ZGonso27
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Help with African Violets requested!

About a month ago I acquired a few African Violets. Things were going great until I re-potted them in very dense non-breathable soil. The leaves started dropping almost instantly. After researching the best soil for them to use I made my own with a 1:1:1 of sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite. I cut off the bad leaves and tried to cut off the bad roots that I could see and now I re-potted them in the new soil but they are still drooping. Is it too late to save them? Is there anything I can do? :cry:

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applestar
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They just need chance to grow new roots. They need higher humidity -- at simplest, drape a clear plastic bag supported away from the leaves with chop sticks or shaped wire clothes hanger. They should be kept away from direct sunlight while under the bag. Watch out for condensation dripping onto the leaves which may result in spots. Don't let the soil dry out completely at this time. They won't be as drought resistant until the root systems are re-established. But as you found out, AV's are susceptible to root rot and shouldn't kept overly moist.

The soil mix you made is soilless with no nutrients so you'll need to resume regular application of fertilizer AFTER they recover -- i.e. Roots start to grow. Use dilute concentration at first.

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Kisal
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If you cover them with plastic, be sure to ventilate them at least once a day. While they like some humidity, the top growth will rot if the air is too moist. Personally, I prefer to use a humidity tray.

If your violet had any roots left at all when you repotted it, it should be fine with a little time. The only ones that are really difficult to root are the ones classified as chimeras.

I've started a couple of African violet threads in the [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=21]Container Gardening[/url] section. I'd love to find another member here who really loves these beautiful little plants! :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

ZGonso27
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Wow that's extremely helpful. I really appreciate the help guys! Would it be too much humidity to do a humidity tray and cover it in plastic? With a dry Minnesota winter on it's way they made need all the help they can get. And absolutely Kisal! I adore these wonderful plants. I will head over to those threads as soon as I can! :)

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applestar
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Oh yes! Sorry -- I usually snip the corners of the plastic bag. I have a very dry house, especially in winter time, and this seems sufficient.

Humidity tray is usually the recommendation, but I find it difficult to maintain. I'm experimenting now, though, with plastic take out container trays with snap on lids. I often use the main tray for drip tray -- it occurred to me that I could punch holes in the lid, flip it (the lid sits pretty securely on the main tray), and fill the main tray with water. Any water that drains from the pot will drain through the holes into the drip tray. I have two of my mini-African Violets and 4 cutting-grown rosemary plants sitting on these now. 8)

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Kisal
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The plant will need help with humidity until it has a full root system again. Otherwise, it will lose more moisture through evaporation (transpiration) from the leaves, than it can absorb through its compromised root system.

My favorite method for plants that need help with humidity while their roots are getting established is to set the container on a humidity tray, then place a plastic tent over the entire thing. I do not use closed tents, though. I have a little thing that is for adding space to a cabinet. One of these things (without the dishes, of course! :lol: ) ...

[img]https://i252.photobucket.com/albums/hh27/Kisal_photos/10291.jpg[/img]

Anything similar would work. The important points are sides that are open enough to allow air movement, and a top that allows plenty of light to reach the plant. A wire basket turned upside down over the plant and its humidity tray would work fine, for instance. You probably already have some item on hand that would suffice.

Then, I drape clear plastic over the rack, so it covers the top and 2 sides. It doesn't have to completely cover the 2 sides, it's okay if the plastic ends an inch or two above the surface the tray is sitting on. That allows enough moisture to be trapped in the air around the plant, but also allows some ventilation, to avoid fungal diseases or rot from setting in. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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applestar
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Ah! I LOVE re-purposing useful gadgets. :D That's a great idea. Now that you mention it, I have a folding "locker shelf" that I'm using in my pantry which is somewhat taller and might be useful for the same purpose. 8)

What do you use for humidity trays? (... though I do have a feeling you described yours somewhere else recently... :wink:)

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Kisal
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I use all kinds of things for humidity trays. :lol: For the tray itself, I use anything I find around the house that is watertight, fits in the space I have available, and isn't being used for some other purpose. To support the plant above the surface of the water, I've used sections of the plastic "egg crate" used on fluorescent light fixtures. I've used old wire cooling racks, such as are made for cakes and cookies. I've used the wire racks that come with toaster oven-sized broiler pans. As often as not, I just turn a small plant saucer upside down in the humidity tray and set the plant container on top of that. What you use doesn't have to be fancy. Some of this stuff I find for free at garage sales, or I get it from friends who are planning to throw it out.

All you need is something to support the plant above the water level. Even an old piece of scrap wood could serve as a support for the container. It isn't necessary for the water container actually to be filled with anything, like sand or gravel. You just need something big enough to support the plant container, and tall enough to keep the bottom of the container out of the water in the tray.

Unless the support is reusable, such as one of the small cooling racks I've collected, I just pitch it in the garbage when I'm finished with it. That's where it would probably have gone anyway. :lol:
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

ZGonso27
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Alright so two more questions: First, if the remaining leaves on each plant are still drooping should I leave them be? Second, how long should I keep the bags on for and what signs should I be looking for in regards to new healthy roots? I really appreciate all of the help, you are both great.

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Kisal
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You'll know roots have grown, when the plant begins to produce new leaves.

The plants may continue to be droopy until new roots grow. Even then, you removed some of the dying roots, and the leaves that had been receiving moisture through those roots may just die.

When roots are removed from a plant, either by cutting them off or because they die, the top of the plant is usually pruned, too. It's okay to just let those leaves die and then remove them. If you feel more comfortable with it, you can "prune" the top of the plant back, but I, personally, wouldn't do that with an African violet. I wouldn't know exactly which leaves to remove. Because of the way African violets grow, attempting to prune back the top could lead to a misshapen plant. JMO. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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