Another wicking question!

oriole6(9b)April 14, 2011

I'm noticing the soil ( 1/2 perlite and 1/2 AV mix) stays quite moist... my finger comes off wet if I touch it... is this normal for wicking?

I've only been doing this for 3 days -- if I'm killing my new AVs I'd like to know a little before their demise : [

~ Robin

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irina_co(z5 CO)

Robin -

it depends. Is your wick too thick? When you plant your violet - you do not press your soil - you leave it more or less loose so the airpockets in the soil prevent it from being soggy. If you think it is way too wet - move it to the yesterday newspaper and let the extra water to be absorbed. Fluff your soil with something like a knitting needle - and check if your wick is apropriate. If it is mini or semi - you probably need only 2 ply-s out of the acrylic thread, if it is a standard - probably the whole thread is OK. As long as soil is not too dense, it should be OK. It is not water that kills the plant - it is the absence of air in a root area.
Your finger should feel the moisture, not to come dripping wet.
Good Luck. Everything will be OK, just takes a little adjustment.

As usually - it is better to see than to hear. Do you have an AV club nearby? You do not need to join, you just can take your plant to the meeting and ask them to advise you on wicking.

Irina

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 7:59PM
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oriole6(9b)

Thanks as always, Irina, for your sage advice. Your excellent description gives me some assurance that I've done it right. Just in case, though, what signs should I be on the look-out for if they are getting too much moisture?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 10:57AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Alas - usually if you drown them they rot, wilt and die. If you see it - it is already late. Fluff your soil and do not let bottom of your pot touch the water. Hope you try new technique on one-two plants, not on the whole collection.

I.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 12:01AM
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fred_hill(6)

Hi Robin,
Are you using any vermiculite in your mix or are you just using av soil and perlite? The reason I asked this is because many of us use a 1-1-1 mix of peat, vermiculite and perlite.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 7:42PM
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oriole6(9b)

No, no vermiculite. My wicking research led me to the 1/2 and 1/2 mixture. So far, the AVs look great and I'm surprised how much water they suck up. I've made sure the soil hasn't been packed. I'm just not used to plant soil being so wet my finger comes back with water on it when I test the top... it's not dripping, by any means, just moist. The wicks were supplied by the grower. I've drawn them up from the bottom, made a circle around the pot bottom, and extended it up the side. Perhaps there's too much wick material in the pot as well --
Just so I know, if I were drowning these mini's, how long would it take before I see evidence of their demise?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 8:56AM
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fred_hill(6)

One of the early signs would be wilting. It would look like the plant needed water but it is over wet. Remove the plant from the pot and inspect the root ball. If there are no white roots check the stem to see if it is not rotting. If its ok repot it in some new mix and keep your watering to a minimum.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 9:16PM
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oriole6(9b)

Thanks Fred. I will keep an eagle-eye on these.

~ Robin

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 7:53AM
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almax881

Please clarify me on this, but I think the typical WICKING mix is 2 parts perlite, 1 part vermiculite, and 1 part spangham moss.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 8:20AM
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m3rma1d(inside)

Everyone has their own preference.

I personally use 1/2 commercial (Fafard brand) African violet mix and 1/2 perlite.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 1:04PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

My typical wicking mix is 1:1:1 plus I put a layer of coarse perlite on the bottom.

Fafard brand - is not sold in CO. Promix BX plain is not sold in CO.

But we have Violet Showcase - and Doug the owner makes the mix for us - plus he adds trace elements, charcoal and adjusts the pH to 6.5 with dolomite. God Bless Doug!!! I tried Miracle gro violet mix and added other stuff to it - and the results are not as good. Usable, but I didn't get to the fine tuning of the ingredients.

Irina

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 2:23PM
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GrowHappy(z7 MD)

Is the wick hanging over the top of the pot? If so, it's getting the maximum amount of water. If you want to decrease it, you can pull the wick down further inside the pot, maybe mid-way. It will get less water this way.

As others have said, you can also try a lighter mix. The brown mixes are typically lighter than your dark or black mix. I like the Pro-Mix Bx- very light, fluffy soil-less mix. I add at least 1/2 perlite to it.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 7:06AM
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