– Ruth Coulson
(Ruth is with the Australian African Violet Association and lives on the Central North Coast of NSW)
(Originally published on the African Violets Down Under Facebook page.(www.facebook.com/groups/241227626277942/?fref=nf)
You may have heard us all say what you must do if you purchase a new plant or if you enter one in a show and then bring it home.
It can seem very discouraging, if not completely scary, and may limit what you do with your plants.
But DON’T PANIC.
It’s really not all that bad.
Yes, it is essential that you take great care. It is a much better idea to avoid pests and diseases than to try to eradicate them after they have got into your collection of African violets.
The approaches taken by different growers vary.
One grower was known to remove every flower from her show plants before even taking them out of the show room for fear of thrips.
Another grower refuses to take any plants home from a show and has even been known to throw them away so not to have any problems in her collection.
Still another one had a special light stand in a different room especially for a quarantine area.
I also know someone who never buys or accepts a growing plant, but only leaves, an idea that I tend also to follow as this is a good way to be sure not to introduce soil mealy bugs.
Inevitably, though you will have some plant that comes to you in growth or even in flower or something that comes home from a show or meeting. So, after careful inspection for problems, what is the least painful thing to do?
Especially if you are a fairly new grower you won’t want to strip all flowers from a plant if it is looking beautiful.
Just make sure that you keep it in another room away from your other plants. Enjoy it in your home while it is looking good. When the flowers have finished is time enough to take other measures. If you don’t really need the plant and have nowhere isolated to put it, consider giving it to a plant-loving friend that doesn’t have other African violets.
If you don’t have anywhere to use as an isolation ward you can create a spot of isolation by using large clear plastic containers. When covered, the plants can share space with the rest of your collection without fear.
Spraying? I prefer not to unless there is a visible reason for it. A light spray with Neem Oil can be used as it is said to make the plants less attractive to pests.
I came back from a recent show with some plants that I would rather have sold. But at the moment several are gracing the foyer of our home which is very bright and is well away from other violets. Another has already spent a week as a centrepiece for the dining table and looks good for another couple of weeks.
Just don’t let fear of pests deter you from sharing your violets with others. That’s half the pleasure.
I would be interested to hear what other members of the group do in these situations.
Quarantined away from the growing room