Poor Shrinking Violet


Since I began to write this post, I believe I’ve already answered my own question:  What could make African Violet leaves curl under?  I Googled the question and this would seem the likely culprit:

African violets grow best with daytime temperatures around 70-72°F and a night temperature around 650F. Night temperatures below 65°F produce malformed and discolored plants. Leaves curl under and become brittle when exposed to prolonged cold temperatures. In winter, protecting plants near windows from cold drafts is especially important.

Hmm.  Poor Violet sits in front of the patio doors that lead onto the balcony — a spot that gets lots of indirect sun, but also a location that gets a steady mix of warm and cold.  The heat radiator runs along the bottom of the door, and as the apartment is almost always too warm (from hot water pipes that run through the walls), we often have the door open an inch or so, even in colder weather.

But, even though this would seem a likely cause of Violet’s new curls, can anyone that grows these lovlies weigh in?  Other than that, it appears healthy with lots of new growth.  Poor Violet.  Sigh.



Author: nancybond

A writer, photographer, naturalist from small town Nova Scotia, Canada.

10 thoughts on “Poor Shrinking Violet”

  1. I would probably have the same problem in my house, although I’m never warm enough in the winter to have a door/window cracked! I wish I had some good advice but I’m sure someone else will know how to help. They sure are pretty when they’re blooming.

  2. I’m sure it’s the draft from being that close to the patio door Nancy. They are a tropical plant & don’t do well when the temp drops.

  3. Are the leaves brittle or floppy? Brittle would mean too cold; floppy is probably too wet or too dry.

    Ah, they are floppy, so far. I’ll pay close attention to their watering. I generally water sparsely because I tend to be heavy-handed with the watering can. :) But perhaps they are not getting enough. Thanks for your input!

    What I found about African violets and temperature when I did my Saintpaulia post:

    There’s a fairly narrow range of temperatures where Saintpaulia do well, roughly 60-80ºF (16-27ºC). If they are too cold, they will all but stop growing, the new growth will be smaller and fuzzier than the older growth, and variegated varieties will become much less green, with thicker, whiter, more brittle foliage. Cold temperatures may also, under humid conditions, cause dew to condense on the leaf edges, which can lead to leaf spotting.
    Plants which are too hot, on the other hand, tend to lose variegation, and produce small or sparse flowers, which may not open fully (this is particularly an issue with doubled or frilly flowers). Cold seems to be a bigger problem than heat, all other things being equal.

  4. A friend gave me some leaf starts last December and they took ages to grow, but now they’re nice little plants and one has had a few flowers. Recently I noticed that they have colorless patches on the leaves. Maybe these are the ‘spots’ mentioned in Mr. Subjunctive’s comment. Mine sit in front of the sliding glass door, which is drafty. I just moved them, thanks to the above advise :) My friend’s advise was water from the bottom and feed with African Violet food. I need to get some of that. Sorry I’m not very cluey on the subject. I hope your little violet perks up and does well. They’re so pretty!

  5. Nancy, when mine do that, they get limp and I’m sure it’s from overwatering. They do much better if I tend to underwater. Mine have gone through spells where they grow like crazy, bloom, then for some reason, I get that floppy, curled leaf business.

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