Capillary mats for Streps

judyj(Z5 CO)June 13, 2014

Does anyone know if it's ok to use capillary mats with streps? I've got my violets and streps (all quite small now) kind of mixed together, and had put down capillary mats to save on watering all the individual little pots. They're in waterproof seed flat tops, and have lights over the top. The streps are quite happy about it right now, but it's only been a week or so, and it occurred to me that they don't like to be kept with wet feet.

Any advice is welcome, thank you!

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irina_co(z5 CO)

Judy - are you Judy G. I know - or another Judy? ;-))

They do OK when small, when they mature it will become a problem.

The main thing - do not let soil become dense and waterlogged. Mix your AV soil - Cornell mix - with 50% of coarse perlite. Put a good layer of perlite on the bottom of the pot - I put wicks too - use this soil and make the rootball stick out of the pot - so the strep is sitting like a king of the hill. Watch for signs of waterlogging - young leaves develop mushy yellowish edges. Usually it happens with time when the plant develops lots of roots and the soil gets compacted.
Seems that there are less problems if you grow them not on the mats - but either in Oyama pots - or even on reservoirs - provided there is a space between bottom of the pot and water - so the roots have an extra air access. I saw superblooming streps our late Anne G. used to grow on top of margarine tubs with wicks hanging through the hole.

Seems that they need more alkaline soil - since in the nature they grow on the slopes of limestone hills - so a pinch of dolomite added to the pot is a good idea.

But - I think that for another month you are good. It is when you are ready to pot them up you need to do something different.

irina

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 4:33PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Thanks Irina!
No, I'm not Judy G-just Judy j!

Thank you for your perlite advice! Though I don't wick anything, I repotted everything a couple weeks ago and again put a 1/4 to 1/2 inch layer of perlite on the bottom of the pot (small piece of paper towel on the very bottom to keep perlite from leaking out). Everything still seems very happy-streps are all now blooming but I see your point about when they have to be potted up.

I'd done that the time before I repotted, and the roots were growing right into the layer of perlite!

Haven't added dolomite yet-but I've read that's something that's good to add. Using Optimara potting soil, seems the best I've come by, even after making some of my own.

Will keep an eye on things-thanks again!

Best,
Judy

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 6:11PM
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