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African Violet Diseases – All You Need to Know

African Violet Diseases – All You Need to Know

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You find African violets as a houseplant in many US homes since it blooms up to 10 months of the year, but this hardworking plant proves susceptible to many diseases.

You will need to watch for four common diseases that this plant could contract to keep it healthy and happy.


African Violet Diseases

African violets can provide you with nearly year-round blossoms, but to keep them healthy, you need to guard against them contracting rot, botrytis blight, water spots, or becoming infested with mealybugs. You can protect your violets though by knowing the signs of each disease and how to treat it.


African Violet Diseases and How to Treat Them

Most African violet diseases attack its leaves. This affects the plant’s transpiration and, if you leave it untreated, can ultimately make your African violet die.

If you know what to look for and some basic houseplant maintenance, you can stymy these problems before they grow too awful.


Crown and Root Rot

Overwatering and poorly draining containers can cause African violets to develop crown and root rot. The symptoms include drooping outside leaves and stunted growth of the smaller inside leaves.

The leaves turn black and shrivel up and die.

Another, less common cause of this disease is having the crown planted too deeply. When moisture collects around the roots and crown, it begins killing the violet.

You can try to save the plant by unpotting it, examining the roots, trimming off the diseased roots, and repotting it. This may not work, but you tried.

You can move the African violet to a container by itself. You need to keep it away from the other African violet plants you have so that the root rot cannot spread.

Before using the container that you kept it in originally, you need to disinfect it using a solution of water and bleach.


Bacterial Blight

One of two blights these violets develop; bacterial blight develops black rot on the crown and roots. It also may appear brown or dark red.

If the infection has reached the petioles, they will appear greasy or oily. Keep your infected plant away from the other plants.

Do not take cuttings from it. You should un-pot it. Trim off infected roots. Re-pot it in pasteurized media. Keep it in non-humid, moderate temperatures.


Botrytis Blight

The fungal disease Botrytis blight causes the leaves to develop a fuzzy coat and they turn gray or brown. The plant’s petioles develop lesions that move to its leaf blades and its flowers fade in color early.

Remove all of the infected leaves and dead leaves from the plant. Move the violet to an area or room with good air circulation.

Mites may signal potential Botrytis blight problems, so carefully watch for them and treat the pest problem as soon as you notice them. Quickly getting rid of pests can keep your lovely African violet alive.

To treat the disease remove the yellowed leaves and faded flowers. Space out the plants and move them to a well-ventilated area, so they can avoid a humid situation.


Water Spots

Water spots often develop on African violets. You will notice them on the leaves. When you water, and cold water lands on the leaves, it creates a ring of yellow or white.

Rather than killing your violet, this simply makes its leaves look a bit funky. You can prune them off. If you must mist it or water with a can, wipe the leaves off carefully after watering.

You can avoid needing to do that by watering it in a different way. You can set up a tray under the plant’s container, making sure to pour water into it and allowing the plant pull it into itself via the roots system.


Mealybugs Infestation

Although not a disease, your African violet does not want mealybugs. This pest will munch on your plant and stunt its growth. These waxy, white, quarter of an inch long bugs eat from the plant’s leaves.

Their favorite meal is African violet sap. If you notice something that looks like a honeydew on the leaves and it feels sticky, you found mealybugs. Treat the problem by applying an insecticide.

You can try a botanical pyrethrin spray or a soap spray. Spray both sides of the leaves. Separate the infected African violets from your other houseplants.

You can stop mealybugs from entering your home by inspecting all the plants before you bring them into your home.


Frequently Asked Questions about African Violet Diseases


What is the best container type for an African violet?

You should choose a container that has a water tray attached to it. This lets you pour water into the tray and avoid staining the leaves or overwatering. Your violet will feed itself on the appropriate schedule. It will only eat when it needs to do so. Provide it a roomy container and only pot one violet to a container. They like their space.


Should you fertilize African violets?

Use a water-soluble fertilizer in spring only. These plants only need a little help growing each year. Never fertilize them during winter.



Although lovely and capable of blooming nearly year-round, the African violet is prone to a few diseases. With vigilance and quick maintenance, you can stop the disease spread though.

Watch out for root rot, crown rot, bacterial blight, Botrytis blight, and water spots.

Although not a disease, mealybugs can infect these plants and eat them. You can clean off the bugs and spray them with insecticide to kill them.