Av potting Soil - why cut it?

Bumblebeez SC Zone 7May 13, 2008

I pop in here once in awhile and one thing keeps coming up - add perlite and vermiculite to store bought soils.

I'm wondering why Scotts and Miracle Grow don't know more about Av's than the posters here. I'm not being facetious.

Seriously, why is the bagged soil not good enough and/or not the best?

Are they cutting costs?

I just bought a bag of Miracle Grow Av soil and plan on potting up some avs. I have used Scott's before to pot up and they did/do just fine.

I have about a dozen or so av's and have been keeping them for 10 years or so.

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irina_co(z5 CO)

Bumblebeez -

you got it right - the cost. Out of perlite -vermiculite- peat moss components - which one is the cheapest - peat moss - $10 for a 4 cubic feet bale.

You can grow violets using store bought soil - if you are keep an eye on watering and do not let the pots get waterlogged.

It seems to me that you do everything right and your violets are happy. But may be you still may want to try cutting your mostly peat Miracle Grow soil with perlite and observe the difference - on one pot at least. You will need to water them more often - the porous soil will dry faster. But very possibly it will make the difference between growing just fine and growing gorgeous. They grow much faster and bloom more - provided that light, water and fertilizer are there.

The basic 1:1:1 mix is the best for the growing on wicks - and this method is good. If you want to look into ready made violet soil for traditional growing - check with BlueBird Greenhouse - their soil mix is very good- and their violets are excellent too. May be you can make a field trip there one day.

Good Luck

Irina

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 2:51PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Thanks for the info irina! I don't like to water much so I will stick with the bagged soil as is. I never get water logged plants, if anything new buds might dry out if I don't pay attention.

I am on a fairly regular schedule of watering once a week, maybe 8-9 days and my violets bloom heavily, then stop, then at some point bloom again. They are not in constant bloom. But I have enough to rotate into our main areas and that's ok.

At least I know now what the difference is and if I want to add the extras some day, I know what to expect.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 7:39PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Bumblebeez -

Usually the violets that bloom then rest - are commercial - the ones you can buy in a big box store. They are selected by the hybridizers that way to put a great performance for the moment of sale. I have an Optimara variety - Rhapsodie Cora that blooms 4 times a year. It puts a great performance, the flowers last for quite a long time - and then - I am looking at the blue green leaves for 2 months.

The non-commercial varieties - they generally bloom allmost all the time - even the bloom count can be less.

Good luck

Irina

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 3:59PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Hmmm, very interesting. So if I want one of the non commercial types I would need to order it from somewhere?
Would they still do ok in regular straight from the bag potting soil? If you could choose only one?

I feel like this is the dividing line as to how serious I am about my violets. I really enjoy the ones I have but I don't want a lot more. I am comfortable with my watering schedule and don't want to spend any more money or time on them.

I keep them all on a tray in front of a huge north window in a spare bedroom. The tray in now full. As they bloom, I move them into main areas.
However, I could get rid of a few of the losers to make room for a really good one.

I truly appreaciate your advice Irina.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 7:35PM
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fred_hill(6)

Hi Beez,
I add perlite and vermiculite primarily because I wick all my plants and if I didn't add them they would more than likely rot away and die from the constant supply of water and fertilizer.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 11:24AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Beez -

everybody has different conditions and the violets perform better or worse for different people. I moved to another house- and it all different - water, humidity, light etc. So for me it is better to keep them on the wicks and mats -just as Fred described. They do better this way in our dry climate.

You need to try several - and decide if you like them and if they do well for you.

I was interested in Space Violets - the ones that were hybridized out of the seeds that were in space for 5 years and ordered them from BlueBird Greenhouse. They are more expensive because they are patented. For me Evergrace and Everpraise are never out of bloom. And they are tough.

I checked on their soil - and it is $4 a gallon. An it is so much better than the store bought.

In any case - just check on their website and look at the violets yourself. May be you will see one you just MUST have ;-))

Good Luck

irina

Here is a link that might be useful: Everfloris Violets

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 3:10PM
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quinnfyre(z7 PA)

Let me just say: I love their potting soil! I have been using it since last year and I've got every single violet potted in it, and they all do great. In fact, I probably order potting soil and plastic pots from them more often than I order violets... though they do have nice violets. I don't have my violets on a wick system, and they do fine, even though I am a bit of an underwaterer.

Anyway, just thought I'd throw in my opinion on their potting soil, too : )

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 12:51AM
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christy2828(8a)

Quinnfyre, about what do you pay for shipping for one $4.00 bag of soil?? I'm in Maryland, so not far from you, just wondering without filling out all of my info on the website :) Thanks, Christy

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 10:30PM
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quinnfyre(z7 PA)

I'm not sure, I've never ordered just soil. I've always gotten pots and usually a violet or two as well (can't resist). I looked back on my orders and it wasn't cheap, ranging from $9-$12. It usually ends up being worth it for me, because I don't drive (no car) and the soil lasts me through a lot of violet repottings. As do the pots and saucers. I'm suspecting that the pots and saucers add to the shipping costs because they are crushable and take up space, and since postage has changed to be more expensive space wise as well as weight wise, that might be why.

Alright, I got curious... I pretended to place an order. The shipping cost for me using USPS Priority was $7.85. Pretty expensive. So, you'll have to decide for yourself if you think it's worth it. My violets do very well on this mix, and I don't have the means really to go find the components and make my own. At least, not right now. But I could totally understand that being too expensive... it's twice the cost of the actual soil... Oh well, I'm screwed : )

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 1:58AM
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