Monday, February 26, 2024

Leaves curling downward

Question:  The leaves of my violets are curling downward and center growth appears very crowded.  There is no evidence of mite, and I suspect it may be the cold temperature in my growing area.

Answer:  Yes, the problem is likely the cold growing environment.  When grown in very cool conditions, many violets will exhibit symptoms similar to cyclamen mites.  Center growth will be very tight or bunched, leaves will be more “hairy”, and growth will be stunted.  So before discarding any plants or using toxic chemicals, ask yourself if cold temperatures may be the cause.

How cold is too cold?  As with many things, this depends partly upon the variety being grown.  For example, many of the species Saintpaulia will tolerate temperatures much lower than will the modern hybrids.  We find that most varieties will tolerate temperatures as low as 60f degrees.  They will grow much slower, but otherwise look healthy.  Any colder than this, and most varieties simply stop growing and exhibit many of the symptoms described here. 

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