I had two pots of Saintpaulia (African Violet). They've been doing pretty well, lots of flowers, and breeding! However one of them has starting having bugs. When the blossoms open up, there are one or more of the three types of bugs. I've been trying to kill them with a cotton swab dipped in white spirit/ alcohol, it's helped a lot in reducing the bugs, but still there are some. I was observing my other pots, and they were all fine, until the other one had some flowers recently and I found a few bugs there, as well.

These brown bugs are the largest among the three that I see:

bugs on african violet

The second type is the white, small bug, I know there are lots of white spots on this picture, but not all of them are bugs! Just a few. They're pure white, with pure white limbs! Very small.

white small bugs on african violet

The third type that I don't have a picture of, is yet another brown bug, but long and thin, as if it's a very thin, narrow piece of stick, or just a thin thorn.

Is there an efficient, easy, home-made solution to this issue?

This is how the overall plant looks:

enter image description here

And this is the baby pot born from my other pot. They seem to be doing good, as well; but I noticed the leaves seem a bit curly. Is this also a bug/fungal, or is that normal?

enter image description here

  • What part of the world are you in? And what are the tan coloured flecks on the tops of the leaves in the last picture - is it just soil flecks? Have you checked beneath the leaves to see if there's anything that shouldn't be there?
    – Bamboo
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 8:59
  • @Bamboo I'm in Ireland. Just checked beneath the leaves and they seemed pretty fine, except for one green bug on the edge of one the leaves that I killed! The flecks are just the compost/soil from after I separated those babies and planted them. I've been too lazy to take the time to clean them, as the leaves are pretty crispy.
    – Neeku
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 11:17

1 Answer 1


Classic troubles with Saintpaulia in the UK are whitefly, mealybug and cyclamen mite. The latter causes curled leaves, and if left untreated, will lead to distortion of the stems and any flowers will wither. Mealybug would be obvious, you'd see white fluffy deposits on the plant with close inspection - whitefly is difficult to treat, since they're quite resistant to most pesticides.

On the assumption your plants are in the house and not in a greenhouse, you may have to resort to using something like Provado Ultimate Bugkiller, but take the plants outside if its not too cold if you decide to spray them and bring them straight back in afterwards. They won't like being taken anywhere other than where they are, they tend to stop flowering for a while if you change their position. You may need to repeat treatment after 3 weeks if the problem is whitefly. Otherwise, more 'organic' methods of treating them are exactly what you're doing now. Whatever the insects are, the main plant appears to be flowering very well.

  • Hi Bamboo. I'm in the process of applying neem oil spray to my tomatoes, I was wondering if I should apply it to my ficus bonsai, and the african violets as well? The bonsai seems to have mild curly leaves, too.
    – Neeku
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 10:58
  • 1
    You can use neem oil spray on the Ficus and the violets - but on the violets, it needs to be a very fine spray, not enough to produce droplets that will sit on the leaves or in the crown. Not sure I'd use it on the Ficus unless I knew it had a diagnosed problem, sometimes the leaves look reasonably curled on those anyway.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 17:32

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