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blueberrybundtcake

African violet leaves losing color

What does my African violet want? It's clearly less than thrilled, and I'm thinking it's probably a nutrient issue.


Referring to the middle one, of course:


This is the plant that had major issues a little over a year ago. It is in different soil than its friends.

Comments (15)

  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/5b MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Would any of these plant foods that I found in the closet be good for this?

    Miracle Gro's N-P-K is 7-7-7.

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    last year

    i doubt it.. tip it out of the pot.. and lets see if you rotted the roots off it....


    if it needs food.. we can do that later.. lets rule out some other things ....


    and i hope you mean its in different MEDIA than the others.. and not soil.. mother earth ...


    it seems like it stems are shorter than the others also ...


    ken


    ps: my God woman.. how many magical AV foods can one girl own.. its a magical closet no doubt .. lol .. i would presume.. its all marketing mumbo jumbo.. and one is little different that the other two.. so when its time to fert... flip a 3 sided coin ...

  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/5b MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Yeah, yeah, dirt, soil, media ... same difference in my book. Comes in a bag and is for planting in pots. I go to get "dirt and mulch," buy a bag of "potting soil," and use that medium to my plants in. Call it whatever.

    The plant foods were bought at various times and then go to the closet to sit next to the shoe polish and be forgotten ... or maybe multiply. They don't really get used. I couldn't tell you for what purpose or in what year any of them were bought. I suspect the tub is the newest and the box is the oldest. They all have different NPKs, so I suspect one is for blooms and one is for growth and the third is for?

    Here are some older pictures of this violet:

    It is the back violet in this picturefrom 2020:


    After its recovery in 2021:



    Picture from 2017:



  • party_music50
    last year

    If you haven't been giving these AVs any fertilizer then you definitely should. They all seem to be showing signs of needing feeding and any of the products that you show should help them. I just use generic Miracle Gro (5-10-5), but very dilute -- like 1/4-1/2 tsp per gallon of water -- and use it most of the time when watering.

    BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/5b MA thanked party_music50
  • intwilight z6a KS
    last year

    Of the 3 fertilizers you have, I'd use the Miracle Grow. You can dilute a lot as party_music said and use it every time you water, or fertilize specifically on a schedule (the label should say how often). Whichever makes more sense for you.


    N = nitrogen, leaf development

    P = phosphorus, mostly geared towards blooms. I don't like the ones with much higher P

    K = potassium, just general plant health


    Good luck getting your plant healthy!

    BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/5b MA thanked intwilight z6a KS
  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/5b MA
    Original Author
    last year

    I don't think any of these plants have been fertilized in a long time if ever.


    That's very useful to know what each nutrient promotes. I'll mix up some of the Miracle Gro to dole out to the hungry violets.


    Should I do something different for the one in the front (with the "girl" leaves) if it's practically in constant bloom? (It's not a coincidence that it's blooming in every picture ... it blooms at least once every couple weeks. The others aren't as frequent.) I think it'll have a bit of a respite after its current flowers, as I don't see any obvious buds, so that'd probably be the time to feed it, right?

  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/5b MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Yes, I got that ... just wasn't sure if blooming plants indicated a different ideal ratio. I have one that's 4-3-6 from my Aerogarden, which I use if and when I fertilize tomatoes and pepper and for the Aerogarden when it's running.

    I tend to remove leaves when they lose their suppleness and twist off easily, but I can cut the discolored leaves off if it would help ... guess they don't really have much chlorophyll anyways, so probably not very useful.

  • intwilight z6a KS
    last year

    No, not needed. Just stick with the balanced Miracle Grow.


    The discolored leaves do not heal, so you groom them off and expect new growth.

  • iochroma
    last year

    Jack’s is far better than MG or Shultz’. Use that in the fiture.

  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/5b MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    So, iochroma, you would recommend the Jack's even though it has such a high Phosphorus? What makes it better?

  • iochroma
    last year

    It is the result of the most advanced research on AF culture. Jack's is the descendant of Peter's which was the top choice of serious AF growers for decades. It is complete with micronutrients. MG and Shultz' are junk IMO and anyone who recommends a "balanced" fertilizer just doesn't know about plant physiology.

    Just use the Jack's and watch what happens.

  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/5b MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    2 more questions:

    1. Does it matter whether I have hard water or soft water? Calcium (and magnesium) obviously isn't part of the NPK formula, but is there any effect (good or bad) from different levels of water hardness?

    2. The Optimara site recommends 14-12-14 fertilizer as "high bloom fertilizer." Are they recommending that because it's what they sell, then? And why is it high bloom if Phosphorus is the element geared towards blooms and is the lowest in that formula.

  • tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Some nutrients are mobile in the plant (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium). The light older leaves is almost certainly indication the plant is robbing (at a minimum) nitrogen and magnesium from older leaves for use in newly emerging foliage. Magnesium is central to molecules of the green pigment, chlorophyll, while nitrogen is essential to formation of amino acids and an important structural component of chlorophyll.

    There are two theories regarding how plants take up and use nutrients. One is called the 'original theory' and suggests all plants need different NPK %s. The problem with that theory is, no one can decide on or agree what %s of nutrient each plant wants/ needs. That, and the thought that plants WILL take up more of some nutrients than they can use, casts doubt on that theory. Witness the hundreds of different NPK %s and ratios suggested as "critical" to growing healthy AVs as proof of the disagreement re what plants need/ want.

    In the 1980s, the work of Professor Tom Ericsson, researcher in plant nutrients at the Swedish Agricultural College in Ultuna showed specialty fertilizer products (tomato fertilizer, citrus tree fertilizer, "bloom boosters", orchid fertilizer, ad infinitum) aren’t necessary; that all plants use roughly 6X as much N as P and about 3/5 as much K as N. This is called the 'contrary theory' and has gained wide acceptance since it was discovered. Once the calculations are made, 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers (24-8-16, 12-4-8, and 9-3-6 are all 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers) provide nutrients at almost exactly those rates.

    The phrase "up - down - all around" came into being as a way to remind us that nitrogen is for the upper part of the plant /shoots and leaves, phosphorous is for the lower part of the plant/ roots, and potassium is for the plant's general well-being, right? Wrong. All nutrients are equally essential to normal growth. Some of you know about Liebig's Law, which states there are 6 factors that affect plant growth and yield; they are: air, water, light, temperature, soil/media, nutrients. Liebig's Law of Limiting Factors states the most deficient factor limits plant growth and increasing the supply of non-limiting factors will not increase plant growth. Only by increasing most deficient factor will the plant growth increase. There is also an optimum combination of the factors and increasing them, individually or in various combinations, can lead to toxicity for the plant.

    Since plants use 6X as much N as P, why would we ever provide them with such huge doses of P? The popular "Bloom Booster" type fertilizer 10-52-10, provides 13.6X as much P as the average plant can use, relative to N usage. A fertilizer that provides 10% nitrogen should contain about 1.67% P, which means the middle number should be about 3.9 or 4, not 52. 10-15-10 fertilizer provide about 3.9X as much P as a plant can/ will use.

    When phosphorous is present in excess, it limits uptake of Calcium, potassium, copper, zinc, and especially iron. High-P fertilizers also force the grower to fertilize at much higher EC/TDS (fertility) levels than when using fertilizers with more appropriate ratios.

    ".... is there any effect (good or bad) from different levels of water hardness?" Unless you know what the level of hardness is, what element(s) account for the hardness, and make allowances by adjusting your nutritional supplementation program for their presence, the effects are going to be deleterious. The question is, to what degree. Most of the issue will center around a slow upward creep in pH caused by carbonate build-up, which can be somewhat resolved by acidifying your water, changing your water source, or using an acid-forming fertilizer.

    Do you have any questions or input?

    Al

  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/5b MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I do know the hardness, actually ... here's the town water report:


    it doesn't specify whether hardness is calcium, magnesium, or combined, though. I think I might have some litmus strips somewhere that I could test the pH with ... just have to remember where they were last I saw them.