Reporting back and questions a year plus after hobby started!
I just wanted to visit back here again after a few months break - and say hello, as well as thank you, to everyone who helped establish this hobby for me;
...and ask some more questions which hopefully might help others too.
A year plus after I took up violets, the hobby is still going strong - even though I did kill a few in the process :-).
I don't have a large collection, at least not compared to serious growers on this site (Total of 15, including those grown from a leaf, and 2 more plants in the mail, on the way) - but "huge" according to my husband and sister who are baffled by how much I know about growing these little plants and all the "fuss" involved. Their idea of having a plant in the house is:
- "don't, it's too much trouble" (my husband) and
- "grab some green that you can't kill no matter what you do" (my sister).
In the beginning, like any new AV hobbist, I wanted to have some really pretty, special Lyndon Lion types right away, in addition to the sturdy but less "eventful" Optimaras from the local nursery.
I ordered Red summit, Live Wire, Witch Doctor and a Timeless Memory leaf ...but to make a long story short, these "specialty" ones didn't work out over the long term. They did in the beginning but I managed to lose all of them eventually. I also put down some leaves - some just didn't root, others did but came out just as spindly and fragile as their parents were and eventually died.
In the meantime, most Optimaras did very well, I have one (I believe it is Colorado) that is a great bloomer
... and the leaves I put down from most Optimaras turned into some really sturdy, happy and symmetrical young plants.
After forever and a day, the little "Timeless Memory" leaves finally yielded two established little plants (you can see the smallest plant to the right in the picture above, I divided them because it had tow crowns); but I can tell they will grow extremely slowly. These and the Witch Doctor (that is not doing well) are now the only "specialty" LL I have left. Everything else is Optimara.
And now the questions:
1. I recently decided to wick so I started with the two "Timeless" small plants and the Witch Doctor. I followed the instructions, per videos from seasoned growers, but now I am afraid the soil will be too wet all the time. I did make sure to use a light medium (1/3 or more perlite, 1/3 or more light course vermiculite, the right kind not sandy; and probably slightly less than 1/3 AV soil) - but I am still a bit scared the soil will stay too wet all the time. Can I take them out of the jar once in a while and let them dry a bit? Or does that mean I will interrupt the watering action in the wick and when I put them back it won't work anymore?
When I potted the small plants, I sprayed around the root with a bit of water so that the soil will settle around the plant and I won't have to pat it down; but that got the soil pretty wet already ...and with the wick inside the water now ...isn't that going to be too much? Or should I have abstained from spraying around the stem when I potted? In that case, I really would have had to pat down the soil as the plant was extremely loose and wiggly in the soil.
2. I have had my plants under one cheap WalMart grow light for well more than 6 months now, maybe close to a year. When should I think about changing it?
I do have a light meter and when there is no additional light coming from the window, only the grow light, the plants get about 500 foot-candles, towards the ends of the tube even slightly less....so I wonder whether I should add a second tube or just change this one and maybe get a fancier grow light (like Grow-Lux, etc) with wide spectrum, etc.
3. I do want to be able to grow some fancier ones eventually, so I couldn't help it and I ordered 2 more 'specialty" types from e-Bay that are now on the way: Ma's Pillow Talk and Blue Mist. Does anyone have any experience with these hybrids?? They sure do look nice but so did Live Wire and Red Summit. Any advice so I won't kill them too like it happened with these two? Are these any sturdier?
4. All the plants from leaf are now in plastic 3 oz cups. I decided to wick them by placing these cups in baby food jars and let them hang in there with the wick in the food jar. This seems easy but I wonder whether this method will also produce any level of extra humidity around the leaves in addition to the watering benefits of the wicking. It doesn't seem like it to me because the water in the jar is completely covered by the cup - but then again, the soil does stay damp all the time so that probably creates extra humidity anyway.
I SO hope I won't see root rot though.
5. Many of the plants in the 3 oz cups are getting clearly bigger in diameter than 3 times the diameter of the cup. I would like to re-pot them in something slightly larger so they can grow more (which also means I would no longer be able to wick them in baby food jars). But if I decide to do this, what should be the next size and can you offer any suggestions for a container? I found some short clear plastic cups at Kroger once but the jump in size seems a little too much relative to the 3 oz cups.
Any advice would be appreciated - thank you again!
This post was edited by Begonia2005 on Sun, Sep 1, 13 at 12:21