Haven't had to water forever...

frank325August 31, 2008

I feel like it's been over 2 weeks since I've really had to water this guy. Is this normal? This was an AV I got that had some leaves accidentally cut off, so I cut off many others to propagate and repotted him. 5-6 of these smaller leaves are new since then (back in June).

It's in a mix of perlite, vermiculite and potting soil. It has been probably almost 3 weeks since I watered it good from below. Once since then (but that was almost 2 weeks ago) did I water a little from on top. I dig down and things feel cool and moist. I do have it over a tray with water and rocks, so it's kept somewhat humid in a room that has the A/C vent closed off, so it's warmer in there than the rest of my house.

Is this normal? How does this potting mix stay most for so long!?

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I should also point out it's a couple feet from a southwest facing window, so it certainly isn't in deep shade in my house.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 1:55PM
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Hi Frank,

I must have overlooked this thread and I'm surprise nobody has responded yet. It does seem peculiar that after saturating it three weeks ago with a little top watering two weeks ago and you still have a damp pot. I would definitely not do any watering until it completely dries out.

When a pot does not dry out one starts to suspect that the root system is not pulling any water out of the pot. I guess I'd like to ask you a few questions about the plant. Is that a very recent picture? That is was it taken in the last couple of days? If it is just a few days old the plant looks very good so far. The leaves are nice and shiny. If you could check the leaves and see if they are limp or crisp and tell me, that would help a lot also.

Although I see quite a bit of perlite in the potting medium I'm still wondering if the soil is too dense. I would recommend about 1/3 perlite, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 potting soil. And maybe even a little bit more perlite.

I'm also having a little trouble of seeing whether there is a clear plastic saucer underneath the pot. Is there any chance that the water in the reservoir is touching the bottom of the pot and thus keeping the soil wet? Forgive me if this is an obvious simplistic question. I only ask this because I can't see very well and want to make sure that there is not a simple answer to this problem.

Anyway if you can answer a few of those questions that would be great. In the meantime do not water the plant anymore until the soil is completely dried out. That is basically how one should treat an African violet anyway. Little maintenance watering from the top is never a good idea. The violet should be watered well and then allowed to dry out before the next watering.

I hope this helps,


    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 1:23AM
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Yes, it's a recent picture. The soil is also as you described (1-1-1) so it's pretty light. (Speaking of that, i was at my sister-in-laws over the weekend and she has an AV in a pot with no holes using dirt from outside, and it's been alive for a year, go figure). I think it's a combination of 2 things. For one, I did have what you could call a filter in the bottom of the pot to prevent the soil from coming out of the large holes. It allowed water to come through, but maybe not very easily. So I plopped out the plant/soil, removed it, and plopped the plant back in. Maybe that will help. I also think that the room it's in is fairly warm and humid, so maybe that's the second reason it stayed moist for so long. We'll see now that I made that adjustment. The last idea is that maybe I have some weird disease where dry soil feels wet to my fingers... if that's the case, I should head to my doctor, but I'm thinking that's not what's going on :-P

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 9:41AM
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quinnfyre(z7 PA)

You know what? I sometimes have that same problem, where I can't tell if the soil is moist or dry. Not generally, but when the room is humid and a bit cool, the soil stays cooler and therefore feels like it might be damp when it is not. By the way, I have no problem being able to tell actually wet from dry : )

A way to work around this would be to take a bamboo skewer, stick it in the soil, and wait a half hour or so. If that looks damp when it is pulled out, then you're good. If it's dry, then you may have that weird disease after all : )

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 1:19PM
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You guys are so funny! lol I sure hope neither of you have that disease!

Frank, it's very possible that the filter you described may have been keeping some water from draining. Time will tell us if the pot is going to dry out.

The things I would be looking for is when the soil is wet and the leaves are limp as if they were not getting any water. If this happens you will more than likely have root rot and you will have to take drastic measures to save the plant. I do not think you have root rot at the time being. The African violet looks very crisp to me; very shiny. But I think it's a good idea that the filter was removed. I would just keep a good eye on it and practice good watering techniques and I think everything will be just fine.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 6:07PM
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