Self watering ceramic pots.....

smithjm(z9 FL)September 25, 2006

I just got some for my av's and was wondering if I can leave them in their plastic pots and then insert them in the ceramic pot. Or do I have to plant them directley there? They're 6 inch pots, I hope that's not too big? They had them at walmart for $3 on clearance!! so I couldn't resist, considering they're about $25 and over on-line. That's why I was thinking of maybe leaving them in their 3 and 4' plastic pots. Any thoughts?

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irina_co(z5 CO)

Smithjm,

Ceramic pots are killers!!! And 6" are serial killers!

Keep your Avs in plastic!

The size of the pot should be 1/3 of the diameter of the leaves. Do you have violets 18" leaf span?

The fact that these pots are so expensive - is because they are costly to make, not because they are good for violets.

The only thing that did good for me in this 6" pot was a huge nematanthus - goldfish plant. It grew so big - I passed it to a lady with a bigger house.

Where did you get you Avs? In what soil are they planted now?

Next time avoid these pots. The plastic pots are under $1 and they work better. They have in WM the palstic selfwatering pots for 99c with a cross in a bottom you are supposed to fill with perlite - and then with soil. They work much better.

These 6" pots can work OK only with really big plants. And they are heavy monsters.

Sell your pots on ebay.

Cheers

Irina

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 7:32PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Irina is right: Unless you have an AV with a span of at least 18", those 6" pots are way too big. You should never go up more than one pot size and none of my AVs are in anything larger than a 4" pot; including an 'Apache Rainmaker' I had several years ago with a 28" span.

I think those ceramic self-watering pots were invented by someone who was on a crusade to kill AVs! ;-)

Seriously, several of my club members went to the ceramic pots when they started being the "craze." They all switched back to the plastic self-watering pots or wick or mat watering within a year.

Buy the cheaper WM 99-cent plastic planters or some other type of plastic planter like the Oyama (which I am using with amazing success with AVs, Chirita and Streps).

Sell your 6" ceramic pots on eBay. You'll be able to afford a ton of those WM pots and new AVs with your profit! :-)

Linda

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 10:49PM
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smithjm(z9 FL)

Well even better, I still have the receipt. I only bought them 3 days ago, so i'll take them back. Irina, I have a pic of the pots I think your're talking about. Only the one I have is much bigger, let me know if there it. If they are I don't think they come smaller than 4'. All of my av's came in 2 1/2' pots so will it be ok if I plant them in the 4'? Some av's that I have came from Rob's website and others from ebay. Does this same pot rule apply to chiritas?

Here is a link that might be useful: http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2528316160064262119HutIpY

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 6:37AM
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bspofford

Wow! I viewed your album, and you have gorgeous plants. If you are as successful with AVs you'll have some knockout stuff.
I can see that you are used to having your plants in nice decorative pots, and having a hard time seeing your violets in a plain old green plastic pot. Trust me, they are quite happy in them as long as their other needs, light- temperature - fertilizer - growing medium - are met. If these other needs aren't met, a fancy pot won't make any difference.
When I repot, I use the 1-1-1 mix spoken about so often in this forum, that's one part each of peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite. A wick is placed in each pot, and an 8 ounce deli container is used as a water reservoir. This has been very successful for me, albeit not quite so attractive as a pretty container.
Since you are just starting with violets, please continue to ask questions, and definitely tag Rachel's reflections as an incredible source of information also.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rachel's Reflections

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 11:08AM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

You can spray paint the *outside* of the deli container and pot for a more decorative unit. For the pot, you can also put tin foil on the inside and slightly overlap. Then, when you spray, you keep the inside free of paint and can play around with the foil to get non-painted edge "patterns." Plastic wrap works, too.

Linda

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 2:43PM
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lilypad22(7)

If you get the deeper decorative flower pots, you can put a plastic resevoir (deli container)in the bottom and your plant on top. I have also used the bottom of the ceramic/plastic flower pot (ones without drainage holes) as the resevoir and set something inside to hold up the plant to the level of the top of the planter, sometimes those domed drink cup tops with the hole cut out?, Some of those will fit into some planters and the pot sits in that, run the wick thru that hole... Lots of creative ways. I also know some people that set their plant, still in it's plastic pot, in the top of those two piece ceramic planters. Personally I have some plants growing in them that do fine. I also had some plants not do well, so I repotted them into something else. tish

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 2:58PM
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smithjm(z9 FL)

bspofford, thank you for looking at my album. I actually had more pictures, even of plants I don't own anymore. But I'm not sure what I did, and had erased my entire album!! so i had to start from scrath. BTW your're right, I do like decorative pots much better but whatever's better for the plant i'll do. You know someone should make nice pretty plastic selfwatering pots. Everythings is just a plain white or green (wich I don't mind) but I do like variety. i'm wondering if the reservoir is the 6' not the insert. The insert doesn't look like 6' to me. Anyway, why is ceramic not good for violets?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 3:06PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

smithjm - hi,

no it is not OK to plant miniature and semiminiature violets in 4" pots. They should always be in these 2.5" pots. When you repot them - you cut 1/4 of the rootball off from the bottom. add some soil on the bottom, and some - on the top - and you are good for another 4 months - and it should be the same size pot.

To keep a small violet in a big pot - it can kill it plus it doesn't look attractive.

I think the ladies gave you some ideas.

Oyama pots come in 2.5" sizes. Since my violets grow best on wicks - I think the extremely attractive solution for a SMALL collection is the transparent plastic reservoirs you can stick your pot.

Look at the page 4 of the catalog of the Violet Showcase.
They also have smaller size self watering pots on their main page close to WM 99c.

Good luck

Irina

Here is a link that might be useful: violet showcase

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 3:11PM
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smithjm(z9 FL)

Irina, i have my semis in a 2 inch pot. I was talking about my standards. I know they can go in 4'pots, I just want to know what's so bad about ceramic pots?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 3:17PM
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vickster257(Z7aNJ)

Hi Smithjm (sorry I don't know your first name),
It's funny, what works for one individual does not for some folks.

Early on while growing AV's, all of my 250 plants were grown in plastic pots in the basement and did quite well and won several top prizes in the AV show.

Now that I only have less than 20, it is easier to fuss with them daily and they were being grown in plastic 4" pots with wick watering from a deli container; however, they currently are displayed in the dining room on two servers and living room so needed to give them a nicer cosmetic appearance so opted for the two piece ceramic pots which are working out quite well for me. I am not opposed to the use of plastic pots and use them in other situations as we have many plants (my husband will tell you that I have too many). But you have to remember that the ladies gave you good advice as far as not using a 6" pot when a small starter plant is utilized. If you have any questions, will be happy to answer them if you send me an e-mail. Good luck.
Vicki

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 3:17PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

You can buy Volkmann Reservoirs which come with a wick and a 4" squat pot. AVs prefer a more shallow pot. Or, you can go to www.avplanters.com and look at the Oyama Planters. The photos below are of plants growing on the Volkmann reservoirs.

Linda

Here is a link that might be useful: close-up

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 3:23PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Linda -

Thank your for the chance to see your album, gorgeous dogs and - looks like you love PINK - violets.

My Fun Trail is solid blue. I heard it is supposed to give some pink flowers, some blue.

Smithjm -

you can pot up your standard vioolets into 4' pots when the leaf span gets to be close to 10-12". I only keep large violets in 4". Standards are all in 3.5". So - Rainman. Optimara Hawaii, SuperDuper, Sequins-n-Ribbons, my beloved Beachcomber. Or yeah - Designer Dress. This thing has a potential to be a wagon wheel size.

Good Luck

irina

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 4:19PM
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smithjm(z9 FL)

Thanks Irina, I didn't know I had to wait until they're leaf span is 10-12". I thought I could just put them in 4" now. I'm glad I know better now. I would have killed them lol, I have a lot to learn...So the ones i have now that are in 2 1/2" pots I can leave them there for now until they reach leaf span of 10" and them put them in 4"?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 4:34PM
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smithjm(z9 FL)

Irina also thanks for that website. It actually answered all my questions. And thank you guys for giving me your suggestions. Just trying to learn, so sorry if I asked to many of them.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 4:54PM
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christy2828(8a)

If I could ask a quick question, I always hear about the size pot. Is a 2 1/2 inch pot the diameter and/or the depth? And in growing AV's in self-watering ceramic pots does the depth make any difference? I have a 2 1/2 by 2 1/2 self-watering Ceramic pot with an AV growing in it. I ordered another AV, that is going to go in a 2 1/2 by 1 1/2 SWCP. Is this too shallow? Or is the other too deep? I am holding onto the thought that these pots will work, and have been watching this thread! I have it in the 1:1:1 soil, and will let it dry some between watering. I also liked the idea of not filling the resevoir completely. Thanks for an informative thread! Christy

PS I ordered a Rebel's Splatter Kake! It should arrive tomorrow!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 5:40PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Smith: The sin isn't in asking too many questions; it's in not asking enough!

Irina: I have other colors of trailers but I think those were the only ones in bloom when I got on a photo-taking kick :-)

The dogs are my best buds. I'm lucky to work out of my home so I am with them 24/7 as they stay in my office with me. I'm training Joe in obedience; he's already a show champion and field titled like his Daddy.

Smith: The reason many people don't care for ceramic self-watering pots is they are hard to flush to get out the accumulated salts and they are so darned heavy (especially the big ones). And, as Vicki said, if you have a lot of plants, they are not as convenient.

I really like the Oyama Planters (I am *not* a seller lol) and I've seen people who are artistically-inclined decorate them. One reason I like them over reservoir-watered plants is I'm forced to pick up each plant when I water it so they actually get more care. Guess I'm lazy ;-)

Linda

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 6:44PM
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smithjm(z9 FL)

I forgot I had these pots from exotic angel that I had saved up from previous purchases. You know the ones that come in different colors? there's a link below so you know the ones i'm talking about. Their 4 or 4 1/2 inches, so I was thinking of cutting those to make smaller and I have all sort of colors wich will go really pretty with some of the av's i have. Has anyone done this?

Here is a link that might be useful: Exotic angel plastic pots

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 9:02AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Smithjm,

You just want to go your own way..

If you cut them - you will end with a sharp edge. You can smooth it up by melting it with the lighter flame. Be careful - do not burn the house.

What you can do to use them and not to cut them - is to fill the bottom third with a perlite, and then soil. Then plant the V. If you make some breathing holes an inch from the bottom with a saudering iron - will be even better. You can basically keep water with fertilizer in a saucer all the time - provided that your soil mix is 1:1:1 (peat-perlite-vermiculite) - and it is called Texas method. You can google it and read more.

Cheers

irina

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 3:47PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Hi, Smith:

I'm afraid your desire for pretty containers has outweighed your desire for beautiful, healthy plants. You have pretty much ignored great advice from some very knowedgeable people who've "been there; done that." So here's what I've learned in 35+ years of growing African Violets:

1. African Violets need constant low moisture. An occasional, short-term drying out (but not to the point of wilting) is okay; rehydrate slowly.

2. African Violets do best when grown on reservoirs, in plastic self-watering containers or on mats.

3. African Violets do best when grown in a mixture of peat, perlite and vermiculite; or, pro-mix, perlite and vermiculite and are constantly fertilized with a weak solution.

4. African Violets should be planted in containers approximately 1/3 the size of their leaf span or smaller.

5. African Violets do well in containers which allow them to be flushed to remove salts and fertilizer build-up.

6. African Violets do not do as well in ceramic self-watering containers.

7. African Violets do not do as well when top or bottom watered.

8. African Violets die in reservoirs or self-watering containers when the soil mix is heavy (i.e. straight or mostly commercial African Violet "soil").

9. African Violets die when planted in containers way too big for their root mass.

  1. African Violets die in containers which cannot be readily flushed.

Linda

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 4:39PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Christy:

AVs like shallow pots over deep ones so you should be okay.

My 2.5" planters are 2" deep and the 3.5" planters are 2.5" deep.

Have fun!

Linda

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 4:45PM
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smithjm(z9 FL)

I actually have not ignored anything you guys have said. I was just asking if the EA 'plastic pots' wich is what you guys recommended 'not ceramic' would be good if i cut them. It was yet another question from someone who really wants to learn what to do or what not to do. I do not want to go my own way, I wanted to ask if that option will work and obviously well I got my answer. I was considering other methods before I had to spend any money, that is all. I'm sorry if you guys thought I was 'ignoring your suggestions' I didn't mean to come across like that. Thank you again for all your suggestions.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 5:12PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Hi, Smith:

The EA pots are not self-watering. They are pots with saucers. Check the link below for how plastic self-watering pots work.

With the colorful EAs, you can spray paint deli containers in a complimentary color and wick water.

If you need to cut them down, you can use that air hose for aquariums to cover the rough edges.

You AVs will do better if you let them become root bound before you repot. And don't repot new plants immediately. They need a month or so to get over the shock of shipping and acclimate to new surroundings to better handle the shock of repotting.

Linda

Here is a link that might be useful: Plastic Self-Watering Planters

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 6:14PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Smithjm -

here in this discussion is actually the short and very precise set of instructions how to grow violets really well. To the point you will be winning prizes on the Shows.

You can use whatever containers you have, we just think that ceramics is a real no-no, the rest - you can improvise. The same no-no is to plant a really small violet into the very big pot. You need to go in steps - solo cup - 3 inches - 4 inches. So you still can use your angel pots, but in 3-4 months.

There is a big difference in growing ivy and violets - they are less forgiving. And we cannot use the AV technique for cactus growing or orchid growing - we will kill them all.

But - you want to try - you try. Don't get upset - grow good violets and show us your pics.

Good luck

irina

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 7:30PM
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lilypad22(7)

The self watering ceramic pots cause the soil to retain too much water, drowning the roots and causing them to rot. Also you cannot "leach" the soil in ceramic planters.

I have some plants growing in them for years, big happy healthy plants. It seems to work better if I don't fill the bottom pot with too much water. I have also had to remove a plant or two from this type planter that I tried to grow in them and they were not happy.

I also got a different type of two piece ceramic planter at a thrift store for 60 cents, the top planter is very deep (way too deep for an av) and has a lot of exposed area that is not glazed....I thought an episcia would grow nice in that, but the soil held tons of water cause too much unglazed area was soaking up water...it would be great for a bog plant though!, ha.

Use what works for you..but a happy violet is going to look really nice and bloom a lot.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 6:36PM
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tammypie(9)

smithjm,

I grow my AV's in plastic pots, no larger than 4" for standards, no larger than 2" for minis - and I put those pots into my ceramic pots I got from ebay. Just read that shallow plastic pots with drainiage holes work best for me.

I love the ceramic pots tho, their pretty designs, etc. just afraid to plant my AVs into them.

Tammy

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 1:40AM
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smithjm(z9 FL)

I decided to give the oyama planters a try. Here's one of my african violets in it. Thanks, to all of you for the great advice. This one looks really happy. I haven't planted my other ones yet. I just planted one just to see how well she would do and so far so good.

Here is a link that might be useful: Okie Easter Bunny

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 2:02PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

You would love them. They are quite care free.

I.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 5:21PM
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africanvioletlvr

I use the same type pots as smithjm and my violets are fine. I stick them in pots that are the size as that tall plant in hr link. I like putting mine in large pots and so far I've never had a problem. Violets are okay for a while in a ceramic pot. My first violet was in one, but about a month ago (it's been in the pot about 2 years) I repotted it. They are not fun. The pots get moldy and icky. My violet was also turning yellow. It's much better now that it has a big walmart self-watering pot (which is like $1.97)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 1:25PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Hi Africanvioletlvr -

your plants are in too big pots. Yes - I totally agree with you about the WM self watering ones. I like them OK - but smaller ones -99cents - are better - violets bloom better when the pot is 1/3 of the leafspan. Kinda a bit rootbound.

Why I like Oyamas better than WM 99cents - you don't spill when you water Oyamas. I always spill water with WM guys.

have a nice weekend

I.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 5:02PM
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africanvioletlvr

Yes, I understand they are in large pots. It would explain why it took many of them a LONG time before they began blooming. Most of my violets are now accustomed to large pots and they bloom usually once a month. some like to bloom more like twice or three times a month. I like big pots though. I'm just weird like that. The same as I like them to branch out rather than grow the typical violet way (but I do hate necky violets)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 6:46PM
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korina(9b, Sunset 17)

Africanvioletlvr, if you like 'branching' AVs, I'll bet you'd love trailing AVs. They form multiple crowns (on purpose, unlike the usual single-crown plants) and still bloom their heads off; they even come in standard, semi-mini, and mini sizes (mostly refers to leaf size -- they'll grow as large as you let them). You can grow them in large shallow pots, or in hanging baskets, whichever you like. And to propagate, just clip off a crown and root it; much faster than leaves.

Go to the AVSA web site and down to the suppliers page; most suppliers with on-line catalogs will have a trailers section.

Good luck and have fun!

Korina

Here is a link that might be useful: AVSA

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 1:43PM
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