African violets may have come from South Africa, but since they arrived in this country in the 1930s, they have become one of the most popular household plants. They are generally easy-care and long blooming but look out for nematodes.
Nematodes of African violet are tiny worms that infest the roots. They are extremely destructive. For information about African violet root knot nematodes, read on.
African Violet with Root Knot Nematodes
You’re not likely to ever lay eyes on African violet root knot nematodes even if your plant is crawling with them. That’s because nematodes are so tiny that they are not visible to the naked eye. What’s more, nematodes of African violets dwell in the soil. They feed inside the roots, leaves, and stems of the plants-- places a gardener is not likely to look.
In addition, an African violet with root knot nematodes doesn’t show symptoms right away, just a gradual slowing in growth. By the time you notice the problem, your houseplants can be severely infested.
The long-term symptoms of nematodes of African violets depend on the type of nematode involved. Two types are common. Foliar nematodes live inside the leaves and cause browning on the foliage. However, the root-knot nematodes in African violets is more destructive and also more common. These pests thrive and grow in moist, porous soil. Females penetrate the roots of the plant, feed on the cells, and lay eggs there.
As the eggs hatch, the young nematodes that stay in the roots cause them to form gall-like swellings. The roots stop functioning and the plant’s health declines. Yellowing leaves turning down at the edge are surefire symptoms of root knot nematodes in African violets.
African Violet Nematode Control
When you see your plant’s beautiful velvety leaves becoming dull yellow, your first thought will be to save it. There is no cure for an African violet with root knot nematodes though. You cannot get rid of the nematodes without killing the plant. You can exercise some African violet nematode control by preventing the problem, keeping nematodes out of your soil.
First, realize that African violet root knot nematodes can easily move from soil to plant and from plant to plant. So, you’ll want to isolate any new plants for a month or so until you are certain they are free of the pest. Destroy infected plants immediately, taking care with the infected soil and all water draining from it.
You can also kill nematodes in soil by using of VC-13 or Nemagon. Repeat this procedure frequently, but realize it only works on soil and will not cure an African violet with root knot nematodes.
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Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.
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