question on newly bought african violets

philpetMarch 21, 2014

Hi Linda and everyone,so I bought a few new AV, and they are really pretty with very big blooms.but I am a bit confused because the lady that I got them from told me she watered every other day,now they are potted in perlite and coir dust,and I am thinking that both of those medium holds water so wont watering so often rot the roots,I have come to realize that my violets do better if I allow them to get a little dry between watering which is about every five to six days,so now I am saying how do I deal with this situation.to be honest I told myself that I am gonna gowith my regular scheduled and see what happens,better to deal with a bit too dry than way too wet,but I wanted to see if anyone else uses these two mediums and to ask how often they water,also to see what you thought was the safest route to take with these new plants.thanks for any suggestions or advise offered.Velleta

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cookie_grow

My soil mix consists of perlite and peat moss and I water once a week. Watering every other day seems too much, unless of course your in a really hot climate and the soil becomes dry. I also wait till the soil is dry and when I pick up the pots they feel light weight.

I am not sure about the coir dust, it would be interesting to see what other people think about watering this kind of potting mix.

Cooks.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 12:58PM
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Linda

Veletta,

Do what works for you. Maybe this woman's conditions were such that she had to water every-other day but you have learned how to care for your violets in your conditions. Remember-trust your instincts! You have been doing great!

I have not had any experience with coir dust but remember this: soil is for two things: support and nourishment. Theoretically, you can grow in anything as long as you provide proper watering, (and drainage), and nourishment. You are experienced enough now to know how to handle a coir/perlite mix!

It seems as though you have found somewhere to buy violets. Good for you!

Happy growing!

Linda

P.S. Cooks, Veletta lives in Jamaica. A very warm climate!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 1:20PM
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philpet

Thanks Linda and cooks,well to be honest the lady lives in a part of Jamaica which is very hot and I live in the country area and yes I will work it my way,thanks for the vote of confidence Linda but I still think every other day i
even in her climate is a bit much.oh and Linda I met her at a flower show.she is still about 150miles from me but even if was 200 I would still get them:) .i am just gonna go with my instincts and see what happen,but I just wanted to see if any member here used that sort of blend.thank for responding .Velleta

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 2:16PM
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Linda

Velleta,

Coir is mostly used for orchids here from what I can tell. It is a little more difficult to find than the standard peat, perlite and vermiculite most of us use.

Go with your instincts-you know your conditions!

Linda

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:09AM
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quimoi

There was a period a few years ago when folks were using coir for african violets. Then some of them had problems and I believe they thought the coir had salt in it. I never used it so I was only reading posts.

Now I notice that it's out of favor. It seemed to be a contamination issue though. If coir is working for you, use it. I don't really like peat. I'm glad you found a place to get new plants :)

Diana

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 9:44AM
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froeschli

I was wondering about the coir. I still have it in some ficus and sheffleras, but was hesitant trying it on the av's after reading how 'bad' it was...
if you read the label (at least on the batch I bought), you are supposed to soak and practically wash it before use. So that leaves me wondering if it was the coir causing issues, or people using it improperly....
I may get another block to experiment with.

Veletta, I am glad you found a new source for AVs, and if the lady is 'commercial', then her soil mix should be decent enough. As for watering, hey, remember the orchids and ice cubes? It may work for someone out there, but you've figured out what works in your conditions, so why change it?

Karin

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:02AM
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quimoi

I was trying to find something else and ran onto a Wikipedia article on "Coco Peat" which mentions "coir dust" as a term used for it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coco_peat

There's quite a bit of info in it. Now if I could only remember what I wanted to know!

Diana

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:37AM
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philpet

Thanks guys,I am gonna leave the plants as is and see if I develops any issues with it,if I notice any I'll effects then I will repot using my own mix,to be honest the plants look healthy and I have not seen issues with the way they look.i also watered them when I got them which was about three days ago and this morning when I checked they were still heavy and moist so,now I am really saying how the heck she told me every other day��",anyways I will watch to see how long they take to dry out and then make my own watering scheduled. And yes she has been doing AVs for a few years now so I think she's ok :). And I am so very happy I found her.anyways thanks guys and I will keep you up to date with my new babies progress.Velleta

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 12:43PM
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quimoi

That sounds like a great plan! (Coir dust had me a little confused there though so I was happy to find the article even though I was looking for weeds in spaghnum peat...)

Her conditions may be different. Who knows?

Diana

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:04PM
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Linda

Velleta,

What varieties did you get?

The coir/salt issue rings a bell. I've never used it, though.

Linda

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 1:02AM
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Linda

I did a little research on coir. It is high in salt and and potassium. Supposedly, it is treated for horticultural use, but this could be highly variable. The potassium could lead to magnesium deficiencies.

Velleta,

Keep an eye on your violets. If they start to yellow on the older leaves, it may be a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is a vital element in chlorophyll in plants. A plant that is low on magnesium will pull it from the older leaves to maintain the younger leaves, leaving the older ones yellowing.

Linda

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 1:17AM
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philpet

Thanks Linda,to be honest I am not too sure of the varietys,I remember a few names though,I got Powder keg,Cool mint,Untamed heart,Frosty frolic and a few others.and now that I think about it one of them leaves seem on the slight yellowish side,which does prove the magniseum deficency,but she said she redid her green room and they got a bit too much sun,so do I remove if from that media and used mine instead or what do I do. Velleta

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 9:30AM
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philpet

Lina,now that I think about it that means sooner or later all of the AVs would end up with magnesium deficiency,seeing that all of them were potted in the same mix, oh boyâÂÂâÂÂâÂÂ.i don't want to be paranoid but maybe its best I just repot all of them, that way I know what's in my mix and don't have to worry about them at all,but strangely enough my mix is actually coir,perlite and miracle grow potting soil,but I use like quarter coir dust,quarter potting soil and half perlite.no matter how hard I try I can't get vermiculite here, and my plants don't show any side effect to it,but then again I do add some potting soil to it so maybe that's why:( ok Linda,my mix works for me so advise please, should I repot everyone or what do I do.Velleta

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 10:28AM
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philpet

Picture of one of the new violets, that have the yellowish leaves. Velleta

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 11:30AM
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fortyseven_gw

Veletta
that plant might be marie lorraine??
you got a mice selection tom your friend
J

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 12:32PM
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philpet

Thanks j,didn't get a name for that one so,you did me a favorðÂÂÂ.Velleta

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 12:53PM
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fortyseven_gw

Velleta,
Is it more reddish or deeper pink than it looks in the photo? Marie Lorraine stays compact Joanne

This post was edited by fortyseven on Mon, Apr 14, 14 at 3:58

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 3:16PM
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philpet

More reddish

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 3:38PM
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fortyseven_gw

Yes, then it is Marie Lorraine. It is an unusual one with an unusual leaf pattern and shape. Hope it does well. Joanne

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 10:10PM
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Linda

Velleta,

The yellowing from a magnesium deficiency will show up in the older leaves. Minerals that plants use can be mobile or non-mobile. Mobile means a plant can move it around in its cells to where it is most needed. Non-mobile means the element is fixed where it is in the plant. A plant will always favor its new growth. Magnesium is mobile and the plant will move it to the new leaves at the detriment of the older ones.

The light color could be from too much sun, (they do look a bit bleached out), or just because they are that color. They look evenly colored so I think they are fine.

That said, I would let them adjust to their new growing situation and then I would re-pot into the mix you are most successful and comfortable with.

Many people use epsom salts, which is magnesium sulfate, in their watering routine. I use fish emulsion and epsom salts on my variegates when they are too white. (A trick I learned from Irina. :) ) Both aid in chlorophyll production which is what makes the leaves green.

Relax, dear! I can feel you panicking through my keyboard! You are doing great with your violets-just keep on keepin' on!

Linda

P.S. Congrats on 'Powder Keg'. It's one of my favorites!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 1:29AM
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philpet

Thanks Linda,ok calm down velleta your babies are good.i will repot eventually because they are in five inches pots way to big for their size and I can see a neck on one plus it has been five days and I can still squeeze water from the media,I am afraid they will rot from staying so wet in my area.and I LOVE power keg too,the dark foilage and firm leaves. Ok thanks to everyone for your advise and now I can just enjoy my babies.Velleta

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 9:36AM
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Linda

Velleta,

Here's a trick if you cannot get to re-potting for a while. If your soil is staying too wet for too long, remove the entire root ball and set it on something absorbent-newspapers, paper towels, etc., that will pull the water from the soil. That, plus the exposure to the air will dry it out quickly.

You sound calmer already! Relax and enjoy!

Linda

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 4:07PM
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philpet

Thanks Linda nice trickðÂÂÂ,your such a fountain of information,I can always count on you to set me straight.so I tried it and the plant came up with half the soil and the other half was left in the pot,which proves my instincts were right the pot was too big and the plant was only using half the media,maybe that's why it was staying so wet for so long.ðÂÂÂ.velleta

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 7:28PM
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Linda

Velleta,

You're growing on your porch, aren't you? And is it humid yet? More conditions that will reduce water absorption.

You're right-a 5' pot is big enough for a 15' plant. I think I would go ahead and re-pot now with your soil mix using the correct size pot. You're doing well with it and you know what you are doing. I think I would also take a leaf in case something happens to the original.

Many plants of all kinds are sold according to pot size-the bigger the pot, the more expensive the plant. This naturally encourages over-potting.

Linda

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 3:03AM
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philpet

Thanks Linda,I had already repotted the one I had tried to remove to a smaller pot so then I will just do the rest later when I get home from work,a few also has suckers so I will take those as well.i know what you mean with the over potting of plants,when I buy orchid the same thing happens ðÂÂÂ,anyways they look healthy so I think they will be fine,and our climate here is hot,not extremely because we get a little rain in between.and to be totally honest I am much more comfortable putting my babies in what I know about and can handle at least they stand a better chance that way.ð Velleta

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 9:39AM
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Linda

Velleta,

Now you're talking like a grower!!! ;)

Linda

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 10:11PM
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philpet

Just taking a page from your book Linda.thanks againðÂÂÂ.Velleta

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:20AM
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philpet

Hi everyone,so I repotted and only one got slightly droopy,but away from that every is doing wonderful.My question today is Linda you mention Epsom salts to use on avs,what amount do yo use exactly say in a quart of water,I got a bottle of miracle grow African violet plant food and it says 7-10 drops in a quart of water so I was wondering how much Epsom salts should be added to the quart, And how often.thanks again .velleta

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 11:33AM
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Linda

Velleta,

I would start with 1/4 tsp. per gallon. I would not add it with your other fertilizer but water with it alone. You can also add fish emulsion with the epsom salts.

With your Miracle -Grow, cut the recommended amount by about one-half. You can rotate this with another fertilizer or with the epsom salts. It is also a good practice to water about every fourth week or so with plain water.

The idea is to have a small amount of fertilizer available to your plants at all times rather than dumping so much on them that they react badly. Weekly, weakly is the rule!

And, again, experiment to see what works best for you. It will change with the season, the temperature, (the day!) so you will always be adjusting. But that is the fun and the challenge!

Linda :)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 4:45PM
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philpet

Thanks Linda your always a big help.Velleta

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 11:03AM
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fortyseven_gw

Velleta
Getting back to your Marie Lorraine plant, it does have lighter, brighter green leaves than the usual dark green leaves seen on most other AVs. So the leaves might not be turning yellow, that might be the natural color.
Joanne

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 1:36PM
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philpet

Joanne, from what I have notice since repotting is that the center leaves are now a bit greener than the outer ones. I think the colour will eventual get greener.i will post a pic when I get home so you can see.Velleta

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 11:04AM
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philpet

Hi joanne,here is a picture of what my av looks like now, going into three weeks after repotting, as you can see the inner leaves are getting greener o I think the leaves were suffering from too much sun or some form of nutrient deficency. Also this is not the only plant that has started to get greener leaves afew others are doing the same thing. Velleta

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 8:12PM
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fortyseven_gw

Great job! It is a beautiful shade of green that contrasts so well with the deep color of the flower. I wish I could post a photo of my Marie Lorraine plants for you, they are blooming their heads off. It is one of my favorites. It stays compact, but the blooms just get bigger and more of them with each bloom cycle. The color also gets richer and darker. The description says they are supposed to have fantasy markings, Mine don't, they have a wide glitter edge in a deeper shade of the same color, but no fantasy. I grow in natural light, so it probably does not bring out the fantasy the way fluorescent lights do. I am happy with them just as they are. It is also a strong plant, not fussy at all.
The hybridizer is no longer with us, so treasure that plant! It is hard to get! I know how to post a photo to an email but I still have not figured out yet how to post to the forum. that will be my next project. Many folks have given instructions, so I will try to do that soon. The photos are saved on my phone.

Joanne

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:29PM
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philpet

Joanne thank you,mine does have a bit of fantasy colour in the blooms and I also grow in natural light on the north side of my patio and they seem to love it there,I have also noticed that the leaves are growing flatter, when I got them I could not see any crown but as you can see its showing now,I think the best decision I made was repotting them,I was a bit scared because they were not acostom to my environment but they are doing great.i am very happy.i hope you figure out how to post pics soon,I would love to see your plants.velleta

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:32PM
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fortyseven_gw

Hi Velleta,
Yes, my Marie Lorraine grows completely flat, like a fan, which is nice, because the leaves are so attractive, it makes a nice backdrop for the blooms. Mine does have some fantasy, after all. It took about two or three years to be able to get this, because the vendor did not have it available for a long time. I have started one leaf of it to see how it reproduces.
Joanne

This post was edited by fortyseven on Sun, Apr 6, 14 at 22:56

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:48PM
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