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semi hydroponics

Posted by donnaviola 89701 (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 7, 07 at 1:10

I am a new member. Thanks Dustin. I would like info on semi hydroponics for african violets. I was reading a web site and they stated that s.m. was doing great for their a.f. Thanx


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: semi hydroponics

I haven't heard the term semi hydroponics. Full hydroponics would mean putting the clean roots of an AV into water with nutrients.

Wicking is putting a wet wick into the water and drawing up water into the soil.

Nancy


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RE: semi hydroponics

I have used the semi-hydroponics for almost 2 years with african violets. I have had amazing success. You cannot overwater. I couldn't grow a.v.'s before. I also have all my succulents in s/h and they are also doing great.

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RE: semi hydroponics

alotofplants......I have been wanting to do this for quite some time.....I see that you are using clay pellets, how exactly do you grow your av's? What kind of nutrient/fertilizer do you use if any? Do you fill the pot with water, or only at the bottom inch or so of the clay pellets, and lastly....lol, do you mix your clay pellets with anything, or just use the pellets? Thanks so much for the info, I have everything I need I think and I am dying to try this out.

Thanks

Tracy


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RE: semi hydroponics

alotofplants your plants look wonderful. I've never heard of this before but am very interested. Can you please give us more info? How to get started, where to find supplies and your technique pretty please?

Thanks,
Belinda


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi alotofplants,
Looks like you have some interesting results, however, I have a problem with growing plants in this manner. Since I exhibit, I don't know if the plants would be acceptable to show. The pots you grow them in are too tall and are not aesthetically pleasing. I also feel that although your plants bloom and look healthy that they seem to have tight centers and appear to be growing more vertically than horizontally.
Fred in NJ


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RE: semi hydroponics

I am growing all my plants, including some av leaves in hydroculture. The babies are coming along just fine. Hydroculture is passive hydroponics. The water and nutrients in are wicked to the roots via the clay pellets. The roots are placed above the water level. The roots of some plants will 'choose' to grow into the water though. Some don't. I have not put a full grown av in a hydroculture set up yet. No particular reason. I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

If you use a single pot, it's better to use a container you can see through. Put at least one - two inches (more depending on the size of the pot) of the pellets at the bottom and let the water level stay just below it. I made small marks on my containers so that I'll know when to stop filling. Then you place the bare root plant in, and fill in the empty space with hydroton to anchor the plant. Another way to do it is to use a regular pot, set it up the same way, but use an external bottom and fill it with water. Or use a common tray for multiple plants.

Here's a good website to read. There's lots of information.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://waterroots.com/


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RE: semi hydroponics

amany, that's a great site, thank you.

This got me thinking... couldn't one use an Oyama pot and clay pellets for a semi hydroponic system?


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi Donna

Welcome to Garden Web. Glad to see you made it here. I spend most of my time here just soaking it all up.
Not sure if I will make it to Barbara Elkins class this weekend but it sounds great. Hope to see you all next month.

Dustin


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RE: semi hydroponics

Thanks to all of you. I am so appreciated of all your responses. This sounds so interesting. Sorry for the funny name "donnaviola". It wouldn't accept just my regular name. Whatever works, right. Thanks Dustin


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RE: semi hydroponics

I have been away, so this is why I haven't answered.

First to Fred:
I have a feeling this would be difficult for showing because of what you said plus it is so new and they would have to be shown differently. The pots could be put in prettier baskets but this is very different then what they are used to. Since they are having such a decline in membership it would probably be a big benefit for them to be more open to easier ways to grow AV's.
I think my centers are tight because I have been using too much fertilizer. I have no one to teach me so I have had to experiment. I am still learning so your comments are helpful as I don't know that much about av's anyway. I didn't even realize the centers were tight! I actually started using this method for my orchids, then went to my caudiciforms and succulents then I was given an African Violet and thought why not.

I get my supplies from First Rays. He doesn't use the regular round clay pellets that are used in hydroponics. His are more irregular which seem to work better for me.
You can use deli containers and just put 3 holes about 1 inch from the bottom. I use regular fertiziler and I was using more than recommended so I will now cut back. The only different thing that I do is I have to bring my tap water ph down a little. Our municipal water is around 7.0 and av's like it about 5.8-6.4. I have a fish tank so I have the ph meter and I use the "ph down" to bring the ph down a little. Even with using soil people can have problems with this. You only have to use a very small amount of the "ph down" and it lasts forever.

What I have found that works when transferring them from dirt to clay is I brutally rinse the dirt off the roots. I then pot them us and put them in a food storage bag (which I learned here). I put a rod in so the bag doesn't collapse and I leave it open a little bit. I find that they need to be in there for a week or so. A little longer than normal. I put a date on the bag. I have never lost one doing this.

What is also neat about this method is they do not need to be pot bound to flower. Mine usually bloom within 2 months after I switch them over. I have not lost any to crown rot but I still do not pour water on the crown.
It is interesting that when I have repotted, the roots will be growing happily right in the water!

I even had the nerve to buy a Yukako. The flower is old and you can't see the green very well but it is beautiful.

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RE: semi hydroponics

I also wanted to show you a close-up picture of the pots.
You can see the holes are about 1 inch from the bottom.
I just fill them up when the water starts going down and they stay as happy as can be. I have been using fertilizer every time I water since there are no nutrients in the clay so I am going to cut back some. I also don't know when I should repot as I really haven't seemed to need to yet. This is a new frontier so I will just play with it.

The little pot is how I start leaves and again, I have had great success with that, too. I have tried every method listed on here and haven't had any luck starting leaves. I know the methods work great for others but I tend to be an overwaterer. That is why this is great because you can't overwater.

I used to kill a lot of orchids and succulents the same way and they have never been happier. I am venturing into rarer and more expensive plants now that my success rates are so high. I think they also grow faster but I am not sure. I think this is an awesome alternative for the many people who have trouble growing AV's in dirt. Those who grow them in dirt have my respect because it is very tricky at best, IMO.

The AV in the picture is Gillian and has huge white flowers.

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RE: semi hydroponics

  • Posted by amany MI / 6 (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 11, 07 at 18:27

Lotsaplants, you now have me tempted to get a full grown av to and convert it to hydroculture. :-)

So, you don't have your plants form water roots first? Is that correct, or did I misunderstood? I had all my tropicals and my sansevieria's form water roots first by covering almost the entire length of the roots with water. I did that until they formed the roots. I didn't do that with my other succulents though. I just set them up normally.

Again your avs are lovely. Thank you for sharing so many pictures.


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi, I do not have the plants form water roots. I don't know if hydroculture is different, but with semi-hydroponics the plants are not actually sitting in water. The only water is sitting below the holes and leaches up as needed.
The roots will grow into the water which you can see below.
I don't know if those are water roots or not. This looks like I should maybe repot but it looks pretty happy?

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One problem I am having that you could maybe help me with is with the trailers. They grow but some of them look unhappy and it has only been with the trailers. I have never grown AV's before so am not sure what is wrong with the culture. Does this look like too much fertilizer, not enough or something else? Thanks for your help. Sally

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RE: semi hydroponics

  • Posted by amany MI / 6 (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 11, 07 at 20:11

Lotofplants, I'm sorry, but I can't help you with the trailer. I only have av babies growing from leaves at the moment. No grown ups or grown of problems at the moment... ;-)

I think our methods are somewhat similar. We're just using different terms. I set my plants roots above the water too.

BTW, I think the av looks just fine. Personally, I would leave it alone unless it shows signs of being too overpotted. But like I said, all I have are the babies. I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than I will be able to help though.


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi Tracy, I wanted to answer the rest of your questions.
I only use the pellets and add nothing to them. Ray recommends that each time you water the plants you fill it to the top and let it drain out. I have too many so I just refill to the holes or a little above. It has not been a problem for me. Otherwise I would have to take them to the sink each time. If I see a lot of salt around the holes, I will then take it to the sink and fill it to leach it but that isn't very often.

Another thing I found easy was to buy the seedling trays at Home Depot with no holes. I have plenty of room for overflow when I water and I can fill the trays up to the bottom of the holes for humidity. Sally

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RE: semi hydroponics

alotofplants, thank you so much for all of the information and for all your pictures. I definitely want to try this, both with my AVs and my other plants.

Still looking for an opinion on using Oyama planters, though? Seems to me like it would make sense, and I have so many of them that I'm tempted to try it.


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RE: semi hydroponics

Thanks for all the input. Where do you get the irregular clay pellets you memtioned? I only know of a hydroponic store near where I live to get the regular ones.


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RE: semi-hydroponics

Hi Violetta, I just looked at the Oyama pots and you could certainly use the outside container if you have them. You would just have to put 2 holes about 1" up the side of the pot. You wouldn't want to use the liner because you need the pellets sitting in the 1 inch of water staying wet and leaching the water up the pellets as the plant needs it.
The Oyama pots would be a lot more expensive but if you have them you could utilize them. I have used regular deli. containers. The see-through are easier since you can see when the water is going down and you then know when to refill.

Donnaviola, I buy all my supplies from a web site called First Rays. He is also very knowlegable and there is a forum there that you might find helpful. I would put the link but I was yelled at by whoever runs this site for putting it in once?! You can just google that and find the information.

Thanks. Sally


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RE: semi hydroponics

My reference books indicate the best pH for AVs is 6.5 to 7.4 Montague Free says 6.5 to 6.9, Mel Robey says 6.5 to 7.4.

Barbara


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi Barbara, that is very interesting. Dr. Optimara says 5.8 to 6.2 but when I "google" everyone does say something different. It would be a lot easier for me not to have to lower my water. I am going to try it and see what happens. The fertilizer usually lowers the ph a little anyway. That would save me some work. Thanks. Sally


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RE: semi hydroponics

Alotofplants, Could you use the real coarse perlite instead of the clay pellets? Just wondering. Thanx for all your help. donnaviola


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RE: semi hydroponics

Donna - I would say Ray could answer that better than myself but I would think it would be too light and real messy. I also don't know if they would distribute the water properly. You could ask that at the forum or maybe find the answer to that question. I will also tell you I really didn't like the pellets I bought at the hydroponics store that were completely round. They don't lock real well and hold the plants in the container well.


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RE: semi hydroponics

I could say that perlite tends to float. I tried layering soil/perlite/soil/perlite in a glass vase designed for rooting a spring bulb...it sort of had the shape of a dress and I thought the alternate soil/perlite would look neat with a houseplant growing out the top. Which it did look really neat except I ended with perlite at the top and when I water, the perlite floats around. When I need to repot the plant (not a violet) I will be sure I end my "stripes" with soil at the top.


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RE: semi hydroponics

Well I did it......I switched an AV to semi hydroponics.....clay pellets. I rinsed all the dirt off the roots, and plopped it into the clay pellets, with the water at the bottom. Now my AV is all droopy and limp...I expected this, I hope it makes it through the transition.

Tracy


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RE: semi hydroponics

I ordered some pellets and am going to try this also. I like to experiment with different things. Show and tell at my violet club meeting. Also our violet club sells violets from time to time and I thought this a great alternative to people that say they kill them and can't grow them. So I'll try this and see how it works for me. I also have a couple orchids that just barely hang on and it is recommended for orchid growing. Now streps, I have a couple that do great and some I'm having trouble with, so I want to try a strep and see. If you are having such luck with all these different plants, maybe a strep could be happy too. I'm thinking that the oyama pots might work, as the bottom is sitting in water to wick, it just wicks perlite which wicks to the soil, so I guess it could wick pellets too if enough fit into the bottom so they are in good contact...would need to keep the water level more consistant and not let it go dry as we can with the soil.

I would think you need to put the droopy/limp plant in a little "greenhouse" condition for a few days as it would be in shock from having the roots disturbed so.

This has been very interesting reading these posts and seeing pictures of your beautiful violets. I'm glad you are having such success. Good luck with your more exotic plants you plan to try.

take care. tish


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RE: semi hydroponics

Tracy, I have found that you need to put them in a plastic bag for a week or two just like you regularly would. Rarely do they get limp if you do that.

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Tish, I like trying different things, too. I tried a Strep. and it really LOVED it. Good luck.

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RE: semi hydroponics

Tracy, I moved one over too. I had an offshoot that I was trying to root on its own - something I've never had luck with in the past - and I figured, why not? I have it in a plastic bag and see no sign of wilt after 2 days. Can't wait to see how it does longer term!

I also have the tops of a dracaena I cut down in some clay pellets, along with the leaf of a succulent that I don't know the name of. The leaf had already started to root and was sending up baby leaves, but I don't know where it had been! My cats much have gotten into my plants again, because I just found it on the floor, baby roots and leaves and all. So I plopped that into pellets, too. :0)

This is fun! I like experimenting!


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RE: semi hydroponics

  • Posted by korina 9b, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 17, 07 at 16:22

Sally, thanks for all the intriguing information. I've been having problems with pH and had to throw out (whimper) all my AVs. This gives me hope; I'll definitely experiment -- I have no excuse because there's a hydroponics shop half-a-block from home.

By the by, that's a beautiful and very happy Streptocarpella; Streptocarpus are entirely different though related.

Korina, fingers crossed

Jayne: Captain, can you stop her from bein' cheerful, please?
Mal: I don't believe there's a power in the 'verse can stop Kaylee from being cheerful. Sometimes you just wanna duct-tape her mouth, and dump 'er in the hold for a month.
[A grinning Kaylee gives Mal a peck on the cheek.]
Kaylee: I love my captain.


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trailers

  • Posted by korina 9b, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 17, 07 at 16:30

Oh, and trailers have a somewhat different genetic background than single rosette AVs, so perhaps one of their ancestors simply doesn't like hydro.

Or not.

Korina


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RE: semi hydroponics

Korina,
Thanks for your thoughts on the trailers. Maybe your right since this has happened to a few of them. I will just keep trying different things and see what happens.

I remember reading about your having to throw you AV's out. I could send you a bunch of leaves if you need them.
I have also had my only success with leaves in s/h. I never did well with AV's and gave up long ago. That is why this has been such fun. I would be happy to send you a list of what I have.

Tish - I actually started this because of my orchids and most have done really well. Some have been tougher than others. It hasn't been as easy for me switching these over. I have had to do a lot of experimenting but most orchids need different cultures anyway.

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After the orchids I tried my caudiciforms and succulents and they really love the s/h. I used to kill these pretty regularly, too. Now, I rarely lose any.

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Since I am not killing anything anymore I am quickly getting out of control. The rot really used to keep my plant population down!

Sally


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RE: semi hydroponics

Yes, it is easier to keep collecting more plants once they do so well. I really shouldn't do this to you by telling you,..... maybe you already have visited the Logee greenhouse website. How much growing space do you have, ha....because they have lots of very different varieties of blooming houseplants. I don't think I can do any worse with the orchids than I already am, so maybe it will help.

I ordered some of the pellets from Rays and they should come late this week. I have a violet club meeting this Sat and one of the topics is examples of different ways we water our violets...I'm hoping to bring a S/H violet...it will be something completely different...the timing is just perfect! No one in the club has heard of growing violets this way, I had brought in a picture you had posted earlier back in Spring. Of course they are very skeptical..if it works well, I'll have to bring it back in 2-3 months to show it is thriving, ha.

Take care. tish


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RE: semi hydroponics

update....I put mine in a baggie for a few days, and it has since perked up, I am going to leave it in a humidity dome for a while yet......I have a question though, do the pellets at the top ever look wet to you, mine always look dry, so I try and moisten them every day at least once.......am I just not seeing something that is really there??

Tracy


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RE: semi hydroponics

Tracy, mine don't look wet or dry, but when i touch them with the back of my hand I can tell they're damp.

I can't believe I haven't seen any wilt in any of the plants I've moved to s/h yet. Next step: pick up a new NOID at the supermarket and see how it does, just for kicks.


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RE: semi hydroponics

The way I understand it..I think the pellets get dryer as they get further away from the water, there is evaporation on the top surface because of the air. If they were too wet up there, the stem would rot. Its the roots that are getting/needing the moisture and if the roots nearer the top need more moisture, they will grow down and seek it. I think you're okay just keeping the bottom water level and I wouldn't mist unless the plant looks to be wilting from lack of water. Plants also wilt from too much water... Remember more violets die of drowning than by lack of water. OK...that said, I'm still waiting for my pellets to come in the mail so I can try this, so I can be completely wrong, but that is how I understand this s/h to work. tish


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RE: semi hydroponics

Tish that is how I have found it works. The top usually looks dry. I only watch when the water is going down on the bottom. When it is about 1/2 down or close to gone, I refill. The water on the bottom keeps the clay moist up to the roots. I usually water about 2x per week and keep them in trays with water. Sally


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RE: semi hydroponics

Alotofplants, Trace, and Lilypad, I thought maybe I would try mixing the regular size pellets with some coarse perlite and try an AV. Maybe that way the perlite would'nt float and I would get a tighter fit. I've tried to locate the smaller pellets here in US but can't find it here. The big bag of pellets weighs so heavy I would think it would be cost prohibitive to order it from Ray's in Canada. Donnaviola


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RE: semi hydroponics

  • Posted by korina 9b, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 22, 07 at 12:46

Thanks for the offer Sally, but I need to get my act together before I go slaughtering any more plants. Okay, that's not strictly true; I do have a couple at home, and a couple here. But I *really* need to get a handle on growing properly.

I visited my local hydroponics shop last weekend; they only had HUGELY GINORMOUS bags of pellets, at $27. An expensive experiment, indeed. I'm going to call around to the other hydroponics suppliers (we hav a *lot* of hydro shops) for smaller quantities. Did I mention I live in Humboldt County where the grass really is always greener? ;-D

Korina

Humboldt: pop. around 100,000, hydroponics suppliers; 9. We *really* like our orchids up here (3 commercial growers, actually).


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RE: semi hydroponics

Ha, Korina, I'm not surprised to find that out about Humboldt. Somehow I don't think the number of hydro suppliers is due to love of orchids, though.

I was able to buy a small bag of pellets for $10. I'll bet you'll be able to find that somewhere. If not, let me know and maybe we can work something out so you won't have to pay a ton in shipping. I'm up in Portland, so shipping between us shouldn't cost too much.

Okay, update from me: I've gone hydro nutty and now have put even more plants in pellets. The one AV that was rooted (a sucker) seems a tiny bit droopy. I've never had success with propagating AVs, though. Not once. So I won't be terribly surprised if it dies on me.

The leaves that I'm trying to propagate still look good. We'll see what happens.


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RE: semi hydroponics

Donnaviola - I would go to Ray's forum and ask about the perlite. I bet they could give you some ideas and suggestions about it.

Korina - I hear your frustration. At Ray's semi-hydro site, he has a starter kit with pots, medium, chemicals and instructions for $22. That is what I started with. Your in California. How wonderful. I would love to live there, earthquakes or no earthquakes. When I tell people out here I would love to live there, they say "what about the earthquakes?!" I say "Who cares!"


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RE: semi hydroponics

Also Alotofplants (sorry I didn't think to ask this too) do you fill up the tray to the holes in the pot and leave it that way when you have it covered with plastic in the beginning? donnaviola


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi Donnaviola, I have my plants in plastic bags and I put water in the bottom almost up to the holes. If I just had plastic over them I would also put the water in. I usually have the plants in bags in with other av's that are not in bags, so the trays are filled up anyway. I also add a very small amount of bleach so the algae doesn't form. Sally


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RE: semi hydroponics

alotofplants, did you say you'd had some success propagating from leaves using s/h? would you mind giving some detail about that? I seem to be doomed when it comes to AV propagation for some reason.


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RE: semi hydroponics

I see you grow other gessies, do you grow Kohleria this way?

Tracy


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi Violetta, I have grown about 10 from leaves with s/h.
I failed miserably trying it anyother way. I just use the small plastic pots and put them in a plastic bag under lights. It took about the same amount of time.

The small pot are some leaves. I am not sure how long to leave them in the bag. I am working on figuring out when they have started rooting.

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RE: semi hydroponics

Thanks alotofplants! I have a few leaves and some suckers in clay pellets under plastic just for the heck of it, and am winging it as I always am, but we'll see how it goes! I too have never had any luck with propagation, so I'm willing to give anything different a shot. :0)


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RE: semi hydroponics

  • Posted by korina 9b, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 5, 07 at 17:17

Well, I done it. I found a smaller bag of Hydroton and replanted my poor guinea pig Av; in fact, I removed the entire rootball! I also transplanted a Strep (with roots, mostly) and a couple of Begonia cuttings. This was Saturday, and everything's still perky, although I noticed the bamboo skewer I'm using to hold up the bag is getting moldy.

Good grief, if this works!... I have some orchids I want to transplant, and a pile of other houseplants that would be much happier. I've been doing a lot of reading, and it looks almost too good to be true. The thing that always dragged about plants was the constant repotting; hydroculture could simplify the whole thing.

*Gaaaaa!* I'm so excited!

And now I have to go get poked and prodded by a Physician's Assistant. Blech.

Cheers,

Korina


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi Korina,

I put a few leaves down about 5 weeks ago, so hopefully within the next couple of weeks I'll have some results to talk about.

I will say that my other, faster-growing plants that I put in hydroton are doing wonderfully, particularly the leaves I took off a few succulents. It's so fun to watch the roots develop!


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi Violetta and Korina, I put a trailer (Skydiver) in the pellets almost 2 weeks ago and it looks fine. But I have it covered with a dome from the getgo. Also did a chirita and a streptocarpella and some leaves and a crown. Well we will see. Hope it works.


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Here is another leaf success!!! I was NEVER able to do leaves with dirt. This is so easy. I have done quite a few leaves and they seem to really like it. I just keep it in the bag and after about 2 weeks, I keep the bag open.
I will say if you have any trouble the the hydroton, try the Primeagra.
Korina - My wooden skewers get real moldy, too. It doesn't seem to bother anything but sometimes I will wash them off.

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RE: semi hydroponics

By the way. I started these leaves on July 30 so I think it takes about the same amount of time. Sally


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RE: semi hydroponics

ALOTOFPLANTS, That is great! Thank you so much for sharing your picture with the pellets. Is that the regular hydroton you used or the primeagra? That is super. Good job. donnaviola


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I use the primeagra. The hydroton is great for hydroponics but I find the primeagra has better surface contact because of the irregular surface and works better for the semi-hydroponics. I ended up switching over.

The babies were growing under a pellet. I lifted it up and there they were.


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Thanks for posting that pic alotofplants! I can't wait to see what the leaves I put down look like in a few more weeks. I'm so excited!

Maybe I'll open up the bags like you did... what was the thinking behind keeping the bags open after the first few weeks?


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RE: semi hydroponics

  • Posted by shireen Baltimore, MD/7 (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 6, 07 at 17:08

Hi Alotofplants,

just wanted to thank you. After reading your posts, I purchased some primeagra from Ray (very nice guy!). It looks like an elegant and simple way to grow AVs, and I don't have to repot, which is such a waste since I hate to throw out potting mix. I have another reason for getting it ... it's cleaner. I've been battling a 2-year ordeal with cyclamen mites and just got a new infestation despite two diligent treatments with Judo.( I still think Judo is an excellent product because it's done a good job eradicating it from most plants. But some of those sneaky bugs find their way into folds, and eggs that survive in matting could hatch out after the semi-systemic effects of Judo have dissipated.) With these pellets, dipping plants becomes much cleaner and easier to do. Oh, I'm switching to Kelthane for the next rounds of dips -- don't want to create any Judo/Forbid-resistant bugs, Avid is already become pretty useless due to over-use!


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I'm sorry, but I actually thought of yet another question...

alotofplants, in your experience, will the babies push through on their own or is the hydroton too heavy for them? If you hadn't moved that one pebble, would the babies have stayed under it and rotted?


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RE: semi hydroponics

When I first started to experiment with the leaves I would keep them in the bag with just a small opening. After about 5 weeks, some started rotting. I read that after about 2 weeks the leaves will normally start rooting, so I tried opening the bag all the way still giving them a little humidity. They seeedm to do much better that way.

I have never had a problem with the babies making their way to the top. I usually watch them like a hawk so I see them through the little openings. This is one of my main sources of entertainment!

The only bugs I have still had to battle sometimes are the mealie bugs. What is nice is if they are way in the crown, I can gently dump the plant out of the container and spray it.
This causes little disturbance to the roots with this system and they rarely even notice when I put them back in.
I will soak the pellets in some diluted bleach, rinse and reuse them. I am so glad to not have to deal with the dirt knats anymore either. The cyclamen mite is supposed to be a nasty one. Good luck with them. Ray is great and very knowledgeable except he had never done african violets. I am basically still following what he does for the orchids. I have learned to use less fertilizer than with the orchids.


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hmmm. I have everything under a humidity dome. Hopefully that won't be too much for them.

Thanks for the advice!


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RE: semi hydroponics

  • Posted by korina 9b, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 7, 07 at 19:17

Violetta, as long as you don't have too much condensation, they should be okay. Just remember, as soon as the leaves are well rooted, you can start taking them out of the humidity; open it a little one day, the rest the second day, and completely out the third day. They do much better that way.

Korina the Violet Slayer


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RE: semi hydroponics

Thanks Korina!

I love your signatures, by the way. "the violet slayer." Ha! You're too much!


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RE: semi hydroponics

  • Posted by korina 9b, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 11, 07 at 18:03

You're welcome.

Korina the Saintpaulia Slaughterer ;-)


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi Alotofplants, I have a question re: s/h with AV. When you set the pots in the water solution in the winter time when it is cooler doesn't the cold water affect the violets adversely? It seems like it would be too cold for them to do well. Thanx, donnaviola


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi, that was never a problem. I guess they are sitting high enough out of the water where it is not a problem. Plus, I would assume, that the water would be around room temp. It is very amazing to me that when I take them out of the pot, the roots are sitting, very happily, right in the water. So it is not water that kills them and the temp. has not been a problem either.


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RE: semi hydroponics

I have a question. If you want to give a plant as a gift, how do you do that? Once it's in s/h can it be converted back to soil to give away or do you give that person the plant in s/h with explanation? Seems like it would be very costly in the long run. Also how many pots can you get from a bag of hydroton? Can't find it anywhere around here and I'll have to order it.
Thanks
Mary Beth


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RE: semi hydroponics

I find it less expensive in the long run. You can use deli containers and I get creative and use all types of things. I use the course primeagra not the hydroton. I find it makes a difference. There is the initial set up cost but I reuse the primeagra by soaking it in a little bleach. When I give them away I give them the container with the primeagra. You certainly could put it back in dirt I guess. If you google "semi-hydroponics" you will get First Rays site where I buy everything. I can't link it because they get mad here. You can buy different size bags so you could get a small one and just try it. He has a starter kit that I used. I find the only big down side is these pots take up more room. I have 80 AV's now!


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RE: semi hydroponics

Alotofplants,
OK you convinced me. I'm going to take the plunge! Have to back and reread the forum.
Thanks
MB


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hello Alotofplants, Ray told me that the fine Primeagra would be best for the AV's but I noticed that you use the coarse Primeagra. What do you think? Also what size pots do you use for the minis and semiminis in the s/h? I would think you would need a taller pot than the 2 1/2" that we normally put the small av's in to allow space for the 1" or so for the solution on the bottom. thanx donna


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi Donnaviola - That is why Ray emailed me to see what size I used. He doesn't grow AV's and just assumed the smaller would be better. I started with the fine Primeagra and quickly changed to the coarse and have never used the fine since. Even when I start leaves I use the course. The fine created a lot of rotting.

I put all of the AV's in the 5.5 high container that he has. This is the large deli container. I believe a quart.
I only use the small 3.5 to start leaves and very small starters (which is rare.) These are switched into 5.5 pretty quickly. I even have all my mini's in the 5.5 size.
I also use less fertilizer than he does with the orchids.
I use the same 1/4 or 1/8 tsp. that is normally recommended. I had been over fertilizing and had very tight centers. They are loosening up now.

I have a bunch in bloom right now.

Yukako - It is hard to see the green in the pedal.
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Everjoy
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Victorian Flirt
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RD's Illusion
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RE: semi hydroponics

Very pretty! Could you send a picture of one of your minis and semis? Thanx Alotofplants


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RE: semi hydroponics

I am not sure what semi-mini's are but here are some mini's I have:

Rob's Lucky Charm
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Orchard's Bumble Magnet
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Rob's Slap Happy - I started this from a leaf on 5/15
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Milky Way Mini Trailer
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I have a lot in bloom right now! I'm pretty sure this is a semi-mini

Ness' Satin Rose
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RE: semi hydroponics

Those are all GEORGEOUS! Thanks for sharing with us.

I haven't taken the step to try SH yet but getting very tempted after seeing all your beauties. The thing that is holding me back is the pots, i'm just not crazy about the way they look. Could shorter pots work just as well and can they be made from the deli containers instead of buying those from that site?

Belinda


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RE: semi hydroponics

Belinda - I agree a drawback is that the pots are not so pretty. I am trying to figure out a way to dress them up.
You can absolutely use deli containers. You need to use the larger size (32 oz, 5") for most of them. For leaves you can use the 16 oz, 3". Unfortunately, the shorter pots do not give the rampant roots enough room to grow. The containers do take up more room, also. As Fred had said earlier, these could not probably be used in a show unless they were put in some type of decorative container.
For "dirt challenged" people like me, however, the results are nothing less than amazing. I could probably kill an AV faster than anyone on this board. I had given up years ago. For pure beauty, you cannot beat an African Violet. Plus, if they are happy they are work horses.

Since most plant people are also usually very creative people, I know we will eventually address these issues.
At this point, I am just thrilled I can grow them!!

Here are a few more I want to share

Ma's Jubilee
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High School Sweetheart
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Gillian-Huge Bloom
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RE: semi hydroponics

FWIW, I did try doing s/h in an oyama pot, with fantastic results. The roots growing out of the leaf I put down far surpass the results I got from the other types of pots I tried. Hope that helps someone. :0)


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RE: semi hydroponics

  • Posted by korina 9b, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 16, 07 at 20:48

Okay. To show my resolve, I just purchased three *large* plants from my local Av club; Optimara Everspecial, Buffalo Hunt, and Hawaiian Pearl ($5 each, a chunk of change for me). Even though I love minis, I figure the bigger ones have more room for error. So now I just have to tear all the gorgeous flowers off and one row of leaves to go with the drastic root pruning they're about to get. (gulp) Wish me luck.

FYI, it's been two weeks now since I removed the rootball from my guinea pig Av, and I can see a 1/2" root poking out between leaves; it's so hard to resist opening the bag to look at what's happening. But I'm strong. In fact, the other two pots (the Strep and some Begonia cuttings) are all nice and perky.

Thanks for the link to Water Roots, Sally; it's been very useful. I'm currently experimenting with making my own water level indicator -- if I can just figure out how to seal the bottom of the inner straw!

Fingers crossed,

Korina

PS You can plant in *anything* as long as it's waterproof; even then you can use a liner.

PPS Sally, those are very encouraging pix; keep 'em coming!


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RE: semi hydroponics

Korina, don't forget to post pics of your experiments for us to see! My camera's broken, otherwise I'd post some pics of the amazing root network growing off of the leaves I put down. :0)


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RE: semi hydroponics

Violetta that is so exciting. I love experimenting with this stuff.

Korina, When I switch my plants from dirt to s/h, I do not trim the roots at all. I just wash all the dirt off. I don't usually even take the flowers off and they are just fine. It is amazing how tough AV's are. I repot and just stick in a bag. I assume that is what you are talking about.


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi Alotofplants, How do you manage the transition in moving the baby plants from one container to the next one? Oh, I am sorry, but could you tell me again what size you use to start the leaves? Oh, I see the 16oz 3" size. Then when do you move them into the 32oz. 5" size? Seems like it would take a long time for them to get big enough. I guess the rule of the measurement of the diameter of the plant as to the size of the plant when using potting soil doesn't apply here. As well as keeping the minis and semi minis contained to a 2-1/2" pot as a rule. donnaviola


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RE: semi hydroponics

  • Posted by korina 9b, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 19, 07 at 19:12

Well, two of my three new violets survived the transition this morning, although Hawaiian Pearl had a bit of a trauma; sitting for two hours with naked wet roots in a chilly room (I finally fiddled with the thermostat). Then there was me knocking over a bucket of Hydroton soaking in water (if my water soluable desk dissolves I'll be in big trouble!). It was a case of the dropsies left over from yesterday. (I only knocked over one of my plants, and only once!)

Tomorrow is the third new violet and whatever else I can think of to mangle. :->

Korina, native of the Land of Confusion


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi Donnaviola, When I move them, I usually have a large pot underneath and I slowly dump it into the container. I am holding the plant and the roots. They will many times be attached to the Primeagra. I then fill up the next the bottom of the next pot to the needed height. I then set the plant in and while I am holding it I start putting the new Primeagra in. I start them in the 3.5" diameter (3.75" tall) and they usually will stay there for at least a few months. I just eye it. I started Ode to Beauty as a leaf on November 15, 2006. It is now in a 4.5" pot and was moved out of the 3.5 pot a few months ago. It just started blooming:

Ode to Beauty
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I have ended up moving all of the AV's to at least the 4.5" diameter (5.5" tall.) This includes the mini's. I am just now moving some of the really bigs ones to the 6" diameter (7.5" tall) pots. They aren't showing stress but they look pot bound. It is amazing that the roots were crowded in the bottom sitting happily in the water.

Streptocarpella - I cannot believe how much this has been blooming!
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Korina - your names are great. I am looking forward to hearing about your progress. Here are some more pictures.
I guess this is a big blooming time for AV's? Mine are amazing.

Rob's Antique Rose
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Optimara's Modesty
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Yukako
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Ma's Double Cross
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Funamble
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Rob's Lucky Charm
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The streptocarpella is in the 5.5" diameter (6" tall.)


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RE: semi hydroponics

Here are some more pictures.
I guess this is a big blooming time for AV's? Mine are amazing.

Okay, now you're just showing off. :0P

Just kidding! I love your pictures. Keep 'em coming!

Thanks for the leaf-to-bloom date on that first one. I'd been told to expect about a year, but it looks like you got there a few months sooner, yes? Is that generally your experience?


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RE: semi hydroponics

I am absolutely showing off! lol. Actually, I am more amazed than anyone I can grow AV's. I was the master AV killer. Never had one for more than a few weeks. I am honored to have an audience. I have 2 teenage boys and if it isn't about money, food or girls they look at me like I have 2 heads.

I just figured out how to do leaves last November so I am not sure if this is normal. They may grow at different rates. I started the Cheers and Starry Nights in Jan 07.

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Speaking of showing off, I found these 2 beauties this morning blooming.

Warm Sunshine
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Jean Pierre Croteau
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Korina - I am not sure which is more annoying, when I tip over a pot with dirt or with the Primeagra. I think they are about the same. Sally


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RE: semi hydroponics

My kitten got into the oyama pot while I was out of town. That was my leaf that was rooting the best. :0(

I don't know how long the leaf was out of the hydroton, but I picked it up off the floor, plopped it back in, and put the pot under my plastic dome with all my other leaves that are rooting right now. Think that will do the trick? Or should I just snip off the end of the stem and start over?


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RE: semi hydroponics

If the leaf seems ok, I would let it go. That is so frustrating! I have had things come out of the pots and I put them back and they are fine. The most annoying this is I have put small plants outside and the birds have just plucked them out and I suppose taken them for nesting material. I will just have an empty pot.


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RE: semi hydroponics

No kidding, is it ever frustrating! That's the least of the damage he caused while I was away. My poor neighbor must have been at her wits end trying to keep up with the soil scattered everywhere.

When you say let it go, do you mean to trash it or to keep it under the plastic dome and leave it alone to see if it recovers?


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RE: semi hydroponics

Hi, I would keep it in the container. I am very surprised how tough AV's are. I brutilize the roots when I clean off the roots. Most times, after I repot, the leaves don't wilt at all and the flowers even stay fine! Definitely give it a try.


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RE: semi hydroponics

Thanks, will do!

I finally got up the courage to rinse off some roots and get an older AV in hydroton. I'm scared, but have my fingers crossed!


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WOW! I've been reading this thread and am just amazed at how well you are doing with the S/H on AVs. I MAY give it a try with AVs but I'm definately going to give it a go with my collection of orchids, I have no problems growing them but I think they would be even happier growing in a S/H situation. Off to Rays to see what's what...

~Becky~


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RE: semi hydroponics

  • Posted by korina 9b, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 3, 07 at 17:22

Well, of the three AVs I've thrashed, they all have limp outer leaves and two have lost their flowers (not a big deal). I've also transitioned a couple of little orchids, but they grow so slowly I may not know for weeks if they're unhappy.

Also, one of the bulbs in my fixtures went out, which means replacing *all* of them. At least the plants will get some more light.

Well, I'm off to pretend to work for a while.

TTFN,

Korina

'@#%&! fluorescent tubes!' ~Me


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RE: semi hydroponics

Korina, any update? My mom is bringing me some begonia cuttings this weekend. Did you have any luck with yours?

My update: look! Babies!
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The succulent leaves I put down grew like nobody's business. I'll post a shot of the hydroton vs. soil baby sedums when I get a chance. :0)


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RE: semi hydroponics

Violetta -That is awesome. S/H is the only way I have been successful with leaves. This is Everspecial which I need to repot. I have 2 if anyone would like to trade?

Korina - I had to experiment for awhile to figure it all out. I am still working on my orchids. I found I have to really use a lot less fertilizer for my paphs. Sally


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RE: semi hydroponics

  • Posted by korina 9b, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Fri, Oct 19, 07 at 16:11

Well, some mini angel wing Begonia cuttings I rooted in hydroton are growing like gangbusters; the roots have already grown down to the bottom of the cup! Last week I took apart a Zebrina pendula, and stuck all the cuttings in a cup of water. Yesterday I added hydroton to the cup and poured off some of the water; it didn't even blink. My miniature ivy is still alive, as are my orchids. The AVs are not too happy right now; between the change in culture and the rather drastic increase in light, they're starting to get a bit whiny -- guess I'll have to do something about that. I've also converted two of my Sinningia speciosas; it's too early to tell if they'll like it.

I'm also staring at my mini Sinningias, and my other orchids...

And that's what I've been up to. Anyone else?

Korina

Brain: Yes, finally! The Happy Sappy Children of Many Lands ride! Where cheering music will spread the message that a mouse should rule the world!
Pinky: Oh no, Brain. Narf! You're thinking of that other park in Orlando.


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RE: semi hydroponics

Update on the babies I showed the picture of last October:

hydroculture experiment


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RE: semi hydroponics

  • Posted by korina 9b, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 22, 08 at 20:46

Nice, Violetta; very healthy looking. I'll have to post pix soon. Remember that Begonia? Well, I finally potted it up; had to *cut* it out of the previous plastic cup and put it in a *really* large pot, which it's already thinking of outgrowing. My Sinn. speciosas are also going nuts.

As for my AVs... I still haven't figured them out.

Sally? Where's that African Violet Magazine article? Hmmm??

Korina


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RE: semi hydroponics

Just read this thread and am intrigued. Any updates from anyone? I would be so interested to see some grown plants in the Primeagra.


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RE: semi hydroponics

I can give a hydroton update. I threw 4 babies together in hydroton on July 10th. One had grown in hydroton, the other three had grown in dirt and were put in hydroton right when I separated them from the momma leaf.

One of the babies died, but the others seem to be doing quite well.

Here's a pic I took on July 10th and one I took a few minutes ago:


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


This is the light I'm using:
http://www.amazon.com/Glentronics-PL-1-Intelligent-Plant-Light/dp/B0007CXXB4

It came with a pot that had drainage holes in the bottom, so I just fill the base of the light setup with water and let the pot sit in it.


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