african violets

i have 2. one is getting a 'trunk' where it's gotten taller & the leaves have died on the bottom. is there anything i can/should do about it, or just let it go? the plant still blooms like crazy. also, the leaves on both are a bit dusty & cat fuzzed. is there a way to clean the leaves? my mom always told me that african violets can't get water on the leaves... if that's true, how do they survive in the wild? lee
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Trunk: Nothing you can do about it. Time to take cuttings, root them, and make new plants. It's just a little tricky, but you can do it. Google search: rooting african violet cuttings.
Dirty leaves: Get a 1" artist's brush, not the softest, but just stiff enough to feel "right" for brushing the dust off of the slightly fuzzy leaves. Works like a charm.
Wild: I don't know.
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199.125.85.9:

Use a soft brush (like a camel hair artist's brush) to clean the leaves or spray them with LUKEWARM water and make sure they dry fairly quickly (read: not over a period of days). Try not to get water into the center crown which tends to rot if water collects there. African violets hate COLD water but they don't mind warm in moderation. Before a show, most AV people bath and groom their violets like showdogs.
As for the stump, I'll let someone else handle that. I'd just repot it deeper in the pot and let new roots grow out of the old stump but that's me and I've killed a fair share of violets in my day. :)
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wrote:

Repot. As usual, trim up the root ball if it's pot bound and bury the offending trunk in soil. It will form roots.... think of the plant as a big cutting.

Their leaves don't like to soak in water of course. Violets are pretty sturdy as you can tell. As far as the cat hairs, you can gently brush them off with a camel hair brush, train the cat to stay away from that area or learn to live with cat hair on leaves. We just joke that the reason voilets bloom so well is because of all that CO2 the cat exhales onto them.
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wrote:

Remove the AF, trim back the root ball, and set back (deeper) into the pot. But, it won't hurt the plant to leave it as is--why not, it's giving you flowers! Afs grow best in a pot no larger than 4". Clean the leaves using a pipe cleaner with one end bent into a loop; or, just use an old leaf to clean all the leaves.
Many fuzzy-leaved plants don't like water on the leaves. AFs may spot if cold water gets on the leaves.
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