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Why Are My African Violet Leaves Turning White?

Why Are My African Violet Leaves Turning White?

African violets are a beloved houseplant known for their stunning purple colors. Originally found in the mountains of Kenya and Tanzania, they are now globally known as ideal indoor plants.

Your African violet leaves may be turning white for a variety of reasons. The slightest alteration in light and temperature could potentially change your African violet leaves’ color. The color change could also be the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation, or even disease.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about why your African violet leaves are turning white.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew is a fungal disease that could be affecting your African violets. This fungal disease appears on a wide variety of plants and leaves white powdery spots on leaves and stems.

This particular infection disease is common and often spread by insects. The mildew grows best in humid environments. 

If only a few leaves have turned, you can salvage the plant by decreasing humidity and increasing air circulation.

Powdery mildew can also be managed by spraying standard fungicides on your plant. You should spray the fungicide regularly to prevent or manage the infection.

Some plant owners have reported using milk to fight this mildew. Some plant owners have effectively eliminated the disease by diluting milk in a spray bottle and spraying directly onto the affected area.

Genetic Mutation

Genetic Mutation

Some African violet leaves are fully green, while others present differently colored patterns or marks. The white leaves on your African violet might be what is known as variegated leaves.

A genetic mutation most often causes variegated leaves. A plant that was once green-leafed may experience a spontaneous genetic mutation, causing the new leaves that grow to appear totally white.

These white leaves have less chlorophyll— the green pigment that allows a plant to grow— than their green counterparts. The variegated leaves will tend to grow more slowly than fully green leaves.

Plants with variegated leaves will also need brighter light, as they have less chlorophyll. However, if the plant is not getting enough light, it will react by making new, all-green leaves so that it can have more chlorophyll and, thus, more energy.

While variegated leaves in and of themselves aren’t necessarily bad, you may not be pleased by how they look. 

If your plant has variegated leaves, you may want to move it away from a natural light source to encourage it to produce more green leaves.

Too Much Direct Light

Too Much Direct Light

Another reason your African violet’s leaves may be turning white could be a result of lighting. African violets need indirect sunlight to thrive.

If your African violet is getting too much direct, natural sunlight, the plant will be harmed. Too much light will slow the growth of the plant.

In addition to slowing the plant’s growth, too much direct sunlight can cause the green leaves to turn pale. This is a result of chlorophyll destruction.

Too much sunlight can not only turn your African violet leaves pale but can also burn the leaves. Excessive sunlight can also lead to less flowering on your plant.

To remedy pale leaves due to too much light, either move your plant away from the windows or place your plant on a north or east-facing windowsill where it will see less direct sunlight. 

Be sure to rotate the pot once a week so that all sides of the plant can receive light.

Alternatively, leaf bleaching can occur when grow lights are used too often. For best results, your African violet should receive bright, natural, indirect sunlight.

Sudden Changes in Temperature or Light

Sudden Changes in Temperature or Light

A sudden change in temperature or light can trigger a spontaneous genetic mutation. If the color change on your African violet leaves is subtle, it may be a case of this spontaneous mutation.

The sudden change will shock the plant and cause it to react dramatically. In some cases, this can cause white leaves or white flowers suddenly appearing.

If this is the case for your African violet, don’t worry: the spontaneous genetic mutation is not harmful to your plant.

To prevent any of this kind of discoloration, be sure your African violet is getting enough bright yet indirect light. Be aware that any sudden changes in temperature or lighting may cause a spontaneous mutation.

Ring Spot

Ring Spot

If your African violet leaves are turning white in spots, your plant may have African violet ring spot. Ring spot is not technically a disease, even though it may seem like one.

White spots can appear on your African violet leaves when the leaves themselves are watered.

Basically, cold water damages the foliage, giving the plant something like frostbite. The chloroplasts are then damaged, thus dampening the bright green color of the leaves.

Ring spot cannot be reversed. However, it can be prevented, and thankfully, it is not harmful to your plant.

When watering, be sure that you do not get any water on the leaves. It is advised to water from the bottom up. You can do this by adding a little bit of water to the saucer beneath your pot and allowing the plant to soak up the water that way.

You can also prevent ring spot by buying a self-watering pot. Self-watering pots will eliminate any risk of getting water on the leaves.

If you do resort to a self-watering device, be sure to use a pot that drains well. Too much water will make your plant susceptible to root rot.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on August 4, 2020.

Cyclamen Mite

Cyclamen Mite

The cyclamen mite is a small mite that can’t be seen by the human eye. It is a common pest on African violets.

Like powdery mildew, cyclamen mites thrive in warm, humid environments. They are commonly found in greenhouses.

The cyclamen mite can cause intense harm to your plant. They pierce the leaves with their mouth and suck out the cell contents, causing damage to the foliage.

The cyclamen mite is extremely small, measuring in at 0.02 cm. Because of their extremely small size, they can often go undetected until after the damage is done.

Leaves infected with the cyclamen mite will become discolored, distorted, usually curling inwards. The leaves often become streaked or blotchy.

The mite will spread to other plants, so take care to keep an infestation from occurring in your greenhouse. Generally, it is better to throw away an infected plant than to try and remedy the problem.

However, if you wish to try and treat your plant, you can do so by submerging your plant in water. The water should be 110°F (43.3°C), and the plant should be beneath the water for around 30 minutes.

If you wish to use chemical options, be sure to isolate the infected plants. This will save your other plants.

First, prune the infected areas. Then, spray your African violet with insecticidal soap. Repeat the process every three days until improvement is seen.

Root-Knot Nematode

Root-Knot Nematode

Another culprit that could be discoloring your African violet’s leaves is the root-knot nematode. It is a parasitic plant worm that attacks plants from the roots up.

The root-knot nematode will cause nutrient stress in your plant, which may lead to yellowing, wilting, and stunting.

Often, the root-knot nematode can cause blister-like symptoms known as galls on the roots, bulbs, or tubers of your plant.

Like the cyclamen mite, the root-knot nematode is very difficult to see. They are smaller than what the human eye can detect. Even if you could see them, they live in the soil.

A plant impacted by root-knot nematodes usually will not exhibit symptoms right away. The plant will grow more slowly until the infection spreads to the stems, leaves, and flowers. The root-knot nematodes can spread, so be sure to isolate any infected plants. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure once root-knot nematodes reach your African violet.

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on August 4, 2020.

Final Thoughts

Those are the most common reasons your African violet leaves may be turning white. The good news is that in most cases, the discoloration is both harmless and treatable!