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Extension > Yard and Garden News > Q&A: African violet is wilted

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Q&A: African violet is wilted

Question: After being healthy for many years, my African violet leaves are still green, but suddenly wilted, limp and hanging over the pot. What has happened and what can I do - if anything -  to revive it?

Answer: Houseplants wilting can be due to several factors. Most common is either under or over watering, so check the soil. If it is very dry, water the plant and see if it revives. If the soil is wet, then remove the plant from the pot. Carefully remove the wet soil and check the roots for rot (brown - black soft roots), a common problem in over watered houseplants. Constantly wet soil in houseplants causes not only root rot, but also fosters fungus gnats, a fruit fly that thrives in wet soil. If a majority of the roots are still white or light-colored, prune off the rotted roots, and re-pot the plant in soil for African violets. You can water from top or bottom with water at room temperature or slightly warmer. Allow the plant to drain well.

Plants may also wilt from an excess of fertilizer build-up. Fertilizers are salts and can build up in soil and cause desiccation (drying) of the plant. You can see it as a white crust on the surface of the soil. Fertilize at half the recommended strength when you see new growth on the plant. Flush the plant occasionally with clear water.

African violets foliage may also be affected by sudden cold or freezing. If your plant was in a cold location or has been in a window that is drafty, the cold temperatures may have affected the foliage as well.

Resources:
Caring for Houseplants in Northern Minnesota - U of MN Extension
African Violets  - U of MN Extension
African Violet Care - Purdue University

Houseplants: Proper Care and Management of Pest Problems - NDSU

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