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Parma Help!

October 28, 2008


A friend sent me a Duchesse du Parma and a Duchesse du Toulouse (I think these names are correct) for my birthday April 08. I planted them, they grew beautifully all summer, and I repotted them a month ago. I brought them in, as it is starting to get cold. Toulouse looks quite well, however, Parma has me very worried. Parma has been on a steady decline since the last repotting, and is now vaguely yellowish. Prior to the repotting it was gorgeous, with tons of runners off to the side. Can you please help? I have always wanted these violets, and am very fond of them for many reasons. I am fairly knowledgeable about plants, and used to successfully grow orchids, as well as a large garden--so feel free to be specific. Thank you for your help!

Comments (4)

  • nathalie


    well..you don't need to bring them in as they need a winter..or just a cold frame..Then you should take the runners out ( and root them elsewhere) Perhaps a bit of fertilizers can help..Check if there is no red spider nor aphids
    good success and keep us informed

  • brandymulvaine

    tcgal-is that tc as in Traverse City? If so we're neighbors!! I don't have any parmas but do have many others. I do bring many of mine inside even though they would do fine outside, I can't stand not being able to smell them! I have mine in a west facing picture window and a few in the kitchen window. The temp in the big window right now is between 72 and 68(Galilean thermometer)it is usually around 68 or less.
    Liannes' flowers have turned to seed and I don't know if she could self-pollinate or if she had an affair with her shelf-mate V. striata! (Tom, you could be a "grandpa"!)
    Maybe move the parma back out since the weather will be nice the next few days and when it turns bad again move it to the south side(or anywhere sheltered from the north wind) and put one of those glass bells over it? I have one if you need it:-) Whould that be enough protection, guys?

  • trianglejohn

    I have given up on them as potted plants. They do so much better in the ground. If your winters are too harsh just protect them with mulch (I use upside down ceramic flower pots filled with dry leaves). Mine do tend to bloom way too early in the year so I miss out on most of the bloom season. Virtually all of my violets go dormant, dying down to the soil surface so yours might be just going to sleep for the winter and not really dying.

  • stefanb8

    I could imagine a scenario where something in the soil is causing the yellowing -- if for instance the new mixture is too dense, resulting in excessive moisture retention and root rot. I have little to no success keeping temperate violets indoors; they can do well that way for a while provided they are kept cool and relatively humid, but they do need a free-draining and well-aerated growing medium with adequate (but not excessive) moisture.

    I grow them happily in pots on my outside window ledge, and have discovered that they can tolerate protracted cold (at least teens to low 20s Fahrenheit) provided they are thoroughly covered with plastic or sealed in bags until the temperature is more moderate again. They only seem to suffer badly if their foliage becomes freeze-dried (which also leaves the crown quite vulnerable to cold damage) by leaving them exposed to the harsh winter air. My method is, in effect, a substitute for cold frame culture given the circumstance of not having open ground to grow them in. I've been known to bring them into my refrigerator if temperatures in the single digits are imminent, so I can't say for certain how far they can be pushed, but such temperatures are rare enough here that it is little trouble to coddle them through the winter. By contrast, I find it much more difficult to keep them happy through our ridiculously hot, humid summers; they need quite a lot of shade and immediate attention if spider mites find them.

    Ideally, you would be able to grow them in the ground with the protection of a cold frame or cloche, and when you want to enjoy the fragrance indoors, you pick blossoms for the vase. In a harsh climate, zone 5 and colder, this may not be enough protection for a Parma, and some other accommodation might be needed. A cool terrarium in a bright window may work, but you would have to experiment -- just be careful of the soil and watering!

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