African Violet Leaves Are Curling – What Do Curling African Violet Leaves Mean

African Violet Leaves Are Curling – What Do Curling African Violet Leaves Mean

By: Mary Ellen Ellis

Africanviolets are among the most popular flowering houseplants. With their fuzzyleaves and compact clusters of pretty flowers, along with their ease of care,it’s no wonder we love them. But, there can be issues with these houseplants.If your African violet leaves are curling, there are a few potential causes andeasy solutions.

African Violet Leaf Curl Caused by Cold

If the leaves on your African violet are curling under, themost likely cause is temperature. These plants grow best when temperaturesduring the day are around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) and not muchcooler at night. Watering African violets with cool water can also beproblematic. Let water warm to room temperature.

Being too cold for too long will cause the leaves to turnbrittle and curl under. Other symptoms of cold stress include center leavesthat are tightly bunched together, stunted growth, and extra fur on the leaves.

The good news is that fixing this problem is simple. Youjust need to find a warmer spot for your plants. This is most likely to be anissue in the winter when window drafts cause lower regional temperatures. Usesome type of plastic insulation on the window to stop drafts. If your wholehouse is too cold, consider getting a small heat or grow lamp to warm up onearea.

Mites Can Trigger Leaf Curl in African Violets

Curling African violet leaves may also be caused by aninfestation of mites,although cold is the more likely problem. The mites that invade African violetsare too small to see. They feed on the new, center growth of plants, so lookthere for stunting and damage. Leaf curling is more of a secondary symptom. Youmay also see flower stunting or failure to bloom with mites.

With mites, it may be easiest to simply dispose of infectedplants. Disinfect any tools used on infected plants as well as the pot if youplant to reuse it. If you do want to save a plant from mites, you can find a miticidefor houseplants at your local nursery, or you can use an insecticidalsoap. Take your plants outside to use any chemical not rated forhouseplants.

Sunlight and African Violet Leaf Curl

African violet leaf curl may be caused by too much sun. Ifcold temperature is not an issue and if you don’t see signs of mites, look atthe light your plants are getting. African violets prefer bright but indirectlight. Too much direct, hot sunlight can cause leaves to brown and curl under.Move plants out of direct light to see if that stops the curling.

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What Causes Leaf Curl In African Violets: How To Treat African Violet Leaf Curl - garden

I would first suggest taking any suspect plant to your county's local extension office,
they will check the plant out for free and that way you will know for sure that
you should treat for mites or something else.
There are many other causes that appear to be mites..

Please do not treat for mites unless you are POSITIVE that you actually have mites.

Here are CLOSE-UP photos of a Cyclamen Mite

Everyone will tell you that you can not see a Cyclamen mite with your naked eye
But this is just not true, if you have 20/20 vision (but they are almost invisible)
(The debut continues on if you can see mites or not, some universite sites
states that you CAN see them, and yet some say you CAN'T see them)
Although a 20x or a 30x magnifying lens will make it much easier
Yes, they are very small, about 1/100th inch long, with good eyes you can see them moving.
You can gently blow on the leaves and look to see if anything is moving around

Look at this image of just how small a Cyclamen mite really is.

Cyclamen Mite will cause leaf distortion in the new/center leaves.
The newest growth/Leaves in the center of the plant bill become severely stunted.
Leave become brittle, very small and my be cupped. Color may change to bronze, grey or tan.
Leaves tend to curl UP with cyclamen mites and down with broadmites
Also Cyclamen mites do NOT like lights, so this makes it even harder to find them.

ALL Cyclamen photos above and insects itself was confirmed
to be Cyclamen Mites by our University Entomologist

Discard badly infested plants
Safer Soaps, but might be too hard on Violets
and/or treat ALL Plants with a good miticide:
Avid, Akari, Floramite or Pylon

Di-Syston by Bonide, it "MAY SAY" it kills mites,
but it DOES NOT kill "Cyclamen mites" which is the most common mites on African violets..
Plants treated with D-Syston still had Cyclamen mites even after 30 days of treatment

Broad Mites

See these larger on my Leaf Problems - Photo ID Page

A close up photo is here
From Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Most but not all of the broad mite-infested plants had a strange yellow
or bronze-like coloration to the center leaves as well as the more obvious stunted appearance.
Leaves tend to curl UP with cyclamen mites and down with broadmites

Discard badly infested plants
Safer Soaps, but might be too hard on Violets
and/or treat ALL Plants with a good miticide:
Avid, Akari, Floramite or Pylon

Two-Spotted Spider Mite

Symptoms from this mite is similar to Spider mites
This mite can be seen with the naked eye, but are very small 0.2mm in size
Distortion of leaves, flowers and leaf buds are common
There may by the appearance of webbing covering leaves and/or stems
Webbing is noticeable in advanced infestations, look on the backs of leaves

Discard badly infested plants
Safer Soaps, but might be too hard on Violets
and/or treat ALL Plants with a good miticide:
Avid, Akari, Floramite or Pylon

Spider Mites
Leaves are turning yellow.
There will be webbing over flower buds, between leaves or under leaves.
If you look close enough you can see these moving around.

'ORTHENE' will help, Treat weekly so you kill the newly hatched eggs.
Or treat ALL plants with a good miticide like AVID

Avid is somewhat systemic in that it penetrates into
treated foliar plant cells where it remains active
while the material that remains on the leaf surface rapidly breaks down.
(source: Texas A & M University, Agricultural Extention Service)

Usage is 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of water,
so the 8oz bottle will go a long way

It's VERY IMPORTANT to use Chemical gloves when working with Avid
Also wear long sleeves, pants, eye protection and a mask
After treatment is done, remove clothes for washing and take a shower
Even though spraying works very well, some people want to hand dip each plant instead
The advantage of this, is that you cover 100% of the plant with Avid
Plus you won't have to worry as much with breathing in the Avid from the spray mist
But still wear long sleeves, gloves and eye protection because you will still splash Avid

Trusted Sources of Avid and other Miticides:

Rosemania Avid 8oz $99.95
B. T. Growers Supply
Cape Cod Violetry - Call (508) 548-2798
John there can answer ANY and ALL your mite questions that you may have!

To learn more on mites check out these other pages:

Copyright © 1995-2004 Steven Reed. All Rights Reserved.
Images my not be used on ANY other web site without Permission,
Full Credit Given and Web Link to my site

Too Much Water

When the lower leaves curl under, make sure you aren't overwatering the plant. The soil should never be soggy. Allow the top inch of soil to dry between waterings, and then give the plant as much water as the soil can hold. The excess water should drain freely though the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If it doesn't, make sure the holes aren't blocked. Don't forget to empty the saucer under the plant after 20 to 30 minutes. Overwatering and leaving the plant sitting in a saucer of water can lead to root rot.

How do you get rid of mites on African violets?

Washing aphids off African violets is one of the simplest ways to kill aphids, although the plant's leaves may end up with spots. Make a soap solution by mixing 2 teaspoons mild liquid dish soap into 1 gallon of warm water. Use a soft cloth or soft-bristle brush to gently wash the tops and undersides of leaves.

Also Know, how do you treat broad mites? First, isolate all infested plants. This is important, since Broad Mites move quickly from plant to plant. Next, treat with Dicofol (as directed on the label). You will need to spray three times, once every fourth day after the initial treatment.

Then, how do you kill cyclamen mites?

Heat treatment. Cyclamen and broad mites are heat sensitive and can be killed if immersed in 110 degree F water for 30 minutes. These temperatures are generally low enough to cause little damage to most plants but water temperature must be maintained properly and the whole plant, pot and all, needs to be immersed.

Do African violets get bugs?

The most common pests of African violets are cyclamen mites, mealybugs and thrips. Because it is very tricky to cure a cyclamen mite problem, it is often easier to simply throw out the infested plant. Mealybugs (scales) are also difficult to destroy, as they tend to lodge in the crotches on the crown.

Ultimate Demise

Typically, you notice symptoms of INSV before you detect thrips because the insects are so tiny -- only 1/16 inch long. Symptoms signal that plants are already infected and irretrievably damaged because there is no treatment or cure for viral diseases. Controlling thrips is difficult because they are able to develop insecticidal resistance. To protect healthy plants, discard all diseased plants immediately. Before introducing new plants to your existing African violet collection, isolate the newcomers in a separate room for at least 30 days so you can look for signs of disease.

Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist and a professional writer who has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, horticultural articles, and magazine and newspaper articles. After studying botany and microbiology at Clemson University, Blackstone was hired as a University of Georgia Master Gardener Coordinator. She is also a former mortgage acquisition specialist for Freddie Mac in Atlanta, GA.