Temperature - Too Cold
African Violets prefer a temperature of about 70 degrees F. Though many Violets will tolerate temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees or higher, they will perform best when day and night temperatures vary no more than five degrees either way. If the temperature gets too cold, African Violets will suffer. At the very least, they will stop flowering, and plant growth will be slow. In more severe cases, leaves and flowers will begin to wilt, and the plant will go into shock. Moreover, the cooler temperatures leave Violets vulnerable to such pathogens as Crown Rot, especially if accompanied by excessive moisture. If not immediately corrected, cold temperatures will be fatal to African Violets.
If the larger side of the plant is furthest from the window, then the plant is probably suffering from cold temperatures. You should suspect a draft coming from the window.
While it may be difficult to distinguish the symptoms of cold from those caused by other conditions, you can be sure that your Violet's poor performance is at least partly due to the cold when the temperature dips to 60 degrees or below.
Note: Symptoms of cold exposure may take up to 36 hours to appear.
Depending on the extent to which your Violet was exposed to cold temperatures, you may or may not be able to resuscitate it. Once a Violet begins to show symptoms of exposure, it is often too late. However, with a little luck and the proper care, you may be able to revive it.
First, move your Violet to a warm temperature. Next, remove any tissue which has become dark and mushy. This will prevent the spread of rot. Discontinue watering and fertilizing, but maintain high humidity. One way to do this is to use the bag method. Place your Violet in a clear plastic bag and close the top with a wire twist. You should begin to see signs of recovery within a few days. To allow full recovery, however, keep the Violet bagged up for about one week. At this time, return your Violet to its usual watering and fertilizing schedule.
Keep Violets as close to 70 degrees F as possible. In all cases, avoid prolonged exposure to temperatures below 60 degrees. Be aware of cold drafts coming through windows, and keep your Violets insulated from them.
For more about proper temperature and other factors of air quality, see "Caring for African Violets."
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