AV Decline - Oyama Pots

jockewing(9a)February 22, 2013

I had a couple of African Violets that I placed in an eastern windowsill. I purchased them last summer and they looked fantastic and were blooming beautifully for quite a while. At some point I purchased Oyama pots. A couple of months after replanting in Oyama (mixing 1 part vermiculite, 1 part perlite, 1 part AV soil (all standard Home Depot grade)) following the Oyama instructions, they started to slowly decline. They continue to put out healthy leaves in the center, but the outside leaves kept getting black and rotting. There has been no flowering in months. Now some of the plants are getting big spots on the leaves, although they continue to put out new leaves from the center.

I also noticed this decline as it got colder outside. I wonder if they fact they were sitting right next to the window was too cold for them? I live in S. Louisiana so it doesn't get very cold, but I don't really run the heat very often either.

I also noticed that the soil in the Oyamas was staying pretty wet. So I went and purchased a good quality 1-1-1 soilless mix from Amazon. It recently was delivered and its seems great. Nice big fluffy chunks of verm and perl. So I go to replant in the Oyamas with the new soil and I am noticing the water is draining VERY slowly because the perlite is clogging the drainage holes. I did an experiment and filled the Oyama with just the soilless mix and it drained better that way then the perlite alone did. Do I need to buy coarse or horticultural grade perlite to put in the bottom of the Oyama planters? It seems like my problem was that my AVs were staying too wet because the perlite was clogging the drain holes? The Oyama instructions don't mention needing to purchase any special type of perlite.

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When it's cold plants' water requirements decrease (think about transpiration). A decrease in growth goes along with this. There's a good chance your Oyamas are over supplying your plants under these conditions. This can promote root rot and other bacterial and fungal diseases. If I were you, first I'd find a warmer, yet well lit location to get them out of the cold. Creating a lighter mix might not be so bad either and help them recover. Whatever you, do act quickly. Rotting leaves are an indication of a serious problem. Remove dead or dying tissue, repot, and keep warm.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 4:30PM
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Unless your perlite has a lot of small particles creating a "clay" like substance, it should have worked well in the oyama pot. It will "wick" the water up into the soil mix. If all you had was the soil in the bottom of the oyama pot, the soil would stay way too wet. Any time you think the soil mix is staying too wet, you should repot, adding more perlite into the mix...also I think 1/3 vermiculite is a bit too much too...there should be some in there, but probably not quite 1/3. Also keeping a little less water in the reserve might be helpful until your plant recovers. I use the regular sized perlite myself. The cold will slow down the blooming...plants do need a rest now and then too. I'm zone 7b and I grow plants in my windows, your area should be warmer than mine?...but all houses are different.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 5:03PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Tish is correct - you need to add at least 1/3 of perlite to your mix - better medium perlite - or if you have the reguar one - small to dust - sieve it - or rinse it in a colander- to remove the dust part. Replace the perlite in a bottom of your Oyamas to a coarser one, use lighter mix- and when you refill water - better water more often but with small amounts.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 2:07PM
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nyxx(z7 Virginia)

How are you plants doing now?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 3:18PM
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I know this is an old post, but I thought I would update. I bought some 'professional' AV mix on Amazon and my AVs are much better. They were just too wet in the Home Depot type soil. It wasn't the Oyama pots. I also found horticultural grade perlite that is much more coarse than the stuff regularly available, which helps a lot. I also am not in a rush to fill the pots with water. I let them dry out completely now and just try to refill before they start to wilt.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 8:35PM
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Thanks for the update, it is timely, the pots sound like a good idea when getting ready for travel and vacations and need to leave plants alone for a few days.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 1:37PM
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