This would most likely occur in situations where the available water source duplicates one of the trace elements in the fertilizer. The unfortunate cure for nearly all of these is to discard the affected plant(s). Curing the problem can be expensive or impossible. Discarding sick ones and  purchasing new plants is generally a better way to go. If you wish to send a photo for a more definitive answer, I would be happy to take a look.

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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