Complete Newbie....AV pot questions

jerome(z9 CA)September 13, 2011

I recently got myself an African violet from a nursery - they only had 2 and both were parched and dying. I got the less dead, re-potted it, and got a tray with pea gravel to water it by. I feed it every watering with a very diluted liquid feed. In 6 weeks it has gotten a lot bigger and looks happy. I was so heartened by this that I ordered 4 more from the Violet Barn, and today went to Home Depot to buy real AV pots for them. Hence my questions:

Folks, these are double pots, outside/bottom pot to put water in, inside/top one to put the plant in....

Why don't they have holes on the bottom? It says they're porous but I can't see how a plant can get water through a solid wall. I put water in the pots and it doesn't seem to have seeped though in an hour or so.... I don't want to lose the beautiful plants I've ordered from Violet Barn.

Can you just put the food in the water of these bottom pots, and it'll seep up through the solid top pot?

Thanks for any guidance. These are beautiful plants.

Jerome

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ima_digger

I have a few of those pots and do not like them. After using them a while, they stop absorbing the water. You'd be better off returning them to HD and just get 4" pots. When you pot them up use av potting soil mixed with perlite. Check this forum for posts on potting and watering. You will find some great information. Good luck with your new collection. Soon you will bedcome addicted like the rest of us here.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 9:18AM
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jerome(z9 CA)

Thanks very much for the input...

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 11:34AM
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jerome(z9 CA)

What about those oyama pots? are they better?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 11:38AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Oyama pots are better - but you need to remember that the soil mix that goes to Oyamas should be 1:3:1 - peat - perlite : vermiculite - and they need a layer of perlite on a bottom.

You can make your own mix using Promix-BX instead of peat or Miracle grow AV soil - treating this soil as practically pure peat.

The secret with Oyama - you need to let the pots go a bit dry before refilling, not bone dry - but you need to give the soil a chance to reabsorbe some air.

Ceramic double pots.. some people manage .. but I wouldn't touch them with a long stick.

The second - when you order from Violet Barn - there are standard plants and there are mini and semi-mini. All violets that start with "Rob" - are small size - and shouldn't be potted in anything more than 2.5". Plants that start with Ma' - are all standard - and eventually should grow in 4" pots - but - wen you order them - they come as starters - and should grow to be at least 10" leaf span before you move them in 4" pot. They all come in Solo cups or small square pots, let them catch up. I usually move them to 3" first, and then to 4". Minis and semi-minis stay in small pots and get repotted to the same size pot - every 4-5 months, the root ball gets trimmed from the bottom, lower leaves removed and plant goes a bit deeper.

Irina

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 12:54PM
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jerome(z9 CA)

Irina, thanks. I've ordered 3 standards and one trailer (a big one - not a mini). What kind of pots and watering system works best for you? The current plant I have is in a plain pot in a gravel filled dish. I have watered both from above and below - to be honest.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 2:11PM
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suecirish(6 SE MA)

I use the two part pots that you bought and I like them. I have been using them for well over two years for some of my plants and have not had any problems. The water does get absorbed through the porous unglazed clay portion of the top. As with any type of pot, you have to monitor when starting to use them to see how they perform for your own conditions and care behavior. I have found that these pots do best when you keep the water level in the bottom from about 1/2 inch over to just touching the bottom of the pot.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 8:33PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Jerome -

you see - Sue figured just the way to work with them.

Since I have a large collection of AV and gesneriads and I grow them on a light stands on trays-mats-wicks - for me the best option would be plastic pots. I would say that's what all serious AV growers do - the ones that belong to clubs, participate in shows etc. Can you imagine - 500 ceramic pots... the floor will collapse..

I do not know what part of CA you are from - but there is an event in Sacramento this Saturday.

Even if you ordered standards and a trailer - they will come up as young starters. So - do not repot them into big pots until they grow to the size. And if you make it to the Show - you will probably be able to get pots and supplies - and more plants for yourself.

Irina

Here is a link that might be useful: Sacramento Show and Sale

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 12:23PM
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jerome(z9 CA)

This is great...Thanks for the advice on the big pots and avoiding putting small plants in big pots. I am from South Orange County, Irina...Trabuco Canyon area. I am afraid I am getting addicted to this - and adding it to a rose addiction. O boy.....

Jerome

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 12:27PM
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suecirish(6 SE MA)

You're absolutely correct, Irina. I should have added that as my collection grows, I cannot and do not keep all my violets potted in ceramic. I have a few that are my special favorite flowers and they are "shown off" by being in the pretty pots. Most of the others are growing in small plastic pots or cups in a mat watering system. But, in my own opinion, as a new grower it is good to try a number of different options and see what works best for you in your own environment. I might also say that buying some "expendible" plants, like inexpensive ones from the big box stores, is a good way to experiment and try different ways of doing things. Leaves can always be rooted to replace any failed trials!

And Jerome, addiction is the way of life for those of us who have become smitten with AVs, Enjoy it!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 10:45PM
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jerome(z9 CA)

Thanks Sue. Now I'm going to look up "mat watering system". This is all new to me.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 11:57PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Jerome -

rachelsreflections.org look for "wicking"

Irina

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 1:17PM
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jerome(z9 CA)

I am so excited. At the office now and they tell me my Violet Barn order has arrived at home.
Jean Pierre Croteau
Mas Wedding Day
Robs Wagga Wagga
Mas Winter Moon

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 5:14PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Fantastic choice.

Jean-Pierre Croteau is a large one. But they all will come as babies - so do not be in a hurry to repot.

irina

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 12:43PM
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jerome(z9 CA)

Very cool, Irina. Thanks. All of the babies were in bloom except for Jean-Pierre. I am learning a lot lurking here on the forum. I think the "rescue" AV I got about 6 weeks ago I potted into too heavy a soil medium (straight E.B. Stone AV soil...no perlite, nothing else). The plant has grown by leaps and bounds, and has flower buds on it, but their stalks (still very young) look really puny compared to the babies from Violet Barn. I am almost tempted to disbud the rescue plant to let it build up strength. When I repot in the spring, I'll lighten up the mix it's in.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 12:51PM
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