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I may have really messed up

Posted by christi1996 zone 8b (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 22, 10 at 14:58

I received a "african violet" ceramic pot from my great aunt when she died years ago and it sat around empty until now. My mother-in-law recently passed away and I received an av and promtly put it into the ceramic pot.

I then purchased another av and another self-watering ceramic pot (I am bound and determined to learn to keep some plants alive.)

Well, the one I have had for 2 weeks, the flowers have died and I am not sure what to do with it (cut off the dead flowers, repot, remove the water from the reservoir until it is healthier and then repot). The other one is looking better but I haven't had as long to kill it.

Today I was reading that ceramic self-watering pots are bad for av so now I don't know quite what to do, move them again or leave them alone for awhile and then move them.

The inside diameter of the white one is 4 1/2 inches if that makes any difference (I am not exactly sure about the diameter of the pink one.)

Please tell me what do do.

African Violets


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I may have really messed up

I forgot to mention that it is an east facing bathroom window so it does get plenty of humidity and morning sun.


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RE: I may have really messed up

Hi Christi,

The first thing I would do is re-pot both of them. They're both in too large a pot for their size. Rule of thumb is that the diameter of the pot should be around 1/3 the diameter of the plant. Question: does the non-self watering pot have any drainage holes. In that case you should get that violet out of their immediately. Or are they both self watering pots?

The second reason I would re-pot is that looking at your soil it seems very dense. The violets will rot in there in too dense a soil. If you're using a store bought African violets soil I would mix it 1 to 1 with perlite. That is if you're not wick watering.

With the self watering pot the soil is way too dense. You will definitely rot that violet if you keep it in there. If I were you I would grow violets for a while before you start experimenting with self watering pots. Personally I don't like them, but there are some who like them very much and they do well. These are usually people who have grown African violets for a while. For those pots you need to have a very porous soil.

The fact that the flowers died doesn't really mean anything. It may just be that they are old enough that their past their prime. Just remove them and that will be fine.

It looks like you have a good spot for African violets. An east window that doesn't get any sun later than 10:00 am should be just fine. After 10:00 am the sun gets a little strong and can sunburned some violets. Especially the light colored ones.

Good luck and If you have any other questions just ask.

Larry


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RE: I may have really messed up

Ok when you say 1/3 of the plant size do you mean from outer leaf tip to outer leaf tip? Or somewhat in from that?

What sort of pot do I need? Just a plastic pot the right size or does depth matter? Plastic self-watering pots, plain plastic pots or yogurt cups with holes poked in it?

Do I need to break up the rootball at all so mix the vermiculite into it or should that part be mostly ok? I used the miraclegro AV mix outside the rootball but if I move back to a smaller pot there may not be any room for the potting mix anyway unless I mess with the rootball very much.

Basically I have no idea what I am doing which probably means I should start with something simpler but it is a bit late for that.


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RE: I may have really messed up

Posted by christi1996 8b tx (My Page) on Thu, Apr 22, 10 at 16:10

"Ok when you say 1/3 of the plant size do you mean from outer leaf tip to outer leaf tip?"

Yes.

"Basically I have no idea what I am doing which probably means I should start with something simpler but it is a bit late for that."

LOL! That is the best laugh I've had all day. I'm not being mean - I'm in the same boat myself, hence my moniker. I don't know what I'm doing but I'm doing it all the same. :)


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RE: I may have really messed up

Christi and Newbienew,

First of all I have been remiss in not welcoming both of you to the African violet forum. Your steering towards dangerous waters here. Many a person has started out with one or two violets and gotten sucked into a full blown addiction. Violets are more addictive than crack in my opinion. lol

Any way back to the questions.

Christi,

As to your first question, Newbienew had the correct answer. Yes.

I would use just a regular plastic pot. None of that self watering stuff. If your yogurt cup is big enough then poked some holes in the bottom and use that if it is aesthetically pleasing enough for you. I really don't know what size yogurt container were talking about here. As long as the container's the right size you can use anything you want that's plastic or ceramic. I would stay away from Terra Cotta clay pots for now.

Yes, you're going to have to mess with the root ball it it's too small for the pot it is intended for. Try to get some of the potting soil out of the root ball and then plant it in moistened potting medium. Then I would put the whole thing, plant, pot and all, in a plastic bank and seal it. Leave it in the plastic bag for about a week and then slowly open the bag over a period of a day. That will acclimate it to the dryer humidity again. Now I'm assuming again that you're going to mix your potting soil with equal parts perlite here.

You're already starting out at ground level by having one or two violets. It doesn't get much simpler than that. What Newbienew is doing is a little more complicated. Just keep asking questions if you don't understand what you're doing. That's what we're here for. My third grade teacher once told us. The only stupid question is one that isn't asked.

Larry


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RE: I may have really messed up

How close does it have to be to the right size pot? As in 2 1/2 inch would be the right size for the smaller one but would a 3 inch pot work ok? or if I can't find a 2 1/2 should I go to a 2 inch?

I am really not trying to be a pain, I just don't want to have to move the poor things again because I messed up.


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RE: I may have really messed up

I would say that if you can't find a 2 1/2 inch pot that the 3 inch pot would be fine. Actually this is not an exact science. Violets just like to have there roots confined for them to bloom optimally. One has to consider there living conditions in the wild. They are used to living in pockets in volcanic material. If all you had and could not ever find anything else but a 4 inch pot, the violet would do ok. Just not the best for it to perform. After you have had violets for a while you will get to know what has to happen exactly and where you can fudge a bit. One thing I would not fudge on is the soil density.

Larry


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RE: I may have really messed up

HI,
If you want some info I have three sheets that I used to pass out to people when I lectured on AV's. Emai me and I will send them to you.
Fred in NJ


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RE: I may have really messed up

I said earlier:

If all you had and could not ever find anything else but a 4 inch pot, the violet would do ok. Just not the best for it to perform.

After reading this over I regret having said it. It kind of looks like if it's not convenient then use any size pot you want. That's really not what I meant. My advice is to try like the Dickens to find the
correct size pot for your plant. There are some problems with having too large of a pot. Performance is one problem, but the soil that does not have roots in it, caused by an overly large pot can get stale. It can also contribute to root rot. The more porous the soil the less of a problem though. And with all of this you will find people who will even dispute what I'm saying. It's best in this case to follow convention.

So, Christi, your 3 inch pot will work just fine for your plant, but I wouldn't use anything larger than that.

Larry


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RE: I may have really messed up

Thank you so much for all your advice. I really do appreciate it. Now I've got another related question.

I just got them repotted and in bags - but now I am a bit concerned because I didn't really see any white roots on one of them and very few on the other. Should I have cut off the root ball or am I ok just hoping for the best?

I did end up using 3 inch pots - that was the smallest we could find in our area without purchasing another african violet which would defeat the purpose.


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RE: I may have really messed up

Christi -

be patient. You can keep them covered for a couple of weeks.

So far - it is may be a bit too early for you - but I buy supplies at specialized AV vendors or in good nurseries. Check AVSA.org option "vendors" - and may be there is one not far from you.

Happy Growing

irina


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RE: I may have really messed up

Irina said,

be patient. You can keep them covered for a couple of weeks.

I agree, a couple of weeks would be better if you messed around with the roots a lot.

Don't worry. This should work out fine. Violets really are hardy in their own way.

Larry


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