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Preventing Pests and Disease in African Violets


As with other plants, African Violets can fall victim to a number of pests and pathogens. In almost all cases, preventing them is easier than treating them. (For more details on specific pests and pathogens, see Doctor Optimara.)

  • Disinfect pots, tools and potting soil before using by soaking them in a 10% bleach solution.
  • Remove any spent flowers or leaves.  Many pests either feed on or take refuge beneath decaying plant matter and spent leaves and flowers can also attract fungi such as Botrytis and Pythium (Crown Rot).
  • Whenever possible, avoid watering from the top.
  • Make sure your African Violets are planted in the correct type of pot and that the pot size is not too large.  Always use a slightly shallow pot, such as an Azalea pot.
  • Stick to a consistent watering schedule and do not let the soil dry out completely before watering.
  • Be vigilant to the presence of any moths or other insects that may have entered your home. While many adult insects do not feed on African Violets, their larvae do.
  • Always maintain good air circulation around your plants. Botryis and Crown Rot flourish in poor air circulation.

When repotting, consider adding Diatomaceous Earth to your potting soil. Diatomaceous Earth is a fully inert, non-volatile substance that has proven effective in fending off certain soil-borne pests, such as Soil Mealy Bugs. The recommended ratio is 1/4 tablespoon of Diatomaceous Earth for every one liter of soil.

If you suspect that an African Violet is being affected by pests or disease, your first step is to isolate it. This will prevent other plants from becoming affected. Your next step is to determine the cause. If you are unsure, consult Doctor Optimara. Based on the symptoms, Doctor Optimara can quickly diagnose the problem and provide you with treatment options.