oyama pot watering

jerome(z9 CA)November 21, 2011

I have recently put my 5 African violets into Oyama pots. How literally do you take the advice to let them dry out between waterings? I followed the potting instructions and filled the water at first to the top line. Now, 9 days later, all but the biggest plant still have significant amounts of water left in the reservoir.

Is it normal for newly potted plants (the ones in question are in 4" pots) to take a long time to take up water? How long should I wait after they're dry to fill up again to the lowest line?

Thanks for any advice.

Jerome

P.S. Ma's Winter Moon is still lookin' scrawney. Almost feel like putting pure "Super Thrive" in the reservoir! :-)

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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Jerome:

All of my violets and streps are on Oyama Planters; the 4" have fairly good-sized reservoirs and I very seldom have to refill those more than once every 10 days or so. I do the "lift" test. If the pot feels light, I add to the reservoir. If it feels heavy, I don't.

Does the soil feel wet/damp in the ones with water left in the reservoir? That's the real test. And if the soil is dry, did you remember to put in the layer of perlite before you added your potting mix?

What is your potting mix ratio? I use about 2:1 perlite and Metro Mix. Sometimes I add more perlite to the mix. Like my cooking, I never measure.

As for Ma's Winter Moon: They all adapt to the shock of shipping and transplanting at differing rates. I have some violets I bought in July and August that have quadrupled in size. I have others that are just now showing signs of liking my environment.

I received two of the chimera Cool Touch at the same time (one was a gift) from the same grower. They were the same size and both repotted into the same mix on the same day and sit side-by-side on my stand. One has bloomed twice and is almost three times its original size. The other is just now showing its first blooms and catching up with the first in size.

They're like people...no two are the same.

Give Ma's Winter Moon a chance to adjust. She may be a slow starter. ;-)

Linda

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 1:31AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

I think Linda covered the works.

I just wanted to repeat that was said on our club meeting. Ma's hybrids perform the very best in their soil. It makes quite a difference - and they do not grow them in Oyamas.

Anyway- if your Winter Moon is still suffering from a transplant shock - I would splash the water out from the bottom pot - and enclose the whole piece in a baggie for a week. It is like a spa treatment for the violets, it invigoorates them.

I.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 12:00PM
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jerome(z9 CA)

Thanks for all this feedback. Linda, yes, I did put a layer of perlite in before the potting mix. I put in a ratio of 1 part AV potting mix (E.B. Stone, I think...?) 1 part perlite and 1 part vermiculite. Funny, the plant that was doing best for me of all 5 was my "rescue" violet that I'd planted in pure AV mix (without vermiculite or perlite) in a glazed pot with no special treatment. I did everything wrong trying to get it out of the pot...wound up breaking a lot of leaves - disaster! The Ma's Wedding Day is looking OK....Winter Moon had a mushy leaf, which I trimmed and, well- we'll just see.

My attitude is probably cavalier - if the Ma's plants make it, fine; if not...whoosh, into the basket. I'm not going to go and get special soil at this point. Maybe when I repot them in 6 months.

None of the plants are suffering from transplant shock - not a droopy leaf in sight. Thanks for all your help everyone.

Jerome

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 2:44PM
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aviolet6(7)

If the top of soil is sufficiently moist I would dump out the remaining water and do let the plant dry out enough to where the pot starts to feel a little light. I almost lost a plant to root rot in an oyama pot because I overwatered or watered when not dry enough. I've also lost them to root rot when wicked. So now I don't wick constantly. I remove the wick from the water when the plant seems sufficiently watered. I do the same with oyama pots. Good luck!

Tricia

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 3:55PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Hi, Jerome:

Up the perlite to at least 2:1:1 (maybe even 3:1:1 since you're using the AV soil). When your AV soil runs out, and if you can find it, I recommend getting Metro Mix 300 or 366 but do *not* get the kind with coir. You don't need vermiculite with the Metro Mix. I get my Metro Mix at the local Co-Op.

Plants on wick or reservoir watering need very light soil to work and AV soil makes the medium way too heavy (meaning it keeps the roots from getting enough air).

I, personally, have no problems with soil staying too wet. I have grown many a nice show plant with the soiless mix; something I was unable to do when I used regular violet potting soil.

Oh, I almost forgot, use 1/2 strength fertilizer each time you fill your reservoir and once every six weeks or so take the violets to the sink and run plain water through them until it runs clear. This washes out the salts.

Again, I have no investment in nor interest in Oyama Planters; they just work for me.

Linda

PS: My AV mentor once told me: "Linda, it takes as much room to grow an ugly plant as it does a pretty one. It's your choice on which kind you wish to feast your eyes." If they're ugly...out they go.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 6:53PM
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jerome(z9 CA)

I don't think I am a very good AV grower. The Oyama pots seem too moist. I have drained the reservoirs on 3 of the plants that were soaked, not taking up enough water and I feared root-rot. They're not getting lighter. It's okay. I'll learn through mistakes.

And...I am addicted. Bought 2 new ones at Green Thumb yesterday when I was out to buy alfalfa meal for the roses. Now I have 7. Stupid Jerome! Stupid.

The ones in nurseries are always unlabeled too...which is pain. These two are beautiful. Both have variegated foliage, one with somewhat double blue purple flowers and dark green foliage, the other with tons of lavender pink very double flowers and almost black green variegated foliage. They both look to be huge growers, which is why I bought them. Love big plants.

I am close to giving away my Rob's Wagga Wagga trailer. I just think that kind of plant (really small leaves and delicate constitution) is not my style. We'll see.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2011 at 11:06PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Hi, Jerome:

Check out my thread on photos of my new stand for photos of happy plants living in Oyama Planters ... and thriving even though light-deprived for almost four months.

Your problem is your mix is way too heavy. If you want to be successful with reservoir/wick watering you will alter your medium to facilitate that type of watering. And the first thing you will do is throw out the AV soil. The instructions at AVplanters.com (site for Oyama Planters) even advises you will need a light mix for them to work properly.

Very few commercial nurseries even use AV soil any more. Actually, when I used to buy commerically-grown violets I don't recall them being in violet soil. But it's been 20 or more years since I've bought one so I could be misremembering. ;-)

Did you look into Metro Mix (either 300 or 366) or Pro Mix while at the nursery?

Don't mean to sound harsh, but the reason you're not having success with your violets and wick watering is because you're not adapting and doing what is necessary.

If you can grow roses (which I find extremely hard to grow so I envy you your ability) I know you can grow beautiful violets. :-)

Linda

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 12:53AM
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jerome(z9 CA)

Thanks Linda. I'll look up metro mix this next week. If necessary, I'll repot them again, but won't repotting too often kill 'em? Thanks for the advice.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 1:00AM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

You're welcome, Jerome.

It's better to repot too often than not enough.

And don't worry about Rob's Wagga Wagga being too delicate. His AVs are very tough. Could it be over potted? If it is it will take a while for the roots to fill the pot; then the foliage will start and then the blooms.

I received some starter streps in October and ran out of 3.5" planters so had to put some in the 4.5" and 5" pots. They are doing okay but not putting out new leaves like those in the 3.5" pots nor are they as stable. That may be what's happening to Wagga Wagga.

BTW, what were your new AVs potted in? And why don't you share a photo? We all love photos!

Linda

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 3:03AM
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suecirish(6 SE MA)

Don't feel all alone, Jerome. I have never been able to master the art of wick watering either. No matter what I have tried to adjust to adapt myself to that method, it has not worked. Not everyone has to grow their violets with exactly the same method. I do perfectly well growing some of my most beautiful and healthy violets in the two part ceramic pots which everyone else seems to treat with disdain. I also use mat watering, and you can also use a combo of mat and wick which has worked better for me than wicking into a reservoir of water. I am not a plant pamperer - if a plant does not take to the conditions in my home, it is not meant to live here!

I am just encouraging you to just keep experimenting until you find what works best for you and your own violets in your specific and unique conditions. It sounds like you are doing great so far!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 7:39AM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Hi, Sue:

I took a really bad looking, sadly neglected AV a friend had given up on. (She's one of those "I can't grow violets" people.) It was planted in a two-part ceramic pot and nothing done to it for well over a year.

Brought it home; lightened the mix and put it back in the same pot. Three months later I took it back to her full of blooms and absolutely huge. Left her with soil and strict instructions to repot in six months, use half-strength fertilized water and watch the reservoir if she wanted to keep the violet healthy. It's been two years and her AV is a happy camper.

So while, for me, they aren't practical with 200+ AVs and streps, I can see where you have gorgeous AVs in them.

Linda

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 2:54PM
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Jajohnson2(8 WA)

I had never heard of oyama pots until I stumbled onto this thread, so I checked out the AVplanters.com site. They do look interesting, but I've had good luck using the two-part ceramic self-watering pots with regular AV potting soil. "If it ain't broke...." Besides, I like that they are somewhat decorative so they look nice when I display the blooming violets.

That said, the oyamas look like they have a smaller footprint, which would be a plus for me.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 7:11PM
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suecirish(6 SE MA)

Thanks, Linda! And I agree with you, jajohnson! Those pretty ceramic pots takes some getting used to, and like anything else, adjusting to your own conditions. But once you get them down, they do produce beautiful violets.

Linda, I would love to have that many violets, and someday I just might, but for now, I don't have that kind of space. But I do keep all my potted babies (in little 3 oz plastic cups!) on a mat for watering and that works great for the wee ones, instead of trying to water them all individually.

And that's what I was trying to get across to jerome. Each person has to work out their own way to determine what works best for them. EXCEPT! they absolutely do need a light potting mix, though each person has their own favorite formula. ;)

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 8:55PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Hi, JA:

The disadvantage to the Oyama Planters is they don't hold as much water other reservoirs. The other disadvantage is you have to pick pot up to fill the reservoir. Volkman reservoirs have a hole in the lid where you can pour water plus a place for the wick to go.

The second "disadvantage" is actually an advantage for me since it makes me inspect my plants more closely than before.

However, when I first started wick watering I painted and decaled (if there is such a word) the outside of plastic containers. Cut one hole in the top for the wick and one to fit the nozzle of my watering can. Those worked just as well as the more expensive ones.

I went from Volkman reservoirs to the Oyamas because, as you said, they have a smaller footprint.

I believe any method can work. It's kinda like what I'd tell my dog training clients when they'd assume I'd be against dogs on the furniture and in the bed. If it worked for them, why change? Especially since mine do the same. :-D

Linda

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 8:58PM
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jerome(z9 CA)

I'm learning a ton from this. I am going to order some of the "Wicking potting mix" from the Violet Barn...just to hedge my bets. It's also good to know that AVs can be repotted often and not suffer harm. I've always been hesitant to repot things. Thanks for the good advice.

O yes, and I think with Wagga Wagga that is exactly what's going on: I put him into a larger pot, and he's just making roots to fit. I probably need to just bite the bullet and get some fluorescent lighting too. Now if I could only find Tiger in plant rather than leaf form...and not on eBay. :-)

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 10:40PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Jerome:

May I ask why you won't buy from eBay? That's where I bought all my AVs and streps.

Blufford is a great seller and he has Tiger. I have bought from him many times and the plants are always well-grown and nicely sized.

There were two seller exceptions to my positive experiences: one was an AV I bought earlier this month from a new-to-me seller that was poorly packed and barely survived; the other received the only negative and neutral feedback I've left. Hint: My eBay id is Stonesrivergsps and you can go to feedback I've left and figure out who it was and why.

I now buy from the same sellers over and over. The list is on the stand photo thread. Come to think of it, all but nine AVs I have came from one of them and I own 150+. Hey! Now I can name those who are enabling me to feed my addiction!!! :-)

Linda

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 12:55AM
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jerome(z9 CA)

'Cause I'm a monk, and don't have Paypal. That's the only reason. I'll ask Fr. Pascal (our treasurer) about using the community Paypal account. :-)

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 1:31PM
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jerome(z9 CA)

Ok everybody! Yay! I finally got the hang of it. They've started watering well. They ran their reservoirs dry - I waited until they got "light" and then filled again, and we're taking up water well. Hurray! I am going to lighten up slightly on the mix - and will probably take the guesswork out of it and just order 12 qts of the stuff from Violet Barn. I don't have that many AVs - uh...yet. :-)

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 4:25PM
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aviolet6(7)

I predict you will eventually fill the room with violets. Have fun!

Tricia

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 8:06PM
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jerome(z9 CA)

Ooooo nooooooo!!! I just ordered 3 more. I am insane! Alliance, Funambule and Ma's Jamaica Farewell. Must be out of my mind.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 9:43PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Just my piece -

This is a very good watering system.

One issue I have is low humidity - and since I live in a dry climate - for me growing on mats on the top of eggrate grids on reservoirs is better than in Oyamas - because wet mats create ambient humidity.

On the other side - Streptocarpus, Aeschymenanthus, Nemathanthus etc - do not require as much humidity - and for them Oyama - is perfect. You can grow spectacular blooming specimens in large Oyamas.

So - consider your own growing conditions. What works in desert, doesn't work on the beach etc.

Irina

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 9:50PM
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eileenaz(9, Sunset 12)

For the record, I live in the Sonoran desert. I was visiting an office at work, and one woman had a couple dozen AVs that blew me away- fluorescent light, all the stuff that I don't think would grow anything. She had several in Oyama pots, a couple in ceramic AV pots, little plastic pots, and they were all blooming and looking fabulous. I asked her her secret ( knowing I wouldn't get the REAL secret) and she said "They seem to like it semi-dry."
Well, with that in mind, I've had much better luck with my few that are all in Oyama pots. Don't let them get really dry, but don't keep them sodden, either. I'm sure veterans are rolling their eyes reading this, but my house plant experience has been extremely varied and full of surprises.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:56PM
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