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African Violet World - African Violet Pests and Diseases Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) African Violet Pests and Diseases Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)   This area is still under construction. In order to find out more about a particular pest or disease, I've reviewed the gesneriphiles archives on a particular topic to see what others have said about them. As a result, the following list becomes a useful reference of how to identify when your plants are suffering from a particular pest or disease, and how to treat it. Use your browsers 'find' function to look for a particular symptom. Pest & Disease Overview by Racette Mealy Bugs Powdery Mildew Pest & Disease Overview by Racette I am deeply indebted to racette@ibm.net for providing the following description of pests and treatments (I've tried to put them in order that decreases in the likelihood/severity). I've edited it slightly and make a couple of comments: 1. Resort to chemical treatments as a last resort. They can be toxic when used indoors over extended periods. 2. If you see some of the symptoms from below, don't immediately suspect the worst. Quarantine them from your other plants first, and see how they progress. Seek a second opinion if you can. Many treatments can be very harsh on the plants. 3. For bad infestations, it may be simpler to throw away all the infected plants and start again. This may be hard to do but may save you a lot of effort for no result. You may be able to use leaves from the infected plants as starters (check them carefully first). 4. Prevention is better than cure. Whenever introducing new plants, place them in a quarantine area away from your other plants for 1-3 months. If possible, keep you African Violets away from other plants, especially outdoors plants. Don't come inside from the garden and start working on your African Violets - wash your hands and possibly change your clothes first. 5. After working on diseased plants, wash your hands and any utensils you have used. Cyclamen mites Insects too small to be seen. Attack centre (crown) of plant. Leaves are grey, hard, twisted. Blooms are deformed and streaked. Treatment: spray with Kelthane, Orthene, Cygon or Malathion every 5-7 days several times. Follow with cygon drench, twice a week apart every 4 months. Blossom thrips Insects attack pollen sacs, which seem small, dry early and spill pollen. Thrips can be seen 1/8" on blossoms (with a magnifying glass). Treatment: Remove all blossoms. Spray with othene, cygon or malathion every 7-8 days several times. Soil mealy bug Insects feed on fine roots. Plants show wilt, lack of vigor, eventually rots. After removing plant from pot, insect 1/16" found on root ball and around plant neck. Treatment: Cygon drench plus a drop of detergent. Repeat twice more, 10 days apart. Then repeat twice every 4 months. Leaf (foliar) mealy bug Insects attack leaves and petioles.White cottonny puffs on leaf backs stems and crevices. Treatment: Spray with malathion or cygon. Crownrot Disease attacks roots. Plant wilts, lacks vigor and rots as roots die. Treatment: Once crown rot takes hold, may be difficult to recover (best suggestion is to prevent). Sterilize soil. Add fermate fungicide to soil mix(1 tbls/1 bushel of soil). Use coarse, porous potting mix (preferably special mix for African Violets). (Powdery) Mildew Disease attacks flowers and stems. White powdery fuzz on blossoms and petioles. Flowers are small and drop off early. Treatment: Dust lightly over and around plants once a week with Phaltan (rose dust) or spray with benlate or karathane. Use ventilating fan (direct near plants but not on them) to keep air moving. Aphids Small soft insects suck on foliage. Live in crevices and drop litter on leaves. Treatment: Spray with Malathion as needed. Springtails Threadlike worm jumping around soil or in saucers when watering. Considered harmless to the plant and regarded by some that your growing conditions are good. Treatment: Harmless - no treatment required. If in plague quantities, Clorox drench. Repeat as needed. Nematodes Worms live in main root. Plants show wilt, lack of vigor. Look for lumps among main roots. Treatment: Discard badly infected plants. Treat others with cygon drench. Repeat several times. Sterilize soil or repot. Spray dilutions: Drench Solutions: Kelthane= 1/4 tsp/quart Cygon 2E= 1/2 tsp/gallon Cygon 2E= 1/4 tsp/quart Clorox= 1/4 tsp/quart Malathion 50%= 1/4 tsp/quart Karathane= 1/4 tsp/quart Benlate(benomyl)= 1/2 tsp/quart Orthene= 1/4 tsp/quart I got all this info from the AV club that I belong to in Ottawa, Canada. I have been a member for 2 years. I have about 25 mature plants and many more in different growing stages. Unfortunately, I am running out of room. You can reach me at email: Racette@IBM.NET Mealy Bugs Date: 01 Apr 1996 20:52:31 GMT From: Brigitte_McKnight@citynet.org (Brigitte McKnight) To: kgehring@students.wisc.edu Cc: gesneriphiles@lists.Colorado.EDU Subject: Re: yellowing outer leaves. Message-ID: <611573661.4991972@citynet.org> Kris, there are at least 3 reasons come to mind regarding sickly looking outer leaves: 1. Old age. No matter how well you treat your plant the outside leaves eventually become sickly looking and die. Cure: cut them off, it won't hurt the plant, even when it is flowering, and there are new ones growing out from the center all the time. 2. Nitrogen deficiency. Nitrogen is a very mobile element and if there is not enough to go around the center gets it and the outer leaves are the first ones to turn yellow. Cure: use more of your present fertilizer or switch to one with a higher percentage of Nitrogen in it. 3. Soil Mealy Bugs. You may see them floating in your reservoir, or when you take the rootball out of the pot you may see them crawling around very slowly. Cure: a) drench with Knoxout or Endosulfan (recommendation by Dr. Charles Cole Extension Entomologist of the Texas A&M University System) cut off the crown at the soil line and/or set 1 or 2 leaves from the middle row after swishing them for 5 minutes in a 1/4 cup bleach/1 qt water solution (someone on this list gave me that procedure, I have used it and it has worked - so far). Brigitte_McKnight@citynet.org ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 23:20:07 -0500 From: klanham@netusa1.net To: gesneriphiles@lists.colorado.edu Subject: Re: Dying AV leaves Message-ID: <199604230420.XAA20877@web.netusa1.net> >I have several AV plants that look healthy but the outer leaves keep going >limp and dying. I keep the plants well watered. The stems look a little >mushy where the come from the palnt. Anyone know what the problem is. The >plants are dying little by little. > >Any help would be appreciated. > >Thanks! > > As I hope no one will discover I'm very new to using the Internet and my interest (read addiction) to african violets has been stimulated by some of the discoveries I've made here. With that out of the way let me pass along my experience on Dying AV leaves. Your problem may lie in your comment that you keep the plants well watered. I experienced similar leaf rotting when trying to wick water some of my violets when potted in soil which was too high in peat concentration. I seems the big commercial growers like to use a peat heavy mix to maintain mositure levels during shipping and subsequent time on the shelf at the point of sale. This mix is NOT acceptable for wicking or heavy watering either from the top or bottom. When leaving the plants in this heavy mix the soil must be allowed to dry out between watering to prevent root rot. If it sounds like this could be your problem remove the root ball from the plant and examine the roots. They should be numerous and white in color. If the roots are mushy and dark brown to black in color drastic measures are in order to save the plant. What I did was to wash as much soil and damaged root structure away using a soft stream of luke warm water in the sink. I then removed most of the outer leaves leaving 6-8 of the center leaves intact (that's about all the remaining root ball will support). I repotted the plant in a smaller pot in a potting mix of 40% peat, 30% vermiculite, and 30% perlite, gave them a light watering and placed them in a plastic bag in my intensive care ward. In two to three weeks the plant should recover most of its vigor and the bag can be removed. While the plant is out of the pot is also a good time to check for soil pests, mealybugs, and nematodes. Anything which damages the root structure will begin to show in the leaves. One other possible cause is petiole rot caused by the leaf stem resting on the rim of a pot which has fertilizer salts built up on it. Check the rim of your pots and see if brown crystals have formed around the rim. Also look at the underside of the leaf where it contacts the pot rim. If you see brown burn marks on the petiole or crystals on the pot rim it's time to repot into a clean pot. Cetainly hope I didn't get too long winded the first time out but it looked like a good opportunity to try this puppy out. I would appreciate it if someone would drop me a line and let me know if I used the reply features of this software correctly. Keith Lanham klanham@netusa1.net ------------------------------ From: owner-gesneriphiles To: Tonivr Cc: GESNERIPHILES Subject: Re: Benifical Insects Date: Monday, January 29, 1996 7:20AM Hi All, There has been some discussion of the use of Beneficial insects for control of pests such as Fungus Gnats, Soil Mealybug and thrips. I have used some beneficial insects in a production nursery. There is a very nice catalog with photos and descriptions that is a must have for people interested in this method of pest control. Sorry to plug an individual company but many of the others just list the biological names with limited information. So for your info: ARBICO po box 4247 CRB Tucson, Az 85738 502-825-9785 800-827-2847 fax 520-825-2038 I have had good luck controlling Fungus gnats using the mite Hypoaspis, and controlling thrips using the mite Neoseiulus cucumeris. Good luck Phil Soderman sgrower1@rain.org ------------------------------ To: Gesneriphiles Subject: RE: yellow leaves Date: Wednesday, January 03, 1996 5:19PM I would check the growing medium for small moving white specs. I personally have discovered this since the summer time and learned about nasty little soil mealybugs. Around the little beasts I've found extremely white powdery matter, that, I presume is a result of their activities. Just a thought... Kim Gray All Seasons AVS Milford, MA ------------------------------ To: jlsylves Cc: Gesneriphiles Subject: Re: yellow leaves Date: Thursday, January 04, 1996 7:23AM On Wed, 3 Jan 1996, jlsylves wrote: > I was wondering if any Gesneriphiles could help me find a clue as to > why the bottom leaves on some of my African Violets are turning > yellow. They all receive the same amount of water, in the same manner, the same > amount of fertilizer (Schultz AV food), and the same amount of light. The > leaves are not shaded from the light, and they are not too close. It As Kim said, you should probably check your soil for soil mealybugs. This yellowing of outer leaves is fequently one of the first warning signs you will see. If you don't find evidence of soil mealybugs after checking your plants' root system with a magnifying glass, you might try alternating between several types of fertilizer. In addition, I think some varieties tend to have outer leaves that just are not as long lived as other varieties. My real guess without seeing the plants is that it is probably soil mealybugs. IF that is the case, you will want to probably treat with Orthene if you prefer the chemical approach or you can try either diatomaceous earth or predatory nematodes if you would prefer a more "eco-friendly" approach. Good luck, and let us know what you find. James Rubottom Columbus African Violet Society ________________________________________________________________ James D. Rubottom jrubot@freenet.columbus.oh.us ------------------------------ To: gesneriphiles Subject: Yellow leaves on African Violets Date: Thursday, January 04, 1996 7:02PM I strongly suspect that yellowing leaves on African violets may be due to an infestation of soil mealy bug. This problem is widespread nationally, particularly over the last two years.The biggest problem is the fact that so many commercial growers are selling infested plants and novice growers who are not familiar with the signs of these critters are infecting their entire collections. Early last spring, I ordered from 3 different commercials who advertize in the African Violet Magazine and mealies were found in each order. For those who wick water, one tell tale sign of soil mealy bugs is a white film that will be floating on the top of the water in your reservoirs. In trying to get away from using so many chemicals in my home I have started using the predatory nematodes to control mealy bugs, and I am quite pleased with the results. In order to be successful with the nematodes you must be consistant with their application.........no more than six weeks apart. I would like to hear from others who are using the nematodes to hear about their success rates. Sharon Holtzman Cincinnati African Violet Society ------------------------------ From: owner-gesneriphiles To: gesneriphiles Subject: re:Bug Bombs Date: Monday, January 29, 1996 11:09AM If you want to try the bug-bomb type of insecticides, I have found they don't work against mealy bugs, thrips, or mites, so I'm not sure what else you might need to kill. I tried using them in succession, one 10 days apart to try to kill any residual bugs, no luck. Didn't harm the plants though. I used the "RAID" fumigator brand. Stephen G. ------------------------------ From: David Turley Subject: Re: nematodes vs. soil mealybugs X-Sender: deturley@unx.ahoynet.com >The president of my AV club asked me to ask the gesneriphiles group if any >one has had any experiences they can relate about using predatory nematodes >(Steinernema feltiae and Heterorhabditis heliothedis) against soil mealybugs. >Nature's Control P.O. Box 35 in Medford, OR 97501, phone (503)-899-8318, fax >(800) 698-6250 sells nematodes on small sponges which contain a million of >them and they say will treat up to 3000 sq. ft. of growing area each. 1 >million costs $12, 6 million costs $60. Do these really work? Does it sound >like a good idea? Any comments or suggestions for or against using them? > Is this a reputable company? Hi all! sorry to be so late in replying. We just ruturned from the AGGS convention in CA. (More on the plants, gorilla-boy, and elephant milk later!) We have used the nematodes from Nature's control on several occasions. They seem to work fine on small infestations. I used them at a much greater concentration than the direction call for, figuring most will just wash through the pot anyway. A sponge of 1 million is watered into about 400 square feet of growing space. When I posted comments about my experiences using beneficial nematodes on the Hobby Greenhouse mailing list, I received many comments from others you has used them, also with good results. I have tried nematodes from two other companies with absolutely no results, so I _do_ recommend Nature's Controls. Also, they will ship so that you receive the "bugs" the next day. Cheers, David ------------------------------ Wed Nov 02 05:41:01 1994 From: DETurley@aol.com Subject: mealies In her post Cheryl writes: >soap/alcohol treatment seems to work for only a short period of time. The bugs always come back. The soap/alcohol is a contact treatment. It only kills those mealy bugs with which it comes in contact. Persistence is the key. You just have to keep watching out for the buggers and hit them as them you find them. If a plant is badly infested it might be worth starting over from a leaf or cutting. Fortunately mealy bugs are slow travelers and don't spread fast. You need to look closely in all the crevices for the egg masses. I once knew a grower who couldn't seem to get rid of her mealy bugs, even after starting all the plants from leaves. It turns out she had poor eyesight and the infestation had gotten so bad that there where actually egg masses on the undersides of her plant shelves! There are some systemic insecticides that claim to work but of them I can only say DO NOT USE! Despite their easy and wide availability, these are nasty substances, but that's another tale. For foliar mealy bugs, stick with alcohol and patience. David Turley Fredericksburg, Virginia deturley@aol.com ------------------------------ Wed Nov 02 16:13:55 1994 From: OTTO NORAH Subject: Foliar Mealie Bugs (ick!) Another method of fighting foliar mealy bugs is to put systemic in your soil. You can get systemic at any garden store. Be sure to read the instructions for houseplants. Personally, I don't like to use chemicals if I can avoid it, and I have found that systemically treated soils smell every time you water for several months. So if the plant is replaceable, you might want to dump it. If you have the time, follow Dave Turley's suggestion of checking it continually and using alcohol. I have found that foliar mealy bugs get between the stem and leaf tissues in houseplants, even though no visible bugs or egg sacks are on either side of the leaves or the stems or crowns. In such an instance, a systemic is probably the only way to be sure to get them (I dumped the houseplants myself). Also a word of warning: be careful using alcohol on streps. I used it many years ago with a heavy hand on foliar mealy bugs and killed the plant fast. I believe they love streps... Norah Otto ------------------------------ Thu Nov 03 16:46:21 1994 From: "M. Yeutter" Subject: Re: mealies I got rid of mealybugs one time by just loading alcohol in a plant mister and spritzing the plants that way, rather than the cotton swab approach. I figured the plants were probably history anyway, but the alcohol didn't hurt them (impatiens, fuschias, and 2 African violets) at all. I made sure they were out the sun all that afternoon so the wet leaves wouldn't burn or anything. Before this, same infestation, I had tried a systemic insecticide to no avail. The room had a very bad chemical odor for about a week from that stuff. I won't ever use systemics again, that stuff was really nasty and didn't work. Marguerite ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 21 Nov 94 20:58 EST From: Christian Feuillet <0006219262@mcimail.com> To: Gesne Subject: Mealy, Mite & other pests In the Smithsonian Greenhouses, we go with the GOOD GUYS, = biolo gical control of pests with predator insects or mites. The people we work with at the moment are : Buena Biosystems P.O. Box 4008 Ventura CA 93007 tel.: (805) 525 2525 (This is not an ad) They provide us with among others: Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, a predatory beetle that looks a bit like a black Ladybugg (which it is). The larvae look like the mealies so well that they can fool even the ants that protects the mealies. Adults lay eggs in mealy egg clusters, and larvae are born in the middle of the banquet buffet. You must have confidence enough not to spray when you see an egg cluster, that's when the good work starts because they send you adults. Aphytis melinus, a micro-wasp that lays eggs inside female armored scale insects. Also a good jober (as would say my 5-yr-old daughter). Phytoseiulus persimilis, a predatory mite that eats mites. The last two are just visible (without my glasses) = smaller than gesneriad seeds. The problem with that type of method is that you have to bear the fear when the pest is thriving before the predators reach maximum efficiency. If you treat, usually you kill both the pest and the good guys. The second and third problems are minimum quantity (easy to solve, share the burden inside a club, or with any neighbors growing anything in- or outdoor) and the price (not really a problem compared to the #1 solution I read so often: throw away the whole collection, bleach the growing space, pots,shelves ... pray above the soil according to all known religions (including communism) and try again the same thing. No kidding it is impossible to replace a show quality plant. It has character of its own. By the way I do not care for show, but I have new introductions from the field or new undescribed species that I cannot replace either, if I have not been clever enough to give away cuttings. And what about a planned hybridizing program in final phase. Priceless. So far it works for us, accompanied by an occasional spray on 1 plant if its survival is in question. In general the pest level is low. and its survival here and there insure the survival of the predators. I cut here on that subject. Good growin' Christian ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 20 Nov 1994 19:03:13 -0500 From:LHBanchik@aol.com To: klaw@uclink.berkeley.edu Subject: Re: Discussion Group "Gesneri... Joan Selinger writes: > My first question is: Why do some of my plants seem fine one > day and the next they seem to be limp, the leaves are lighter in > color and they have a different texture? No matter what I do, > they linger for awhile and then die. Is there any remedy that > works? > I have heard that egg shells put in water are good for fertilizer. Is > this true and what is the proper way to apply (i.e., how often, how > long to keep.) I put them in a jar and keep adding water to the jar > each week. Should the contents of the jar smell to be effective, > or is the smell detrimental to the plants. > I have quite a few plants on a stand by a window. Some of these > plants reflower constantly, some seldom reflower and some have > never reflowered. What am I doing wrong? > Looking forward to hearing from you. In answer to question 1) It sounds like you may have soil mealy bugs. Unpot your plants and look around the root ball for small, about 1/4", white specks that look like rice. If you find them, poke them with a pin. If they move, you've got mealy bugs. Although you can try insectide drenches, sprays won't work, all are toxic. The most effective method that I've found is to restart all the plants from crowns in fresh soil. Remember to disinfect the pots by either using new ones or soaking the old ones in either Safers Soap, a 1/4 strength bleach solution or both. Also, avoid mat watering or wick watering using a common source of water, the bugs will climb down the root balls into the water and travel to other plants that way. If it's not soil mealy bugs it may be root rot. Check the roots again, they should be firm, white and flexible. If they are brown or mushy then you've got root rot. The best treatment is prevention. Since root rot is caused by overwatering, be sure to let your plants start to dry out between waterings. 2) I've never tried egg shells but they should be a good source of calcium and phosphorus. Most people I know who use them just grind them up and mix them in the soil. 3) Sounds like your plants may need more light. Some of the violets sold at commercial outlets, like garden supply centers, are bred to be heavy bloomers under minimal light conditions. Most of the ones obtained from professional AV breeders need up to 12 hours a day of artifial light at day to bloom well. Good luck LHBanchik ------------------------------ Mon Oct 31 08:34:15 1994 From: DETurley@aol.com Subject: soil mealy bugs I want to share a recent victory in our pest control battles and let you all know about a "weapon" you may not have tried. Many indoor and greenhouse gardeners have fought soil mealy bugs at one time. Some growers say that once you get them, you never get rid of them. You can only control their numbers. For those of you who may not be familiar with this pest (lucky you), they look just like foliar mealy bugs except they live in the potting medium and feed on the roots of the plant. This pest can cause stunted growth, and in large numbers may kill a plant. They spread easily and rapidly through run off from watering and can infect a whole collection before they are ever noticed. Despite their name, this pest can be found in soilless mixes and even in hydroponic set-ups. By catching the run off from watering you can see the pests quite easily. A few years ago many gesneriad growers began adding diatomaceous earth to their potting mixes. While some growers say this works, most have had little or no success with this method. The DE just washes out creating a white mess. The sharp edges of DE is supposed to cut the "skin" of the bugs. I have my doubts as to how well this works since in a moist mix the DE turns to mush. One theory I've heard is that it just coats everything white and you can't see the soil mealy bugs! Using a mild soap solution as a soil drench will help to control soil mealy bugs but, in my opinion, repeated use will created a mix that stays too soggy. While visiting a local "organic gardening'" shop recently, the owner gave me a package of beneficial nematodes. These are not to be confused with the harmful nematodes found in outdoor gardens. The label said there was 1 million beneficial nematodes on a small sponge, but who's counting! These good bugs are sold mainly to fight grubs in turf so at first I thought "What will I do with these?", then my thoughts turned to the few plants in our collection that have a persistent problem with soil mealy bugs. I was told that the microscopic beneficial nematodes do their work by entering the body of the pest and eating their way out. They are effective on any insect that lives at least part of its life cycle in the ground. They do not harm earthworms. I thanked my friend and headed home with visions of attacking my foes! To apply the nematodes, the sponge is rinsed in water and the solution is diluted with enough water to apply to the infected plants. Even though I only wanted to apply the mix to a few plants, I mixed enough to do a few benches of plants. The package was labeled as being enough for 1000 square feet of soil! I wanted to be sure to dilute the solution down enough to get a fairly representative application, but yet still allow for the large number of nematodes that might just rinse right through the porous mix. After just a few days I began checking those plants that I knew to be infected with soil mealy buds. I was finding dead soil mealy bugs in some of the pots! After a few weeks all of the soil mealy bugs appeared to be dead. I did not find any when I caught the run off from watering even the worse infested plants! I had also applied the nematodes to a tray of micro-miniature Sinningias that had large numbers of annoying fungus gnats. After about a month, while the gnats are still present, their numbers are significantly reduced. Since we occasionally find soil mealy bugs in our collection, I recently ordered enough from a mail order source to do my entire collection. (The shop that supplied my original batch of nematodes does not carry them this time of year.) I will then see when and if I find any more soil mealy bugs over the next several months. Have any of you tried beneficial nematodes? I would be very interested in hearing about your experiences. David Turley Fredericksburg, Virginia deturley@aol.com ------------------------------ Mon Oct 31 08:34:17 1994 From: Kathryn Dolores Law Subject: soily mealies David Turley's post was of great interest to me since I have recently started adding diatomaceous earth to my soil mix after reading the miracle cure claims of many who've used it. I didn't think I HAD any soil mealybugs, but recent repotting revealed small but significant populations of them in about six plants which all came from one grower. I was shocked to find them, not because I'm in denial about such things, but rather because these very plants, like all my others, had been treated TWICE with full-strength Di-sulfoton (Dexol) granules. These granules release insecticide with every watering for a period of six weeks. Two treatments, that means three months of exposure to an insecticide that does list soil mealies, and they survived. I have read that they are insidious because some of them will actually move through the soil to get away from water or insecticide, so drenching is usually ineffective to get rid of them unless done to the extent of killing the plant too. My solution was to completely strip the root ball off these plants, down to just a bare neck which was scraped to expose a fresh surface and repotted into soil containing about 50% vermiculite and 50% soilless mix which included DE. They have all now re-rooted themselves, and one even went immediately into bloom before it even put out new roots. I think that meant "thank you!" Short of this drastic solution, I don't think I could have gotten rid of them--I'm just so grateful that I don't have my plants on capillary mats or in a communal reservoir, I wouldn't want to have to do this to every plant I own! If these nematodes really work that well without negative side effects, what a wonderful thing! Kathy Law Powdery Mildew Don't panic. Mildew is something we all get from time to time. It seems to show up when there is poor air circulation, hight humidity, cool nighttime temperatures followed by hot daytime temps, and low light intensity. I often get a touch of it in the spring. You don't have to completely disbud. Pick off the blossoms with mildew, and then spray with the lysol at a distance of maybe 3 feet. Just let the spray mist over them. It may spot some of the dark purple or red blossoms. Get a fan going! That is usually all you need to prevent it. Pat in Anchorage ***************************************************************** I've had problems with powdery mildew too. What seemed to work best & leave fewer stains on the foliage was a combination of things. I sprinkle sulphur around the plant shelves....a lot. My plants were on wicking containers so if yours aren't, put in in many small containers (like jar lids) and set them among your plants. I think it is the fumes that do the trick. I always thought it was a little like putting garlick on your door to repel vampires but apparently the fumes really are what does the trick. I've also used benomyl when desperate but it takes away the shine on the leaves. I've used safers fungicide but it left the leaves very stained. Baking powder contains salt (SODIUM bicarbonate) & will pit the foliage as will the sulphur.....that's why you put it on the shelves instead of the foliage. If you can warm up your night temp, that will get to the root of the problem. Hope this helps. ______________________________________________________________________________ Carol Mark cmark@nsn.scs.unr.edu Sparks Nevada ***************************************************************** Last year the Gesneriphiles list folks gave me excellent advice on my first encounter of powdery mildew. First was to get better ventilation going w/fans. Secondly to spray the plants with a mixture of : 1/4 tsp. lysol concentrate 1 c. warm water mixed in a spray bottle Cover blooms w/your hand and spray the leaves, being careful not to let the mixture drain into the crown. Tip the plant so the runoff goes into the sink. Then after spraying the plant, I held it under the kitchen faucet and rinsed the leaves w/tepid water, again letting water drain into the sink. I didn't loose any leaves because of spotting, but I did disbud some of the worst blooms that had mildew on them. Hope this gives you some idea of what the lysol treatment is like. It worked for me. Donna Austin (skipper@netins.net) ***************************************************************** When I had a problem with powdery mildew last fall I used Lysol successfully. I would caution you against using the Lysol in the spray can and instead mix your own with liquid Lysol. You can control the strength and the temperature of the spray in this way. I used about 1/2 Tablespoon per quart of warm water in the spray. Paula Walker Seattle, WA ***************************************************************** (This page is under construction; Last Updated: 10 June 1996; By: Richard Trout) African Violet World Home Page - Books that Work Home Page Contact African Violet World's creator, or Books that Work, hosts of this site. Copyright 1996, Richard Trout