If the leaves on your African violet are drooping, it is because there are one or more environmental factors that are not optimal for the plant.
It is possible that the leaves are drooping because you have just brought it home from the store, you are not watering it properly, or you are giving it too much fertilizer.
In this article, we will discuss the different reasons the leaves on your plant may be drooping, and how to solve each problem.
So, if you are currently struggling with drooping African violets, just keep reading.
Why are my African violet’s leaves drooping?
1. Stress from moving
One of the reasons your African violet’s leaves are drooping may be that it is still adjusting to a new environment. If you have just bought the plant and brought it back to your house, remember that the conditions in your house are different from those in the greenhouse or nursery where the plant was growing before.
Greenhouses and nurseries have ideal growing conditions for plants. The temperature and humidity are optimal, they are watered correctly, the light levels are just right, and they are fertilized just enough. Remember that these plants are grown to be the best they can possibly be in order for them to be sold quickly.
The moment you remove the plant from the nursery, the temperature and humidity will be different and these environmental changes will have an immediate effect on the plant. No matter how hard you try to replicate the conditions of the greenhouse, you will never get it quite right, unless you build your own greenhouse on your property. The best you can do is create conditions in your home as close as possible to the growing conditions in the greenhouse.
The environmental changes will cause the plant stress, which is why the leaves start to droop.
There really is not much you can do in this situation, aside from providing the best possible care for the plant as it adjusts. Over time, it will adapt to its new surroundings, provided the conditions are not too far removed from those of its natural habitat.
2. Improper watering
One of the most common reasons your African violet’s leaves may be drooping is that you are not watering it correctly.
Improper watering techniques can cause a host of problems in African violets.
If you are underwatering the plant, the soil will become too dry and, because the plant is not getting enough moisture, the leaves will start to droop.
Save an underwatered plant by flushing the soil with water until the excess flows out from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Make sure all of the soil in the pot is wet so all of the roots have access to water.
If you overwater the plant, this can also lead to drooping leaves. When the soil around the plant’s roots are always waterlogged, the roots will drown and die. Opportunistic pathogens can then take advantage of the situation and exacerbate the roots’ decay. The rot will travel up the plant until the crown root is also affected. Because the roots are badly damaged, they can no longer effectively transfer nutrients and water from the soil into the plant, and the plant will become malnourished and waterlogged. The leaves will become soft, mushy and droopy.
Save your overwatered plant by checking the roots for rot. Remove the plant from the soil and shake or wash off as much soil as you can from the roots. Inspect all of the roots and remove any brown or black roots using sterilized scissors. Spray the healthy white roots with fungicide and let the plant dry out on a paper towel.
After a few hours, when the roots are dry, replant the African violet in a pot with drainage holes using fresh, well-draining soil.
Water your plant only when the soil is dry to the touch. If the soil is still damp when you touch it, wait one or two days and check it again.
3. Too much fertilizer
Giving your plant too much fertilizer can also cause its leaves to droop. The buildup of mineral salts in the soil leads to fertilizer scorching and burning. This manifests as the browning of the leaf tips and edges. If the buildup of mineral salts reaches toxic levels, it can kill the plant.
The mineral salts will build up on the petioles and stem of the plant, as well as in the soil and around the rim of the pot.
Save your plant by flushing the soil several times with lukewarm water until about four or five cups’ worth of water has flowed out of the pot’s drainage holes.
Repeat this process every few weeks, even if you do not see buildup, as long as you are fertilizing the plant. Do not fertilize the plant for the next few months until you are sure that all of the fertilizer has been flushed out. If you do resume fertilizing, make sure you use a diluted and gentle solution on the plant.
The leaves on your African violet will start to droop if any environmental factor causes the plant stress. To fix the problem, you need to figure out which factor is causing the drooping.
The most common causes of drooping African violet leaves are stress from moving, incorrect watering, or too much fertilizer.
As long as you provide the plant with growing conditions as close as possible to those of their natural habitat, the drooping should correct itself and your plant should get back to normal.
Image: istockphoto.com / O_Lypa