African violets are widely grown beautiful houseplants. They have velvety shining green leaves and produce beautiful colorful flowers.
But the problem is this pleasant flowering plant is prone to many general problems. Brown spots on African violet leaves is a common problem.
There is a number of factors that trigger brown spots and crispy edges in African violets. The main causes are fungal diseases, bacterial blight, leaf rust, overfertilization, low humidity, incorrect watering, and leaf injury.
Below is the complete guide to reversing the brown edges of the African violet leaves.
1. Natural Aging
This is the natural reason behind brown spots on African violet leaves. All African violet leaves have a life cycle of a few days.
Once they reach the end part of their life. They turn brown crispy and fall off the plant.
This is totally normal and you cannot do anything about this.
Leaves that are at the bottom part of the plant are old leaves. If they are brown and crispy then your plant is fine.
And it is totally natural process.
You can remove them manually or let them complete their time and fall off naturally.
But if the middle leaves or top leaves are turning brown or they have brown spots. This indicates that there is a serious problem with the growing conditions of African violets.
2. Low humidity
General humidity for African violets is 50% or above. In low humid growing conditions, African violet leaves start losing stored moisture.
This turns them crispy and brown.
At first, the plant uses the moisture stored in the root ball. Then the plant starts using moisture that is stored in the leaves.
Once leaves lose 60% of moisture they develop brown spots and crispy edges.
To solve this problem, you need to maintain the correct percentage of moisture in the air. If you live in the dry areas.
Then you can use the plant humidifier to increase the humid level in your grow room.
You can use the spray bottle and mist some water on the plant leaves on daily basis. Dehydrated African violets need more water than healthy hydrated violet.
In the traditional method, you can use a tray of pebbles and fill it with water. Then place your plant pot over it. Maintain the water level in the tray and your violets will thrive again.
3. Too much fertilizer
Overuse of fertilizers also trigger brown leaf tips and brown spots in African violets. When a grower supplies a huge amount of fertilizer to a plant to speed up its growth.
This results in a salt build-up in the root zone. These extra salts damage the root ball and also block the natural absorption system of the plant.
As a result, the roots absorb less water than normal, and due to less quantity of water plants produce less food and become dehydrated.
This results in weak plant and brown leaves. If you catch this problem in an early stage then you can save your African violets.
Once 70% of the roots ball gets damaged and the top leaves turn crispy brown. Then you cannot save your plant.
Always follow the recommended guideline written on fertilizer bottles. Every manufacturer put different concentrations of nutrients in their formula.
Therefore, you need to work according to the instructions. Do not follow other growers blindly. Because as I said every fertilizer formula is a little different.
Once you identify the cause then flushing the soil is the only way to save your plant. I prefer using new fresh soil instead of flushing the old soil.
Fresh soil not only saves your plant it also increases the life span of the plant.
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4. Leaf injury
Brown spots on African violet leaves also indicate leaf injury. This can be due to improper handling or by your pets. I have two pets and believe me or not they like to destroy my plants.
I always place the pots at some height because dogs cannot jump too high and my plants stay safe.
If the leaves are broken or the internal tissues of leaves are broken then they turn brown and crispy.
Because the broken part does not allow the nutrients and water to go into the leaves. Due to a lack of water and essential nutrients, the leaves of your African violets turn brown and fall off.
The solution to this problem is always to place your plants away from the reach of your pets.
You can also train your pets not to touch the plant’s pots. Also, handle your plants carefully while repotting them or fertilizing them.
5. Poor air circulation
African violet needs regular fresh air to grow healthy. Lack of fresh air invites many health issues. Brown tips are one of them.
Because in the absence of fresh air plants use more water to keep them hydrated. If you fail to supply enough water then your plant leaves start turning yellow and then brown.
To solve this problem, you can use a fan in the grow room. Or you can use the duct fan if your plants are growing in grow tent.
Plant roots need fresh oxygen to prevent the build-up of fungal bacteria. Root rot is a common problem where plants do not get proper oxygen.
6. African Violet Leaf Scorch
Leaf scorch is a result of prolonged exposure to high bright light. This extremely bright light absorbs the water that is stored in the plant leaf edges.
This first sign of leaf scorch is crispy brown leaves. Heat drafts, low humidity, nutrient deficiency, and fertilizer burn result in leaf scorch in African violet.
To identify this problem, you need to check the leaves. If the edges are crispy brown and some leaf edges are yellow.
This means the main problem is exposure to excessive bright sunlight.
Excessive sunlight dries out the leaves and results in yellow. Brown crispy leaves.
The first step is change the place of your plant. Move it to a less bright place where direct sunlight cannot touch its leaves.
But make sure African violets need plenty of bright light. Place them where they can get enough hours of bright indirect light.
Then give a good amount of filtered water to increase the water content in the plant.
Note: Scorched leaves will never turn green again. Therefore, for the best health of your plant cut them from the plant and save its energy.
7. Powdery Mildew disease
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that is common in houseplants. It is common in unhygienic growing conditions.
Too much humidity, warm weather, and low light conditions increase the chances of powdery mildew infection.
The fungal bacteria start eating the internal tissues of the leaves. As a result, the leaves become weak turns yellow and develop brown spots on leaves.
If you see a white or gray color powder-like substance on your African violet. This means your plant is in serious condition.
By damaging the plant tissues powdery mildew try to stop photosynthesis and weaken the plant.
First of all, isolate your plant from other healthy growing plants.
Then rinse your plant with anti-fungal soap. After washing it cut the highly infected leaves.
Buy a copper-based fungicide and apply it all over the plant including the healthy leaves. This will kill the remaining living fungus bacteria. Also, prevent further infection.
To prevent this condition, I suggest you use neem oil spray on all your plants. Neem oil is safe to use on all types of houseplants when diluted with water.
Expose your plant to sunlight because the sun rays are capable of killing the fungus and preventing it from reoccurring.
8. Rusting African violet leaves
Small circular spots on African violet leaves are called rust spots. They developed in highly humid environments + and when you spray too much water on their leaves.
This problem is common on low-humid days when you spray water on plant leaves and do not let them dry before the next spray session.
This rust slowly eats the plant leaves and can easily be spread to other nearby plants with the help of wind.
First of all, you need to prevent this problem. To do so limit the watering application even in hot weather. Let the soil dry a little bit before watering.
Improve the air circulation to keep the African violet leaves fresh and healthy.
If your plant is already infected then immediately isolate it to protect other healthy plants.
Then wear garden gloves and sterilize the knife and cut the infected leaves, and damaged stems. Do not put them in compost. Just dispose of them in the garbage.
9. Bacterial Leaf Blight
It is caused by the pathogen named Erwinia chrysanthemi. This pathogen is naturally found in highly humid and unhygienic places.
It enters the plant tissues through the tiny leaf pores.
Pests like aphids and spider mites also transport this disease from one part of the plant to another parts.
Generally, this pathogen enters through the damaged leaves.
Water-soaked lesions on plant foliage are the first sign of bacterial blight. You need to take quick action to get rid of this infection.
Because it spread at a faster rate and within 5 to 7 days it reaches the roots of African violet. Once it damages the roots.
There is no way to revive plant health. Propagation is the only method left in this condition.
- Slow Growth
- Tiny holes in the leaves
- Leaves turn pale, yellow, or brown
- Brown dots on the undersides of the leaves
- The best solution is to try to avoid this condition as much as possible. Keep the surrounding cleans and do not spray too much water on leaves.
- Sterilize the soil before use to kill all kinds of pathogens.
- Wash your hands before and after gardening work.
- Keep the garden tools neat and clean. Use rubbing alcohol to sterilize them.
- Separate your plant from other healthy plants.
- Cut the infected leaves and dispose of them in the garbage bin
- After cutting the leaves disinfect your tools
Ringspot is caused by using cold water for watering African violet. The general temperature of African violet leaves is 95 degrees F.
If it drops below 75 degrees F the light ring spots start appearing on the top surface of the foliage.
Unfortunately, you cannot do anything once the leaves are infected by the ringspot.
You cannot revive the plant’s health once it is infected by the ringspot. The only solution to this problem is to try to maintain the temperature of African violet.
- You can do the following to protect your plants:
- Use room temperature water for watering application
- Water your plant from below
- Avoid spraying too much water on plant leaves on dry low humid days
11. Pest Infestations
Mealybugs are common pests that attack African violet plants. They damage the leaf tissues and this results in less nutrient supply.
This results in brown spots on African Violet leaves.
Pests also spread fungal and other pathogen infections to plants.
- The first step is to inspect your plants closely and check for pest infestation. They are mainly found on the undersides of the leaves.
- Use rubbing alcohol to manually wipe the leaves.
- If the problem does not solve then use insecticidal soap and rinse your plant.
- Use neem oil spray to keep your plants protected.
- Keep the plant pot clean and regularly trim the yellow and dead parts of the African violet plant.