An overwatered African violet plant can be identified by the falling off of flowers, stunted growth, drooping leaves, brown leaf spots, and root rot. However, the most dangerous effect of overwatering is rot.
Despite having enough nutrients and water in the potting soil, the African violet plant discolors, wilts, stunts its development, and can even fail to flower.
If your African violets are struggling to survive due to overwatering, this recovery guide will be very useful to you.
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- What Is Causing My African Violet Plant to be Overwatered?
- How Do I Revive My African Violet Plant?
What Is Causing My African Violet Plant to be Overwatered?
Your African Violet plant is being overwatered because of heavy potting soils, poor drainage, excessive irrigation, overly large potting containers, and shifts in environmental conditions. Although this plant is quite easy to care for, neglecting one of the aforementioned overwatering drivers can spoil the well-being of your African violets.
You should, therefore, inspect your plants regularly so that you can diagnose overwatering earlier.
– Heavy Potting Soils
Clay claims a substantial composition in heavy soils. Its tiny particles are tightly packed together, closing all air spaces. If the African violet plant is planted in this type of soil, the risk of crown and root rot is high. After irrigating the soil, it holds the water longer before draining out.
If the African violet’s roots stay in wet conditions for a long time, they will suffocate and die. Continuously soggy soils make perfect habitats for fungi that feed on the root tissues, thereby disturbing their nutrient and water absorption abilities.
At this point, the leaves start turning yellow, wilting, and falling off. Another overwatering sign that you should watch out for when using heavy soils is an unpleasant smell that results from continuous sogginess.
African violets love loamy soils as they are nutritious and well-draining. Air circulation within this soil type is very excellent due to a high composition of sandy grains that prevent compaction. You should know that when porous soil is combined with a well-draining pot, your African violets are more likely to flourish.
– Poor Pot Drainage
Planting African violets in pots that have insufficient drainage facilities is one of the major causes of overwatering. As you irrigate this plant, the water will have nowhere to go, so it remains captured within the potting soil.
It takes a very long time for the soil to lose moisture as a result of evaporation, especially when the plant is being grown indoors. Despite the soil having good drainage qualities, if the water remains pot-bound, overwatering takes place.
Sometimes, the available drainage holes on the container may have been closed by dirt or debris. In this case, you should reopen them using a disinfected screwdriver or any other utensil available.
You should see the moisture loss rate increasing soon after practicing maintenance of the drainage facilities. Also, some pots may have fewer holes that may not suit the expected or desired rate of water loss.
You should consider acquiring terracotta containers for potting. Apart from drainage holes, terracotta containers have the added advantage of their porous walls, which aid further water loss.
Without proper drainage, the African violet plants tend to start showing some overwatering symptoms. If the plant is neglected on the watering front for a long time, it easily gets engulfed in rot and its recovery chances become questionable.
– Excessive Irrigation
Watering African violets too frequently before the soil dries up will most probably lead to the loss of available precious nutrients.
Unnecessary watering denitrifies the soil, thereby starving the African violet of much-needed nitrogen. Once this happens, foliage development declines, and the available African violet leaves will turn yellow and eventually fall off.
Magnesium is another useful nutrient that easily gets washed out of the soil and its absence causes yellow spots on the African violet leaves. Also, when the soil is constantly moisture-saturated, the plant risks succumbing to edema.
As the plant consumes water too frequently, its cells get damaged from constant saturation. Small wart-like spots that are brown start showing up at the base of the African violet leaves.
To know the right time for watering, you should notice the soil getting cracked, dust-dry, and firm. You can also see the leaves getting dry or crispy in addition to having dark leaf edges if your plant is now desperate for water.
If your budget allows, consider acquiring watering devices like the Watership, Water maid, Optimara, Maxiwell, and Miniwell, which conduct self-service watering on your African violets. These gadgets are very useful, especially for growers who are not always present at home.
– Extremely Large Pots
If the African violet’s roots do not fill the container, they try to absorb as much moisture as possible from the soil. Once they become saturated, they cannot take in more water and this leaves them stranded in wet conditions.
Remember, when watering the soil, you should deeply soak the soil until water runs out through the drainage facilities. This means that the excess soil in the large pot prolongs the water’s stay, thereby keeping the root system troubled as it cannot take in moisture anymore.
When grown in an extremely large pot, the African violet plant invests most of its energy to fill the available space. Its roots take in large amounts of the supplements to expand and fill the base of the pot, thereby starving the rest of the foliage.
As the roots keep absorbing supplements for their expansion, they take with them more water, a situation that keeps the plant cells saturated. Large pots are also potential breeding habitats for rot-causing fungi due to their constant water-logged state.
Keep in mind that larger pots take longer to lose moisture than smaller ones. As you keep irrigating the soil, nutrients get washed deeper beyond the roots’ reach, thereby ultimately leading to malnutrition.
We therefore, encourage you to use small fitting pots for African violet care. We also advise you to use an Azalea pot as it is shallower than standard containers, with its height being only three-quarters of its top’s diameter.
– Shifts in Environmental Conditions
During dry and hot seasons, you should water African violet plants at most once a week. However, you should inspect the potting soil first and ascertain that it is dry enough to receive another dose of water.
In cold or humid conditions, you will find your African violet roots drowning in excess water if you do not reduce the irrigation frequency. Moisture loss is very low in humid conditions as the atmosphere cannot absorb more water from the soil and plant due to saturation.
You should note that the rate at which water is drained from the plant and soil is greatly affected by shifts in environmental conditions. Some of these conditions change just by moving the plant from one place to another, even within the same house.
Rooms like bathrooms are constantly saturated with moisture, so if you transfer the African violet to such places, watering should be cut back significantly. Consistent watering when the soil cannot release excess moisture is likely to give way to overwatering.
How Do I Revive My African Violet Plant?
You can revive your African Violet plant by refraining from irrigating, pruning the affected plant parts, removing the plant from the pot, cutting off the infected roots, repotting the plant in a new soil and pot, watering the plant correctly, and giving it proper care.
Saving an overwatered African violet plant is very possible, especially if the symptoms are noticed earlier. However, it can be hectic to save plants that are in an advanced state of rot as you need to commit more time and attention to it.
– Evaluation of Overwatering
Before taking any stance against overwatering, you should know the extent of damage as well as the possible causes of this problem. This way, you can now use the correct steps in reviving your plants without any danger of damaging them further.
In certain instances, you may only need to relocate the plant from one spot to another even under the same roof for it to re-establish itself. Therefore, taking the correct action at the right time will give you positive results.
– Stop Irrigating
Allow your African violets to lose excess water first. This can be done by extending the watering frequency and making sure the soil’s first two inches are completely dry.
Empty the saucers or drip trays and allow the water to drain out completely. The water in the drip trays has a tendency of saturating the immediate environment that is close to the base of the container through evaporation, thereby keeping it mildly wet.
You should take advantage of the dry soil to shake up and loosen it a bit using any suitable tool that is available. To prevent harming your precious plants further, you should sterilize all gardening tools you intend on using.
Be as gentle as possible to avoid disturbing the already troubled root system of your African violets. Loosening the soil creates wider airways that enhance oxygen circulation around the roots.
– Prune the Affected Foliage
At this stage, you should remove all the leaves and stems that are showing overwatering signs. Yellow leaves and the edema-attacked ones cannot revert to their natural green form, but you can remove them to pave way for new healthy growth.
When carrying out the pruning process, avoid giving room for any bacterial infections to access the vulnerable plant. Disinfection of the pruning shears before, during, and after using them should, therefore, be prioritized.
You should begin pruning from the bottom of the plant, going up. Make neat incisions and avoid deep cuts that injure the plant, making recovery very hard.
The longer the wound takes before healing, the more exposed the plant gets exposed to infections. On an important note, pruning helps the plant to direct the little energy it has toward the recovery and upkeep of the remaining foliage.
– Remove the African Violet From the Pot
If the African violet does not respond satisfactorily to reduced irrigation, the problem might be underneath the soil.
You should, therefore, safely remove the plant from its pot for root inspection. Spread a tarpaulin or cardboard sheet on the ground in a shady spot. Now, place the plant on the tarpaulin or cardboard and spread the root mass so that it dries out.
You should leave the roots lying on the ground so that they get air-dried overnight. For smaller plants, it can take only about four to five hours to completely lose moisture. When the roots are dry, carefully shake them out to remove all soil particles.
– Cut off the Infected Roots
Use a clean pair of scissors or shears to cut off dead and infected roots. Unwanted roots are black, brown, or bright orange and can also produce a foul smell. Also, look for roots that are shedding off their outer coating like an onion. These roots are usually soggy or squishy when you touch them.
Removing dead and infected roots gives way for new ones to emerge. Considering that rotting roots are fungi-infected, you should properly discard them.
– Repot the African Violet in New Soil and Pot
Having removed all the affected parts of your overwatered African plant, it is now time to replant it into fresh soil and a clean pot.
Before repotting your plant, disinfect your pot and tools as well as thoroughly wash your hands to get rid of any bacteria that may contaminate the fresh soil. Take note that any form of infection sets back the revival process, so consider eliminating all possible fungi-intrusion chances.
Irrigate the new soil with one to four parts and add three percent hydrogen peroxide to the water. In other words, use a ratio of one cup of hydrogen peroxide to four cups of water.
Peroxide kills all fungi, bacteria, insects, eggs, or larvae, leaving no chances to harm the plant in the future. For small African violet plants, you should use a pot that is at least one inch wide. Also, consider a two or more inches wide pot for mature plants.
Ensure that the soil is slightly acidic, rich in organics, and well-draining. You can prepare a perfect potting soil by mixing two parts coco coir or peat moss, one part vermiculite, and one part perlite for proper drainage and structure. The inclusion of coco coir or peat moss provides the best pH for your African violets.
– Water the Plant
Proper watering is an important African violet plant care requirement and it should be done within the limits. You should water African violet plants when they have settled in their preferred well-draining container.
Deeply soak the typically dehydrated potting soil with clean water. We recommend using rain water, but if it is not available, you can employ distilled or filtered water instead.
Ensure that the soil gets dry before the next overwatered African violet irrigation. This gives the plant adequate time to breathe while avoiding infections at the same time.
– Give the Plant Proper Care
Keep the once overwatered African violet plant in a spot that has bright, indirect light. This plant flourishes when exposed to consistent temperature and proper ventilation.
Indoor plants would love to get soaked with rain water that is maintained at room temperature. It should take a few weeks of proper African violet care to start seeing significant recovery signs.
Overwatering is one of the major setbacks that you can come across in African violet care, which implies that you should be careful about this aspect.
Outlined below are some of the key highlights of this guide.
- African violet plants will start growing slowly, developing yellow spotted leaves, wilting, and rotting when they are constantly overwatered.
- Proper drainage and using the correct watering frequency are the best ways to support an overwatered plant’s recovery.
- All dead and infected leaves and roots should be cut off from your plant to clear room for new healthy growth.
- Clean the tools, pot, and your hands before handling these or the new soil that you intend on using to avoid adding more infections to the ailing plant.
Growing your African violet plants can be very easy as long as they are exposed to proper growing conditions.
With overwatering being the main threat, just water the plant sparingly and give it proper conditions for recovery, thereby re-igniting your places with beauty!