If the problem is a mold, examine your potting medium to make sure it
isn't contaminated. Molds can take hold in bags of unsterilized media
or in opened bags of sterile media. If the white substance is salt
build-up, flush the medium out well with distilled water and start
using distilled or de-ionized water to water the plants, adding
fertilizer only as directed.
As for life span, I have some violets that are approaching 20, and
that is not at all unusual. They need repotting from time to time, as
they can get rather leggy, but can go on for decades if well cared
>> >> Last year, African violets that I had enjoyed for several years slowly
> >wasted away, with no apparent culprit except a fuzzy white mould on the
>> I have discovered a similar white substance on my soil too but it goes away
> when water hits it. The plants continue to be healthy and blossoming freely.
> That would make me think that maybe the mold and the violets dying didn't have
> anything to do with each other.
>> Which brings up a good question: does an AV have a "lifespan"?