on African Violet
bought a small African violet at the garden centre purple,
double flowers, huge healthy green leaves. Now it is decidedly sick
with a white covering over leaves and flowers. It looks as if it
is covered in a fine film of flour. Maybe it's mould? What can I
do to save it?
is likely to be the fungal infection of powdery mildew, which appears
on buds, flowers and leaves as a white powdery deposit. It usually
appears when overcrowding occurs, i.e., when plants are placed close
to one another (as can sometimes be so at garden centres), in wet
conditions, or when it is hot, humid and still.
This can be prevented
by ensuring there is adequate air movement around your plant at
all times. If you have more than one African violet, space them
well apart to allow for better circulation. The infection can spread
rapidly and spores of the fungus are airborne.
When watering your plant,
make sure you do not wet the leaves (as water can become trapped
in the hairs) or at least allow sufficient time for it to dry out
before dark. Foliage that stays moist is prone to fungal disease.
Do not allow your plant
to become wet and cold, or hot and dry. Move it into a warm room
To treat, flowers and
buds should be taken off the plant, and the foliage sprayed with
a fungicide for powdery mildew. Repeat spray until symptoms have
As a point of interest,
African violets like to be slightly rootbound. Repot only when roots
totally fill the container. Do this in between flowering, and place
back in the same pot with fresh soil. Simply cut off weak or damaged
roots. Keep the soil moist at all times.
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH