Wick Watering and Fertilizer

khv0811June 24, 2011

I have all my African Violets wicking on top of grid-like cookie racks that rest on glass casserole dishes. I use liquid Optimara violet fertilizer, but I'm concerned that the fertilizer is being wasted when it evaporates through the grid on top of the dish. Is there a type of fertilizer stick that would be a better option or should I stick with the liquid fertilizer?

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You might try using a different receptacle to put your food and water in. I use deli containers and cut two hole in each top. One for the wick and the other near the edge for filling. I find that there is less of a chance for evaporation using them.
Fred in HJ

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 5:29PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)


what Fred suggests looks quite neat and yes - you lose less water - plus less chances to get the pests spread - I would think that it will stop soil mealies if you get "lucky" and bring a plant with them home.

In my case - I need this water to evaporate to create higher humidity around my plants - because my humidity can be single digits. You do not lose fertilizer, you lose water only, your fertilizer stays in your tray - and can become very concentrated - that's why I use 1/8 of a teaspoon per gallon of it - while a lot of growers use 1/4 of a teaspoon.

So - my spiel is - evaporation can be very good for your plants - or not - depends on your conditions. I would say - get a deli container - or margerine tub, use Fred's method on one plant and see how it likes it. I know that if I do it in my whole plant room - the humidity will go down and my plants will show it.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 6:57PM
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Those sound like great ideas. I'll try putting one plant in its own wicking container and see how that goes. Thank you both for your help!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 7:24PM
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Anyone know why half the time (or half of my plants?) the wick won't consistently keep my plants watered? I have to check regularly and pull some out to water separately because they are dry. Also, anyone know why every summer my AV leaves start turning brown beginning at the edge? Last summer I measured humidity and it was fine, but the plants did do better when I put plastic around some of them. I suspect temperature but I keep it in the mid seventies which I have read should be ok. Don't want to lower the temperature consistently unless I'm sure that's the problem, since it will cost me more. I use flourescent lights but recently moved to a house with more natural light and have placed some plants a few feet from a north window. Their leaves started turning brown right away too so I know it's not just a light problem.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 10:27AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)


change your wicks to something more reliable - to acrylic yarn or to a stripe of pantyhose. They do not dry as easy as mason twine. Mason twine gets salted easily - so you need to replace it more often.

Brown edges - plants are unhappy - but why? it can be too hot - but if you do not go over 80, it shouldn't be it. Do you have them repotted on time - when it is warm- the deterioration of the soil mix accelerates - and you can have acid soil sooner. and there is another thing - water - I would think that the water treatment facility would put more chlorine or chloramine in warm time of the year to fight the bacteria. If it is chloramine - you cannot get rid of it easily - I heard about some kind of de-chloramine pills aquarium hobbyists use. High chloramine will sure cause a lot of damage. I collect water from an airconditioner in summer for my watering needs.

I would take the most susceptible plant and try - repot it, and use bottled water on it and see how it reacts.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 5:13PM
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Thanks for the ideas Irina. Guess I will have to keep experimenting. I suppose the brown leaves could be related to summer water - I don't remember any problems of that sort when I lived with my parents and we had well water. Of course, we also had perfect lighting for African Violets so a lot of my other problems didn't exist, such as bleached leaves and plants that won't bloom because there is too much or too little light.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 11:46AM
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