Why do African Violet Leaves Get Brown Edges?

What is the average lifespan of an African Violet and are there plants that experience “old age?” I have had my 2 plants for 12 years and they are beginning to get brown around the edges of the leaves. They still produce blooms all year long. It’s just that the leaves are browning and getting gnarly.

Hi Sherry,

African Violets can live indefinitely with the proper care. It sounds like there has been a build up of fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small. salts, chemicals like fluoride or chlorine from tap water, or some other chemical in the soil that is causing the leaves to turn brown. So here are some of the questions I have. How often have you changed the soil? How often do you fertilize? Do you use tap water or distilled water? If you use tap water do you allow it to sit out over night before using it on your African Violet? Do you ever really flush out the soil with distilled water and allow it to drain out the bottom? I’d recommend giving your African Violet fresh new soil, using distilled water when watering, and always diluting your fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small. to 1/2 the recommended strength.