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Seaj???

Posted by whitelacey 6 (My Page) on
Sun, Dec 29, 13 at 3:18

About the 'Neverfloris' you wanted that we talked about in October-(It takes me a while sometime but I do get around to most everything!) I found my plants when I did my inventory but they were not yet rooted. I will send you one in the spring if you are still interested.

Linda


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Seaj???

Seaj,

Not related to Neverfloris, hope that Linda doesn't mind!
I believe you are growing violets in semi-hydro, could you please explain how do you transfer them from soil to hydroton, and when you root crowns, how do you fix them in the clay? I have mixed success in hydroton, some of plants do well in it some like it better in turface. I wondered if it is worth trying for violets, and I saw your posts here!
Please share your semi-hydro experience in violet growing!

Thanks, Aggie


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RE: Seaj???

I'm glad you remembered Linda. I haven't received any Optimara plant alerts ever since I signed up on their site so I'm glad I at least know where to get Neverfloris.

Aggie, to transfer new plants to semi-hydro I now strip the crown down to about 6 leaves and remove all the old roots. The old root will just end up rotting anyway. I then place the plant in a bag to keep the humidity up while new roots grow. That can take 6 to 8 weeks, but I consider a plant pretty much established once it has roots in the reservoir. To keep the crown in place, I carefully wedge the neck in place between the hydroton pellets. If the new pot is flimsy, it is best not to handle the plant until the new roots lock the medium into place. When the hydroton shifts around, it can dislodge the crown and break new roots, so it is best to also be careful while watering as well because hydroton sometimes likes to float.

I have tried wicking violets in 100% Napa Floor Dry (turface alternative) and it has not worked well at all. I want to try adjusting the mix with Manna Pro chick grit to see if I can create an inorganic wicking medium what would better suit young and miniature violets. Regular sized hydroton seems too big for micro mini violets, but the smaller sized LECA is hard to locate.

I like semi-hydro because I always know when to water the plants. It's also impossible to over pot a plant or over water a plant once a plant is established. I still need to work out kinks with my humidity/light issues, but at least I can water and fertilize properly.

I will post pictures later to better explain things.


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RE: Seaj???

I don't get Optimara alerts, either! However, I look on their MYViolet website to see what is available. I learned that if a plant is labelled "Vintage Legacy," or "no longer in production," they still have might leaves of it. To find out, send them an email directly. If they don't respond in a couple of days, it is ok to call them. EST
Joanne


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RE: Seaj???

Joanne, I find it almost impossible to find fresh, happy plants so I'm very disappointed with how this turned out. I should have known something was up when their "updated" list of retailers included a lot of stores that are no longer in business. I wouldn't be so angry if their online prices weren't so high.


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RE: Seaj???

Here are some pictures to show some semi-hydro variations that I've been playing with.

 photo IMG_1014_zps667e55ce.jpg
When choosing plastic party cups it is best to use the ones with a thick upper rim to provide a lot of support like the cup on the left. The cup in the right is very flimsy.

 photo IMG_1022_zpsd6f6e34c.jpg
Here is my semi-hydro/wicking combo that seems to be working well so far. I was running out of hydroton so I wanted to use smaller cups. Each blue cup has two holes melted in the bottom so there in room for two wicks. The reservoir is made out of Crystal Geyser 8 oz water bottles. Many of the plants I have potted up this way have roots growing into the reservoir.

 photo IMG_1026_zpsd9fa3f91.jpg
You can flush and refill the pots easily by using a squeeze bottle. I got this one at Daiso Japan.

 photo IMG_1021_zps00d4965d.jpg
I made the mistake of potting a lot of these babies too high in their pots so some of them already have necks. They were super young when I potted them up so they were still in the lanky stage like the plant on the right.

 photo IMG_1025_zps7ba29146.jpg
Here is a leaf making babies in hydroton. I typically don't have great results making a lot of babies because I always use old leaves that are removed during grooming. This leaf is kept under a humidity dome with no reservoir.

 photo IMG_1023_zps84ae61a3.jpg
Here is another leaf I potted up recently with its very own reservoir. Lots of roots so far, but no babies yet.

 photo IMG_1020_zps20bc0266.jpg
All of these babies were potted up on the same day, but some were put in 100% Napa Floor Dry (the 3 on the right). They have been severely stunted. I have also tried starting leaves in 100% Napa Floor Dry with slightly better results, but the roots always end up crawling out of the pots. With semi-hydro is is very important to fertilize properly. Hydroton provides zero nutrients. These babies are very small for their age because I was afraid to fertilize them for the longest time. I was holding off because I didn't want to burn their new roots, but I now only use about 1/8th of a teaspoon of Dyna Grow Foliage Pro each watering, with occasional water only breaks.

 photo IMG_1024_zps2c5aba9c.jpg
Here is a little oddity. I completely forgot about this plant for a while so it dried up pretty badly. When I resumed watering is grew some sort of rhizome and now it looks like there are 20+ micro babies trying to grow from it. I'm curious to see what happens in the long run.

Salt build up can be an issue if you have low humidity, hard water, and/or don't flush often enough. New roots have a lot of trouble getting past the salty build up.


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RE: Seaj???

Very interesting. A couple of questions:

Did you always grow semi/hydro? If not, why did you change? How long did it take for you to get the 'knack' of growing this way? Do you find this to be more or less expensive (for growing supplies) than more conventional methods?

Linda


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RE: Seaj???

I was originally into Phalaenopsis, but became interested in African violets because I thought they would make good companion plants. This forum is also where I first saw violets in semi-hydro so I thought that adding them to the collection would be easy. When I first got the violets, I did keep them in their pots because they were all in bloom at the time. Those blooms didn't last very long, and all the new buds would blast away because I couldn't keep them moist enough. I was so afraid to rot their roots that I would basically wait for them to wilt before giving them more water. That's when I transferred them. I just couldn't get watering down after a month or two of trying. It's been smooth sailing ever since the plants established themselves, aside from some unsuitable filmy cups and a nasty heat wave (now I know to turn off the lights during extreme heat) . The plants never wilt anymore! All you have to do is water the plant before the reservoir dries out which can be ever 4 to 7 days depending on the season, though some get optimal results by watering everyday to maintain a fixed reservoir level, clear waste products and increase air exchange in the medium. To water, I prepare a 32 oz deli container with fertilizer/water and submerge the whole pot to flush everything and refill the reservoir. As far as supplies, almost any container can be adapted into a semi-hydro container by placing a regular pot over a reservoir, or by making holes in a plastic or glass container. The biggest expense will be the LECA. It does last forever and can be reused. I got my 50 liter bag for about $28. It is also available in smaller quantities if you want to test things out on an extra plant. I can't wait to try growing some of the popular giant showplant varieties this spring. I want to pot up some babies straight into 6 inch pots to see how they respond to such conditions.


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RE: Seaj???

Thanks Seaj,

It's a bummer that napa isn't working as well as hydroton. It is harder to find hydroton at the stores now, and leca I never seen here in Miami!
With the wicking method, how much wick do you have inside the pot (1-2 in)? In my experience hydroton dries up quickly, thus I use larger parts of napa floor dry, both with an inch or so water at the bottom of container with a hole on the side, as in your picture with 2 cups, Newer tried wicking in soil, don't think it will in my conditions, but considering that I'm interested in minis, and later maybe micro semi-hydro may be only way to go!
Have you ever tried oyama pots? I was wondering that these may work for semi-hydro set up.

PS. I get notifications from optimara, at least twice a month for Loews and K-mart, and one of the grocery stores, but this store shipments newer show up in the notification emails.

Aggie


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RE: Seaj???

Aggie, you probably won't see LECA in normal garden stores. I never have. However, if you call around to hydroponic stores, they'll probably have it or be able to get it. That's how I got mine.
I really like using it. I used to find african violets hard to keep alive but now it's a lot easier.


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RE: Seaj???

Hi Seaj,

I saw your comment that you could not get fresh AF flowers and the Optimara website was not up to date for your area.

In my area, Ace Hardware and Nursery carries AFs.
Perhaps if you have an Ace near you where you live, you can check with them if they get AVs and if they will let you know when a fresh shipment comes in. I learned that the Optimara brand is grown locally for Ace because they can only carry plants grown in Calif. One of the nurseries that grows Optimara AVs is in Southern Calif and two others in more Northern or the Valley. The cost is around $5.
I don't know if you ever get into San Francisco, if you do, there is a nursery that almost always has fresh Optima's.
I think they are on Geary St., if interested, I can look up the name and location. (You could call first.) Again, the price
is around $4 to $5. I have never seen them cheaper than that.

In florist shops, they are around $7 or $8, and always fresh.
If in San Francisco, you could possibly go to the Flower Mart, that is where florists get their flowers. However, I think you said you are more southern.

Just a few ideas ... because you said you like Optimaras.

By the way, your photos are good to show your process!

Joanne


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RE: Seaj???

I was going to order some small LECA here (http://www.hydro-orchids-store.com/leclagsmsi.html), but decided to explore napa floor dry and grit before placing an order. It's expensive, but an order would last a while if it's used only for mini plants since they only need tiny pots. Hydroton has actually went out of business, and I have yet to try any of the alternatives. There is also a LECA product available in pet stores called Hydroballs, made for terrariums/vivariums. The pellet size is smaller than what is typically found in a bag of hydroton, but it's only sold in small bags. The wick is actually 1 piece that's like an upside down U, with both ends sticking out the bottom. I try to position the wick as close to the base of the neck of the plant, without actually touching it. Maybe 1.5 inches up from the bottom of the cup? The top layer of hydroton is never fully saturated here, probably due to my low humidity, and I've heard of others placing a layer of sphagnum moss on top of the LECA to ensure a moist root environment all the way through for their orchids. Some plants have trouble getting their new root past a dry top layer. I've never tried oyama pots, or wicking in soil, but the concept seems the same. I plan on setting up a small terrarium for my future micro miniatures. They're so small, so a big terrarium wouldn't be necessary.

Joanne, I do actually have a nearby Ace store. I haven't been there recently even though they expanded their greenhouse since my last visit. I will check them out soon to see what they have available. My 5 original plants are actually from the San Francisco Flower Mart and each plant was less that $2. I want to go back soon, but I'd rather not BART home with a bunch of new orchids and violets.


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RE: Seaj???

Seaj, Prices at the flower mart are great! It is just not convenient for me to get there, so I get some AVs from florists (and pay a lot more!) I BART all the time with AVs and the occasional orchid! As long as they are packaged in their cellophane sleeves or wrapped in paper, then nestled together into a tote of some kind, they do fine on the commute.

Of course, Flower Mart orchids are the best and cheapest. However, I have found Trader Joe's orchids to be very long-lasting in their blooms and less expensive than Whole Foods. The orchids are also all locally grown.

Joanne


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RE: Seaj???

There's no way I could leave the Flower Market without at least 15 new plants. I think I'll plan a trip there soon. My local Trader Joe's likes to give their plants a beating, but they replenish their stock often. The local farmer's markets usually have a good selection of plants at comparable prices, so I prefer going there instead. No long lines there either!


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RE: Seaj???

I just learned the Sacramento AV shows are very good. They grow over 1,000 plants locally and bring them to the show/sale. When I have exact dates, I will post.
Joanne


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RE: Seaj???

Here is the info on the Sacramento show and sale.
I was told there are two clubs that put together a sale and show the first weekend in April and the second weekend in Sept. Members get in early, it is only $6 annually to join.
Joanne


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RE: Seaj???

Seaj, not sure if I mentioned, the SF AV sale will be 1/25, if interested. I am not going but I am donating a bunch of plants. we are in the process of deciding what they want to sell.
joanne


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RE: Seaj???

Thanks for the tips. I really wanted to go to the last San Mateo sale, but some last minute family party came up. It's nice to know of other local events. I also plan on checking out the SF Gesneriad Society sales this year, but before any of this I really need more space, and better control of my conditions. I'm thinking of getting a grow tent or creating something like a wardian case by next winter. The low humidity is not so friendly, nor are the the low temps. Sacramento is far, but I have family there so maybe something can be worked out.

Are you feeling this mini heat wave? Today I opened the windows for the first time in a few months to let the plants breath.


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RE: Seaj???

I heard the San Mateo club is a good one, also. Yes, it was 70 and sunny today! J.


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RE: Seaj???

Update on Trader Joe's
They seem to get a shipment of fresh violets in on Mondays.
Different ones each week. I saw that one had a thrip on it. I let the person know who handles the plants. I showed it to her, and explained about thrips. That Optimara's can be carriers to other plants more vulnerable. She took away the plant with the thrip and said she would let the grower know. The violets there are only $3 and very fresh with lots of bloom. This was my third attempt to talk to a manager there, so I hope she will follow up. When I get plants there for my own use, I spray them with a spray for thrips then put Marathon in the top soil, as Irina has suggested.
Joanne


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RE: Seaj???

I hope I never get thrips, though if I did I think it would be fun to try some of those advertised predatory bugs to treat the collection. I should really pay more attention to Trader Joe's, since they've only ever had violets in plain nursery pots. During my last trip to Orchard Supply I did see a whole untouched tray of mini violets in 2 inch pots, each slipped into another fancy pot. They were $3.99 each, due to that dang fancy pot. I regret not getting the purple one (out of pink and white, purple, red, and blue) since I don't have any of that color. The didn't say Optimara, but were labeled "Little Gems". Optimara lists them as a retailer on their site, but I didn't get a notification (I've never gotten any notifications ever). I have seen mini kalanchoes wrapped in the same "Little Gems" wrapper sold at that same store as well.


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RE: Seaj???

I thought there was a 'little jewel' series by optimara. Not the same as 'little gems', but maybe worth a look to compare....


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RE: Seaj???

I think Little Gems may refer to the discontinued line of micro-mini violets that Optimara used to have, and Little Jewel is a series of minis in 2 inch pots. The plants I saw were only about 4 inches in diameter, they must have been minis.


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RE: Seaj???

According to Optimara - Little Gems - it is two series of minis - Little Jewels and Indian Summer.

They are true gems and very easy. So if you love minis - you will enjoy collecting them.

I am not in love with Little Crystal. Yes - it blooms lovely and easily - but thing SUCKERS...should be registered as a trailer.

IMHO - biological methods of pest control are not for eradication - but for keeping pests under certain level.,
I am really for eradication. According to the theory of predators- prey relation - the wolves die from hunger before they catch the very last rabbit. Your predator mites - which are not cheap - starve - and leave several thrips eggs untouched. In a month these several eggs will give you a full scale infestation.


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RE: Seaj???

I have a few of the Indian summer series. Totally love little Hopi and inca. Will try to get my hands on as many of the series as I can. Though, they do sucker a fair bit, and appear have a tendency to sport back to purple (two out of five were half purple when I bought them).


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