strawberry jars for Africian Violets

plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)June 6, 2009

does anyone here grow any Africian Violets in strawberry jars??? I have two planters that are about 18 inches tall and have a flat back so that they can be hung on a post or wall. There are 9 "cup" areas for the plants and I'd like to try some semi mini to mini african violets in them. Any info will be greatly appricated.

thank you all,

John in Pa.

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nwgatreasures(7)

I've not ever done it but wouldn't you be concerned about the area for root expansion being too great? AV roots like to be hugged in confined spaces, how would you be able to achieve that with a strawberry planter?

Dora

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 3:56PM
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fred_hill(6)

Hi John,
What Dora said is true. But if you are determined to use the jar I would use trailers rather than single crowned violets.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 10:02AM
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bspofford

John,

I too have occasionally thought about strawberry jars but didn't pursue it for the above mentioned reasons. However, if you had small enough pots that would fit in the pocket, give it a go! I suspect that some loss of symmetry will occur, but it could be very attractive. If you do it, we will want PHOTOS.....

Barbara

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 1:57PM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

Hi all,

Dora, I am a bit concerned about root expansion. My plants are currently in 2 1/4 inch pots and there will be a lot more root room in the jar. I think I may try it anyway, just to see what happens.

Fred, I haden't thought about using trailers! That's a great Idea. It will give me an excuse to buy more plants!

Barbra, I do expect a loss of symmetry, but that is fine with me....I think the final result will be worth it. I will try and get some pictures of the results once I finish planting the jars.

John in Pa.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 4:37PM
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fuzzyleaves(5)

John,

Mini and Semimini violets should not be in pots any larger than 2.5 inches. The rule of thumb with african violets is that the pot should be one third the width of the plant. African violets have a very shallow root system and like being a little rootbound. They aren't like you're typical houseplants. Actually, if they have too much room for their roots they can't take water up fast enough and the root system gets swamped and rots. I'd say keep them in the 2.5" pots and if you want them to be decorative, set the pots inside of a larger decorative pot to cover it up.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 9:30AM
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dognapper2(5)

I'm assuming these are "expendable" plants - not your only and most prized specimens and you're curious to find out what happens?

If you're like most (of us) you stick leaves in little pots as soon as they arrive and occasionally when grooming or repotting. There are extras...there should be extras before doing this. And then I say go for it!

In fact I think others should play along and see how it works out for them. I wish my leaves in little cups were farther along - I would join in :) I'm starting over after a couple of years off. Just separated a cup of no-name babies into a terrarium that needed to be replanted.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 1:26PM
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fred_hill(6)

Hi,
Ive been thinking about this for a while now and I agree that a Strawberry jar has a large area where roots would have to expand to and wondered if there would be some way that a person could block off an area so the roots would not have to expand into the entire jar. Do you think it would be possible to tape a pot to the inside of the jar and plant it in that space before you filled up the rest of the jar? Might be an interesting experiment using trailers. The thing that stops me from trying it is that I grow lousy trailers and if at one point I was successful would I be able to exhibit it in a show. I suspect not unless there was a non judged class in the show.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 8:18PM
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ajscout

Hey All,

I think I can contribute here...

When I was a kid, my mom had a large basket filled with multiple AVs. The basket was probably 2.5 feet long by 1.5 feet wide.

The AVs thrived and bloomed lightly, but had pretty much no symmetry.

I remember that basket being around for years, until my mother got sick and ended up in the hospital for a while.

Your experiment just might work.

Amber

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 8:15AM
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nwgatreasures(7)

RE: the multiple AVs in a basket....most likely, they were still confined to a growing space that hugged the root system...either a pot or spagnum moss that confined it. Standards can tolerate much more room than minis or semis.

I took Plantman's original post to say that he'd like to experiment with the "look" of using the strawberry pot so that he could have AVs coming out of the holes in the pot....like an AV smorgasboard, LOL.

If he (or anyone) could find a way to contain the root system of each plant - it probably could work. The idea of the trailers was an added bonus because they thicken and spread space wise above the dirt.

If you don't contain the root system (which provides the optimum growing conditions for the plant to thrive) then you might have a pretty plant for a while, but you'll spend time and money replacing those that rot out, wilt away or just sit there and not grow (you might as well stuff some plastic plants in there). Depending on your goal, choose your activity and make a plan.

I'm wondering if a plastic solo cup couldn't be set up with a semi or a mini and then the cup stuffed into the hole of the strawberry pot. The plastic cup could be pliable enough to modify to the shape of the strawberry pot hole and you just might have what I took to be the original poster's wish.

Dora

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 8:37AM
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tlovesflowers

I wonder if possibly the violet could be placed in a small plastic bag with a few drainage holes and inserted into the strawberry pot if a solo cup would not fit in hole. The plastic bag would keep roots snug and the holes could provide drainage.I agree with others here that trailers would be nice. They would be pretty cascading from top and pockets of the planter. Good Luck.
T

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 10:20AM
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bspofford

I've been thinking some more about this project. Where did you find this type of hanging pot? I have seen the round ones but not one that hangs on the wall.

So, how are we going to light this? I suppose one could hang a fixture vertically on each side, but not very esthetic.....

One thought to reduce the soil area....measure the inside diameter of the opening at the top, and use plastic soda or water bottles put down into the hole to fill up some of that space, and maybe fill up a lot of the open space with perlite? Just ruminating here.....

Barbara

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 1:13PM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

Hi all,

The mini's I am going to use are expendable ones. NOIDs form a local greenhouse. But they are very pretty. I want to try this on them before I use my named babies. And I have ordered some special one s just for these experiments, including a few trailers.

I have not grown trailers before but have wanted to try them for some time. I will most likely pot the trailers 'normally' and then later take cuttings for the strawberry jars.

Where I bought these wall hanging type strawberry jars is a good question....it was over 15 years ago and they have been in my basement for about 10 years (since I moved). They are green and the front part slides up and off for a good cleaning if needed. And as to source I've been racking my brain trying to remember. I would love to get another pair.

I have also been trying to think of ways to reduce soil volume (lots of good suggestions here, thanks everyone!). The 20 ounce soda/water bottle is a snug fit, if I remove tops and bottoms and taped them together to for a long tube it should work. Just put in the center and maybe fill with perlite or gravel to keep the shape and the plastic would keep the roots confined to the main pot area.

As to light, I could just mount them on the wall behind some of my flouresent lamps, but the lower plants probibally won't get enough light. There is also the possibility of laying them flat under the lamps for growing, sorta like some grow cascade bonsi under lights.

Dora, do you mean spagnum moss as in peat pots or the loose strands? And yes I like the smorgasboard look! very pretty, but not symeterical!

John in Pa.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 1:58PM
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chaznsc(7)

Pardon my intrusion. Can someone explain the root expansion issue and its concerns?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 6:49PM
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bspofford

"Pardon my intrusion. Can someone explain the root expansion issue and its concerns?"

In a nutshell....African violets are a shallow rooted plant, and they prefer to be somewhat potbound. If they have an unlimited amount of potting medium to grow in, they are so busy growing roots that they don't bloom. Also, it is hard to control the amount of moisture in a large amount of soil, and root rot may occur if it is too wet.

All that being said, I think I'll start some babies from some of my trailers and maybe give it a go. John, you've inspired me!

Barbara

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 12:37AM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

Hi Barbara, Glad to hear you are inspired. I have gone ahead and planted one of the two planters I have and love the way it looks. For the next one I will be putting a tube of some type inside to reduce the soil volume.

I do have some very good pics of both the empty strawberry planter and of the planter after the A/V's are in it. The only problem is I haven't been able to figure out how to get them from my files to here. If I get that figured out I will be happy to post them.

John

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 1:18AM
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donna_c

Hi John,

Here's a link to a helpful photo posting instruction page I found. I'd like to see your creation!

~ Donna

Here is a link that might be useful: How Do I Post a Photo?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 1:59PM
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bspofford

A length of PVC pipe could work also. Drilling some holes in it qnd filling it with perlite might not be a bad idea.

I am really looking forward to seeing the end result. After all the coaxing about plastic pots no bigger than 1/3 the diameter, etc., it will be interesting.

Now I have to find me a potter.....

Barbara

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 3:21PM
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bspofford

I was in Lowe's today and wandered through the garden section and lo and behold, look at those strawberry pots!! The are about 10 inches high, have four pockets on the sides, fully glazed, and a drainage hole to boot! 10 bucks....life is good.

I have spent the whole afternoon thinking about how to plant it with a wicking system, and am just about there.

While I watch the Red Sox hopefully beat up on the Yankees again tonight, I'm going to put down leaves and a crown or two of my trailers. Five planting spots, five trailers. It was meant to be, dontcha think?

Barbara

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 5:00PM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

I just got finished posting 5 pics on the gallery here for you all to see. they are under prized flower, proud projects , container gardening, or tropical paradice.

hope you can find them!

I have ordered 9 more mini A/V's for the other jar/board as well a 5 semi mini trailers from Robs and a few from e-bay.I hope all goes well with these as they are verry pretty.

I was just to lowes and didn't see any, guess I'll need to go to a different one or just go back and look again! I am looking forward to trying this out.

John

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 6:43PM
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nwgatreasures(7)

John,
Either of the kinds of mosses would most likely work.

Sorry for delays in responding - I'm traveling :P

I'd LOVE to see pics :)

Dora

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 11:35PM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

Hope you can find them when you get back, Dora. I enjoy the look. If anyone recoginizes the empty strawberry wall hanging planter, let me know! I'd like to find a few more. I've been searching the web but sofar no luck.

I'm also looking forward to the trailers, pics I have seen are wonderful.

John

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 1:11PM
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lemonsforchams(6b)

I would think that increasing the ratio of perlite to peat would help. I would attempt a 3:1 ratio and fertilize routinely. If this is to be outdoors, keep in mind the suceptibility of violets to nasties, like thrips. Your challenge will also be affected by how the pot is watered. If you water at each plant in each pocket, you risk flushing out a lot of the soil and dislodeging the plant. If you water from the top and you planted that plants in smaller pots to restrict the roots, they may not get enough moisture. All in all I would say this a difinite possibility, with some considerations and with the expectations that the plants may dow well and bloom enough for this project to be successful, but would likely not make show grade plants. Good Growing and Good Luck!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 5:31PM
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nwgatreasures(7)

My first thought when I saw the pics was, "After I figured out how to plug that top opening, I'd place that baby on it's side and let those flowers grow up and out so they don't grow crooked necks and get wop-sided but I'm sure you'll figure out how to make it do what you want. It's a creative idea that you did...hope it works for you.

Dora

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 9:32PM
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bspofford

Dora, where did you find the pictures. I have looked on the gallery site for African violets and didn't see them.
What am I missing.......

Barbara

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 12:40AM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

Barbara, go to photo galleries and then to garden galleries. then go to the 'prized flower' catagory. that should take you to the page where they are.

Dora, I plan to place some long fiber spaghnum moss over/into the top oppening and hold it in place with shipping tape. like the way some nurseries pack potted plants to keep the soil from getting knocked out during shipping. But I will leave a gap at the front/new top so I can water it more easily.

John

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 8:03AM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

a 3-1 perlit peat mix is a good idea. and then a spaghnumplug (taped on to the top)in the top TO hOld in and to keep the soil in.

i nowwill be clearing off one of my aero gro gardens and lay it under that , picking it up for watering, inspection and maybe display
john

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 9:47AM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

I've got an aero gro cleared up and cut a piece of egg crate to fit around the lamp arm and give me more room than the growing surface has. The strawberry jar fit nicely and I have a bit of room around the edges for some small terrariums with my micro sinningias.Next one I will make the egg crate a bit bigger for more space about 1'x2' should work. BTW the hood is 15" above the leaves and I'm getting a light reading of about 600Fc. If that is not enough I can lower the hood as low as 12"

John

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 10:00AM
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bspofford

Thanks for the additional info on finding the pictures. I looked long and hard at them. My initial thought was "That is so WRONG". I mean, many of us have spent so much time talking about pot size, not touching, symmetry, blah, blah, blah. Then I thought of my husband's guitar instructor, who told him "if you are going to play classical music, you had better play it as it was written. Don't improvise, don't add notes. If you want to play flamenco, get as funky as you want and have fun with it."

Now that I have my mind wrapped around it, I am so enthused! I've been tempted to hop in the car early next week and make a trip to the holy trinity (Fay Wagman, Violet Barn, and Lyon's) for plants. I don't want to wait for my leaves to produce plantlets, I want them NOW!

Then I remember that in three weeks I'm leaving for three weeks. This is not something I want to entrust to the guitar player.....

So, If I don't have plantable something by July 24, road trip!

Barbara, playing my castanets softly

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 12:28PM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

I am a great believer in knowing the "rules"....BUT half of the fun is in breaking them every now and then! LOL I usually try and find as much info as I can on a new plant or project before I get too far into it, then once I'd had some practice, I try breaking the rules a bit! Sometimes I have to go back to traditional ways and at other times it works out great!

I am enjoying with the strawberry jars and that is important. I grow for my pleasure, not for show, an important differance. Once I get a few more jars, I might just try some minis hydroponicaly in one of my aerogardens as well.

John

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 4:23PM
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dognapper2(5)

Finally visited the gallery to see your creation...not quite what I was thinking of by strawberry jar. Checked out local gardening centers but didn't make it out as far as the Lowes.

(How big was your find, Barbara in Maine? :)
and P.S. - Road Trip envy!!!

Would love to find something smaller like this:
(Testing the link thing...fingers crossed!)

Here is a link that might be useful: Pansy Pocket Garden Planter

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 5:19PM
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nwgatreasures(7)

John,
Pleasure is what counts for me....and some people get that from growing for the fun of it and others for show.

I'm just happy that you seem to be proud (and rightly so) with your newest creation and that it's beautiful.

I was thinking about that last night whie driving 6 hours...that would make a beautiful centerpiece. I wonder if you could connect 2 of them back to back and wire them together to stand and then place them in the center of a table....wouldn't that be drop dead gorgous and so unique that everyone would be talking about it with envy???

I sure hope you stick around and share more pics.

Dora

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 5:50PM
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bspofford

"(How big was your find, Barbara in Maine? :)
and P.S. - Road Trip envy!!!"

The strawberry pots at Lowe's are 9" high, about 7.5" at the widest point, and the top opening is 4.5" wide. There are 4 'pockets', 2 on each side, and at 2 different levels. The pocket opening in 3"x2" wide, and 2" deep. If you want one, go now, because the stores here only got 4 or 5 each. They cost $10.00. Mini and semi-mini trailers will be perfect for this size. I picked up 2 more.....

Barbara

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 7:48PM
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dognapper2(5)

Barbara,
Do you still have the item number or label with what they called the planters @ lowes? I checked online and found nothing. Will call first I think before driving 45 minutes.

(wrote this question once this morning but it disappeared...wonder which forum it landed under!)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 9:52AM
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bspofford

Item # is 250550. If you get one, check the glazing inside to make sure all the pockets are glazed.

Hope you find it!

Barbara

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 11:38AM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

Barbara, how important is the galzing on the inside? The only ones I've seen so far either had no galzing at all (and I didn't like that) or only had it on the out side.
John

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 12:52PM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

Dora, I too had thought about using garden wire ties to wire the two together for a center piece. I think one could grow them flat under lights and then carefully wire them together for display! That would be very beautiful indeed. Keeping them together might prove a bit tricky from the lighting standpoint, but not any moreso than a standard strawberry jar.

Even laying flat these would make a great centerpiece and low enough to be able to see the person across the table from you.

I still need to find a 'regular' strawberry jar...I would really love to try a shorter one with mini's.

Right now I'm trying to figure out the distance to the lights for mine on it's back. I have it in an area of about 1'x2' with 3 flat CFL's over top. I think they are 26 watts each giving me about 800 FC of light at 12" above the leaves. Would this be enough or should I lower the hood to increase the FC's?

Thanks,

John

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 1:05PM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

I love those pansy pocket planters! Just the right size at 4x4, wish I could find them around here...guess I'll have to order online!
john

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 1:18PM
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bspofford

I too think those pansy planters are really cute.

As far as the glazing.....because I want to try to wick water, I don't want to have an unglazed pot. It would absorb water but I oculdn't control it. To my mind, it would be like the two-part self-watering pots.

Barbara

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 5:43PM
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nwgatreasures(7)

John,
I'm not a good person to give advise worthy of credibility on lighting.

I appreciate your assumption that I might be though.

dora

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 7:17PM
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dognapper2(5)

Went out to Lowes yesterday and they 3 left. Since I don't have any AVs big enough to experiment with I picked up some succulents for an outside experiment. Here is what I built. (Really thinking about ordering the Pansy Pocket though!)

testing the photo instructions:

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 3:07AM
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nwgatreasures(7)

testing is successful.
It is so much easier to view an image here than having to take 5 clicks and go look for something.

Dora

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 11:50AM
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bspofford

The jar looks terrific, and a great setting with the lichen/moss covered rocks! Man, you are doing the flamenco bigtime!

John in PA, see what you started.....

Barbara

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 1:51PM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

LOL!

Great looking jar and nice display area.

And I, too, am planning on ordering a Pansy Pocket Planter! Or two! I think they would be great for minis.

John in Pa.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 5:23PM
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dognapper2(5)

Pansy pockets are on sale ;)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 11:59AM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

I saw that they were on sale and have ordered two! Can't wait till they get here. I have found a few strawberry jars today, but I like the smaller pansy pockets...wish I had ordered more!

John, whose computer died and the new one still isn't working right! LOL

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 5:51PM
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bspofford

I was kicking myself for not buying the pot in cobalt blue, and it was gone when I went back the next day, so stuck for the red one. I called all Lowe's in Maine and New Hampshire, no luck.

I was in Jo-anns Fabrics today, and they had strawberry pots! In blue! 60% off of $24.99!! I got one, and like it a lot. It's a little taller than the Lowe's pot, and has six pockets instead of four.

Just a heads-up if you are interested....

Barbara

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 2:25AM
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dognapper2(5)

Too funny...I picked the redish one over the olive green ones that were out in front at Brewer Lowes. (2 or 3 left last week). Had to ask really tall man to reach it and could hardly tell there was a different colored one back there lighting was so bad.

I wanted to go smaller so ordered the tan pansy pocket when it went on sale along with a set of these (link). Sort of wished I got the blue one after...

Was at Bangor Home Depot Tuesday and they had cactus all planted in a cobalt blue strawberry planter several inches shorter than than Lowes. (1 left on Wednesday although the 4 pockets were empty of their aloe type plants.)

my blog ...to see what inspired the egglings search :)
http://sockshavenothumbs.blogspot.com/

Here is a link that might be useful: Egglings

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 7:03AM
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bspofford

Dognapper,

Are you aware we have an African violet club here in Maine? We meet on the 1st Wednesday of every month, and would love to have you join us.. I know, it's a long way to Biddeford....

Barbara

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 11:37AM
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plantman532000(z5 NcntrlPa.)

the pansy pocket planters came in yesterday and they are adoriable! I stayed up late last night after work and transplanted six of my semi mini trailers into the cuties (three in each jar) I left the top open due mostly to not having enough plants, guess I'll have to get more LOL.

I did put a wick in the jars as well as putting a small plastic cup upside down in the bottom to reduce the soil volume. I estamate that the volume is close to 4 or 5 of the 2 inch pots the plants were in before.

Only problem I had was that the pockets are very narrow so I had to 'bare root' my plants and very caefully put the roots thru the pockets. It would work very well with younger plants or starter size plants.

So far they look great.

I will get some pics as soon as I can get them taken.

I really, REALLY wish I had ordered more Pansy Pocket Planters!

John

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 10:18AM
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