Hydroponics and show plants

bspoffordMarch 22, 2008

This is Bill Foster's response to the question asking how a hydroponically grown show plant would be judged:

"Although hydroponic growing has been around for a long time, and I have

known of people growin violets in this manner, I have never known of any

being entered in a show. Who knows for sure? We may have had them in shows

but if they were properly slip potted, and the plant was full, judges would

not know what it is growing in. If these plants are entered and judged they

would be judged by the same rules an any of the entries. I will discuss

this with the Shows & Judges Committee at the upcoming meeting. Another

alternative might be, if this is a problem, to have a separate class for

hydroponically grown plants. They would still be judged by the rules we

have in place, but the plants in this class would all be grown by the same


Bill Foster"


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violetta1976(8 Portland OR)

Thanks for asking Barb! I'll be curious to see what comes of this...

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 6:09PM
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Hi Barbara,
Thinking as a judge, I wonder what size the pot would be with a hydro AV. According to the way we have been taught, the pot should be about 1/3 the size of the crown of the plant. All the hydro plants I have seen do not conform to this. The pots are much too large.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 9:45PM
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I too wondered about the pot. Since I don't grow on hydroponics, I'm not familiar with what pots are available.

For those of you that do hydroponics, is there a "4 inch azalea pot" equivalent?

I think we should come up with as many questions about this as possible so that it can be discussed at that judges meeting in June.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 2:18AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

I grow several orchids in s/h. The recommended pots are not azalea type. They are much taller - and the system is that the bottom doesn't have any drainage holes, and you have a couple of drainage holes 1 inch above the bottom - so this bottom inch part of the pot is your solution reservoir.

I use transparent plastic cups to start new plants - just make a hole or 2 with a soldering iron inch above the bottom.

I side wth Fred and Barbara - azalea type pot matches the AV - and creates a very eye pleasing combination. More of it - it is expected by judges. Tall and narrow pot is not as good.

To solve it - we need to find an azalea pot without drainage holes - and poke these holes ourselves. Doesn't look that we will find anything ready made and most possibly we will be using sourcream containers. I am suggesting finding the container that can be eventually slipped into the standard plastic or ceramic brown pot - and the potting media nd the edges of the inner container can be top dressed with sphagnum moss. Again - with the judges OK.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 1:36PM
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With the declining membership and violet clubs, I would think any catagory that would invite more participation would be of value.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 1:57PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Tish -

a lot of members never take anything to show. The clubs are not specifically for shows only - it is education, cutting exchange and social activities, trouble shooting and potlucks. Just fun.

I agree with you - that a new category in a show - can only be for good.

We just want to find a way to make a new category - s/h growing - these plants to look attractive - top and bottom.

If we grow in soil - the azalea pot is better for growing. With semi-hydroponics it shouldn't be that important - we can possibly fill the feeding trough with hydroton - and grow a a bunch of them together. Hard to carry it to show though.

Irina- imagining a window sill arrangement with gessies in a trough.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 4:32PM
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Last year I went to judging school (yes, I passed!) and we were told that judges are not to pick up and handle the plants. If the diameter of the pot is 1/3 the size of the leaf span, and the plant is slip potted, I can't imagine that anyone would know it was semi-hydroponics. Also, aren't Oyama planters considered semi-hydroponic? Oyama planters are allowed in AVSA shows.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 8:32PM
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I am reading some back issues of the african violet magazines. In the early 1980's someone was writing about growing violets in clay balls and water. And yes, she was successful.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 9:21PM
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korina(9b, Sunset 17)

I grow mine in whatever's available with drainage, including squat pots, and a deep plant saucer; works fine. I don't see any reason one couldn't grow a show plant in the appropriate sized pot.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 5:09PM
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violetta1976(8 Portland OR)

I am growing a bunch in containers without drainage, too. Just so long as I can see what the water level is I'm fine, so I have plans to get creative with a lot of glass vases and such.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 3:39PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Violetta -

as far as I remember from Ray instructions (First Ray Orchids) - you need to have the drainage - because every time you refill you need to add the whole volume of the pot - and let the extra water drain and wash the salts out. I recycle the run-off on geranium - or roses. Every fourth time you need to use just water. This way you avoid the accumulation of salts.

If you want to use no dranage pots - I think you need to repot your plants often enough to avoid salt damage. My understanding is that if you soak hydroton in hot water and change it several times - you can reuse it.

Somebody was complaining that if they only refill the solution without flushing - the plants eventually croak.

Good Luck


    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 3:24PM
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violetta1976(8 Portland OR)

Irina -

I go by the same method as this woman:


Seems to be working great so far for me (I have a bunch of different things growing in hydroton, not just my one AV baby), and she's been doing the same thing for years.

I confess, though, I'm not transferring anything over that I'd be devastated to lose just yet!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 7:29PM
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korina(9b, Sunset 17)

You can use no drainage, Irina, just instead of flushing water through, you fill and dump, fill and dump, several times; it does the same thing.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 1:18PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Hi Korina -

since I have an aggravated case of too many plants - I water them with the hose-sump pump-20 gallon trash can with a solution. Takes 2.5 of them to refill all the reservoirs - so my hydroton pots are sitting on the grids in trays too - I hose them - and extra runs off and creates extra humidity.

Need to cut them down - need to cut them down-need to cut them down.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 2:22PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Violetta - thank you - it is a Super Interesting Site


    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 2:35PM
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