Monday, June 24, 2024

Saucer watering

Question:  I saw another grower soak his violet in a saucer full of water.  The violets seem to grow well.  I do the same, but rot my violets.  Why? Answer:  What works for one won’t necessarily work well for another.  Unless every aspect of each grower’s environment is identical, the results may not be.  In this case, […]

Chlorine in water

Question:  I am concerned about Cloramines in water.  I’ve heard that these cannot be boiled away and, over time, will cause toxicity in the plant and damage the leaves.  I use tap water that I boil and let sit at room temperature.  The other alternative I could personally use is collecting rain water and straining that […]

Top versus bottom watering

Question:  Does it matter how I water my violet?  Is it better to water from the top or bottom? Answer:  It doesn’t really matter.  The roots of your violet don’t know where the moisture came from, only that it’s there to be used.  It’s not true that violets need to be watered from the bottom, though this […]

Watering species African violets

Question:  I recently purchased a species violet (S. velutina) at a local show, and discovered that it had been wicked.  Can I repot it into my usual soilless mix (and top water) without danger of losing it? Answer:  Certainly.  If anything, we find that most of the species violets do a bit better if not kept […]

Soil won’t absorb water

Question:  I’m wondering how I can water some violets I got from you.  The soil comes all the way up to the pot rim and the potting material tends to make the water bead up rather than sink in right away.  At the same time, I am trying like heck not to get any water on […]

African violet limp after repotting

Question:  After I repot, my violet looks dull and limp, even though I know it’s been watered. Answer:  This is a mistake easily made by novices.  The best advice is to repot from moist soil into moist (not wet) soil.  After repotting into premoistened soil, water only lightly.  This seems to be wrong since, when gardening outdoors we always […]

Algae in water

Question:  Is there any way that I can keep the water in my wicking reservoir from turning green with algae? Answer:  Since the algae won’t grow in the dark, one solution is to use a dark, light-blocking, reservoir.  Another is to add about 1/4 teaspoon of Physan 20 for every gallon of water.  Physan 20 is a popular, easy, and relatively […]

Rust color in plant center

Question:  I purchased a violet at a department store along with a “violet pot” and some potting soil.  I’m now noticing a “rust-colored” crust in the center of the plant, rotting patches on the leaves, and a white crust on the soil.  What am I doing wrong? Answer:  In a nutshell, the soil is being kept too […]

Water pH

Question:  My violets have seen to suddenly stopped growing.  The centers are tight and the new leaves seem to be deformed. Answer:  This question is one that we recently received by phone and that we found particularly interesting.  The answer was obvious, but didn’t come to mind until the conversation was nearly ended and the critical information […]

Soil mites: thread like pests on soil surface

Question:  I wick-water my plants and have noticed very tiny, thread-like insects hopping around on the surface of the soil and sometimes in the water.  How do I get rid of these? Answer:  What you most likely have are “springtails” or “soil mites”, which are long, thin, grayish-white insects perhaps 1/8″ long.  They can occasionally “hop”, but […]