Source for Superphosphate?

quimoiOctober 26, 2010

I have a potting mix recipe that calls for superphosphate. I have managed to gather the Pro-Mix but we can't find superphosphate anywhere.

Can anyone recommend a mailorder source, preferably one with low shipping or at least one that would have some other useful items for growing AVs and seeds

I've had such a difficult time finding a good growing mix and I want to use this to pot up several plantlets ASAP.

Diana in PA

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irina_co(z5 CO)

Diana -

you can get superphosphate in the nurseries - and you can get bone meal in any big box store. I would say it is safer to use BM because it is slow release and it is harder to overdo it. I add a pinch in each bucket of soil just because.

If you use a balanced fertilizer - DynaGro is my preferred one, Optimara makes a very good one too - and if you belong to the club - "Plant Marvel" is a good one - but it comes in 25 lbs bags - so it is very economical for the club - but way too much for a one person - you can get by without superphosphate.

Good Luck


    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 2:56PM
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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

The active ingredient in superphosphate is monocalcium.

I don't recommend using superphosphate. You would be better off with a "complete" fertilizer if you are fertilizing African violets. I recommend 20-20-20. Numbers that are close together are considered "complete"

I have a regular fertilizer program since I show my plants so I change fertilizers about once every two months to get all the secondary nutrients.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 5:58PM
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I use an orchid fert. on my AVs and Streps.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 9:24AM
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If any of you have a soil mix recipe which substitutes fertilizer (20-20-20, Optimara, or whatever) for the superphosphate with the Pro-Mix, please share. I have seen several that call for superphosphate and Pro-Mix.

I may be able to get superphosphate on eBay combined with some Fafard cactus & succulent soil which will help with shipping. (For clarity, I will not actually be combining the superphosphate and the Fafard except for shipping costs.)


    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 3:22PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Diana -

my apologies - but looks like you are reading VERY ancient sources for the AV soil mix. Old timers used garden loam and aged manure and superphospate and successfully grew wagon wheel size violets. Nowdays - it is more accepted to use pretty much sterile soil mix - peat, perlite, vermiculite, dolomite lime to fix the acidity of the peat. Charcoal is optional. All the nutrients come from specialized soluble fertilizers that include NPK and micronutrients.

Some people use Pro-mix BX as a base for their own mix - which is mostly peat anyway and they add perlite and vermiculite.

I would say that it would be interesting if you use the mix with and without superphosphate on 2 starters of the same variety and see which one grows better for you. There is no mix, no fertilizer and no routine that works for everybody from Point Barrow to Louisiana. Every grower eventually developes his own best practice.

I am not sure that Fafard cactus and succulent mix will be perfect for violets. It is fine tuned to the desert plants, not for AVs that come from high humidity mountain forests.

Tommyr -

a friend of mine used 30:1:1 orchid fertilizer for her violets - and they looked awful. She switched to DynaGrow - which is more balanced fertilizer for orchids that are not grown in bark - and they do great.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 6:04PM
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I asked someone whose beautiful plant had just won a "Best of Show" what mix they used. However, I have seen several other ones which call for a small amount of superphosphate in a soiless mix. Don't worry - I won't tell her she was called "very ancient" lol! You can call me very ancient though.

I grew perfectly fine violets for many years using whatever approximation of Montague Free's recipe I could manage. My mother and I both used woods' dirt, which seems to be sold by orchid suppliers as "forest humus," the packaged dried manure (Hoffman cow manure) and something for sand. I know the sand was always a problem and was exchanged for perlite whenever it became popular. I was ready to see if I had any good place to get woods dirt again.

I even wondered if I could sterilize/pasteurize my own manure. You can and there is some detailed information which is interesting if you have a strong stomach! I gave up on that idea. (I had thought more of tossing some in an old microwave in the garage, turning it on and running than of an elaborate cooking project.) If anyone really wants to know, it looked like a steam canner or cooker might be best, although it wasn't the only option.

The Fafard cactus and succulent mix will be used on my succulents (no cacti since I don't need a living cat brush).

Diana in PA

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 9:43AM
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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

The main reason we changed from dirt or garden loam as a basic soil to soil less mix is because of root knot nematode. This worm hasn't been in violets since we stopped using the loam. Nematodes are excellent in natural soil by will kill African violets.

I'm another ancient one who used to wear white gloves and high heels with hat to AV shows! Can you imagine working all day at a show with heels on?


    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 10:45AM
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"What is this root knot nematode of which you speak?" :D

Okay, I'm not trying to start a discussion on this one but it was never an issue and I looked it up. It seems as though we probably didn't have a problem because it was too cold in Siberia, Pennsylvania (j/k, but it's starting to feel that way). We didn't use garden soil either, my mom would go to the woods (forest) and find the right kind and bring home buckets. It sounds like work, doesn't it?

The closest I expect I ever was to an AVSA group was NJ and I lived in Morris Co. but never went to Morristown. I don't think the bra-less 19-yr-old would have fit in with the African Violet Club (assuming there was one) from the photos in those old magazines!


    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 11:04AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

I think you can proudly call yourself an oldtimer if you joined AVSA under the name "Mrs.Robert Jones". If not - you are a newtimer.

I talked to Pat Hancock (Buckeye's violet hybridizer) on Raleigh Convention - and she mentioned using green sand, dehydrated manure, I think bone meal and a couple more ingredients to mix in your soil and let the batch sit for six months to settle - and than it is pure gold. I am it is sure something to make violets big and strong. On the other side - I saw Tom Greer's violets - and you cannot imagine anything bigger and brighter - and he grows them with a modern technology - he pressurizes his growing area with carbon dioxide.
So - there is more than one way to spruce them up - may be using reverse osmosis water if you live in a hard water area... There is a lot of things you can do... A great grower in FL makes his soil mix out of perlite, vermiculite and rock wool. No organics - and his violets are superb. For him - the secret - good fertilizer.

But - just regular repotting, good light source and grooming - works miracles and it is free. No need to buy $1500 worth of equipment to pressurize your living room with something you do not want to breath.

Barbara Spofford shared her experience with a nursing home resident growning super symmetrical violets by turning them on a windowsill every day by 15 minutes (7.5 degrees???) Barb - correct me if I am mistaken with the degrees of a turn.

EverYoung Irina with memory gone south, hair dyed blond and teeth...what teeth..

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 5:41PM
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I guess I am a newtimer ;).

Bless the nursing home resident. I'm sure it would work though. Mine sure notice when they don't get turned.

I'm not going to say a thing about my teeth. I used to say my feet were the only thing that were okay. Then in June they suddenly swelled, looked horrible, wouldn't fit any of my shoes (and never quite went back to normal).

After tests, the final response from 10-yr-old doctor: "You're old." "But why did it suddenly happen on June 10?" "It had to happen sometime."

I have seen a few Pat Hancock recipes floating around. Maybe she likes to try out different things from time to time. I was just reading an article in an older AVM about a woman who was growing hers successfully in plain vermiculite. That was a new one.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 6:09PM
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