Mice Eat African Violets!

Grangers’ Red and White Strip

I have been growing African violets for about 40 years. One of the oldest plants I had with me, perhaps the last 30 years has been Granger Red and White Strip. I learned to propagate chimera African violets using tissue culture methods with this hybrid, and as I moved from one state to another to a new job, I made sure this was part of the collection I would bring. I currently had only this one plant of Granger Red and White, it was health and growing. I really enjoyed it and it was important to me. Then the other day I went down to the basement of my home (where I grow my violets) and found this! (image below) Click on the images to enlarge.

What I found

The Grangers’ Red and White Stripe was in pot (A). Pot (B) and (C) had two other chimeras and were spaced further apart. All 3 plants were in a white plant tray on the 3rd level of a growing shelf that was about 5 feet off the ground. The plants were totally gone only some leaves were found in the tray. As I typically check on my violets once ever 2 to 3 days, and based on the amount of curl of the leaf debris I expect this occurred 3 days prior. The plants were gone down to the soil. But roots were still there indicating they were perhaps eaten, stem and all, down to the soil-line of the pot. This was really upsetting to me. I will probably never be able to replace it. I lost it forever. I noticed with the spilled soil from the knocked over pot there appeared to be mouse droppings (Arrows point to some of them). Do mice eat African violets?

I was totally unaware if mice or some other creature eats African violets. I was also very frustrated with the concept that there were mice in the house. I initially just assumed mice did this damage as the droppings and the quantity of mice droppings inside this plant tray (arrows).

I then started a web search to find out if in-fact mice eat African violets. To my surprise there were not many articles on this. Actually only found 4 articles and the links are below. After a week of mouse traps and close surveillance including putting one trap in the plant tray where the Granger Red and White was, I was able to remove 4 mice. The traps are now are vacant and I am assuming I got them all. But will keep a few traps going for the next month just to make sure.

Below are the links I found:





As you will see in the links above, mice do eat African violets (leaves and stems), apparently they enjoy eating the ones I enjoy growing the most. As you will see from the above links, African violets are listed as a non-poisonous plant, according to the National Capital Poison Center: Poison Control – Washington. Also African violets do not appear toxic to either dogs or cats, hence one can assume it is not toxic to mice. Over the decades I have had my plants attacked by fungus, bacteria. I guess I need to add mice to the list.

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