Streptocarpus Soil Mix

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Streptocarpus Soil Mix

Postby ryferre » Sun Jun 18, 2006 4:28 am

:wave: Frequently, and more often then most growers realize, the soil mix used to grow Streptocarpus is not "ideal for the plant".

Streps need a moisture retentive, well aerated soil mix. To accomplish such a goal when making a mix keep the following in mind:

:flower: Vermiculite: Used to retain moisture and keeps the soil mix "light/gas permeable".

:flower: Perlite: Used to keep the soil mix permeable for gas exchange.

:flower: Peat/Coir/Other Organic Matter: Used to retain moisture and provide the basis for nutritrient retention. Also the organic material plays a major role in the pH of the soil.

I use a mix that is a little heavy on the perlite side: 1 part peat, 1 part Vermiculite, and a little more then 1 part Perlite.

:blah_blah: This is the mix that I use for my plants that are wicked over a reservoir. It is also a very favorable mix to use when rooting leaf cuttings, etc.

:blah_blah: If you are not wicking the plants, you should use a slightly more moisture retentative soil by making the soil a smidgeon heavier on the peat.

:doh: Most common mistake with soil? Planting the strep TOO DEEP! You must plant the strep a little higher up in the soil when you transplant! Some refer to this as a "little mound"--this will help assure success and cut the losses from rotting!


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Postby masdyman » Mon Jun 19, 2006 12:36 am

As I dont wick water any of my plants I use the following mix.

3 parts good quality potting mix

1 part Perlite

1 part Vermiculite

1 part Peat

1 Tbls Dolomite.

I use a 1 litre container to measure this out.
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Postby Charlie Croker » Sun May 03, 2009 4:31 pm

ok whats wick watering?? Is it getting Alan Wicker to come and water them or to use a wick to "suck" water into the pot?
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Postby davioletman » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:47 am

I do not wick water. This the mix I have used for both African Violets and Streps for the past 2 years with great success.

All measurements are with a 12 oz solo cup

6 cups perlite

4 cups Mircle-Gro African Violet soil

2 cups vermiculite

1/4 cup activated charcoal

makes 1 gal ziplock bag.

I also make 4 holes around the bottom of the pot for extra air to the roots. :potting_up:
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Postby I like streps » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:31 pm

I use africain violet soil mix. It seems to be good. Is it a good idea to use this?
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Postby larrysviolets » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:57 am

Hello I like,

I use the same mixture as Ryan does and I am able to wick water my streps using this mixture.

Yes, African violet soil is fine for streps. It wouldn't hurt to add a little perlit to store bought AV soil though.

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Postby I like streps » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:13 pm

larrysviolets wrote:Hello I like,

I use the same mixture as Ryan does and I am able to wick water my streps using this mixture.

Yes, African violet soil is fine for streps. It wouldn't hurt to add a little perlit to store bought AV soil though.


Ok, thanks. So far they are all doing well and flowering :party: :jump_for_joy:
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Postby violets5 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:26 am

When we use Perlite and Vermiculite in Streptocarpus potting mix, why is
it we don't mention the size of the Perlite and Vermiculite.
Here in Australia Perlite is available in medium - coarse - very coarse and Perlite in sizes 1 - 2 - and 3. Re - the water up - take, depends on the size of Perlite and Vermiculite we use. Please advise. :thank_you:

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Creating new Streptocarpus varieties gives me great pleasure. Sandra or Stella with any other
Streptocarpus but Bristol's Tie Dyed and Moon
Moth show promise.
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Postby davioletman » Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:38 am

Gerry, I use the coarse grade for vermiculite and medium grade perlite. It's really trial and error as your growing condition could be drastically different than mine. Living in The Northeastern part of the United States the weather could be similar. However, I grow my streps in a cool basement year round, humidity plays a factor as well as lighting. So it's hard to pinpoint what will work for you. It may work well here and a disaster for you and vice versa.

I would suggest you take a few plants you would not mind losing and try different combinations and see what works best for your conditions.

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Postby francheska5608 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:40 pm


Growers in Europe use non-peated sphagnum in place of vermiculite and perlite. It provide much better water retention and does not have any ion exchange property and not hazardous. Problem is I could not find it here in US, only in small quantity.
Does anybody try/ found shredded sphagnum?

How do you add perlite to your mixture? It create could of dust, very unpleasant.
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strep soil mix

Postby Xena » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:55 am

franchesca - when I use perlite, etc. I wear a dust mask that fits over nose and mouth,& safety glasses that fit over the eyes. It helps if you spray the perlite with a bit of water to keep the dust down.

It's really better to do it outside for ventilation.
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strep soil mix

Postby Xena » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:03 am

I have not had good luck with the Miracle Grow AV soil, or their peat, or seedling mix.

It molds easily(between rootball & sides/bottom of pot. Also it seems to have /attract alot of fungus gnats.

My own mix is one part coarse perlite, one part coarse vermiculite and one part pasteurized spagnum peat . Rarely see any gnats and I take care of those by spraying bug stop on the shelves(after cleaning) and putting bounce fabric softener sheets as a seedling tray liner.

Seedlings are kept damper so if there are gnats they will be there.

I never tried to pasteurize Miracle Grow Soil because the additives
may be changed by the heat from doing so.
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My new trial mix

Postby davioletman » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:16 am

I have posted previously what mix I have used for my Streps. Well, I did a lot of research as my mix was not working well any longer. Plant leaf tips were browning, yellowing leaves, and the plants just were not growing like they used to. I tried modifying the mix avail, so I went for broke and decided to try it on a dozen plants to start. That worked well, so after two weeks of no ill effects, I switched to a 50/50 mix of corse perlite and vermiculite. I have been writing down my observations and will share them now. Take note i have been growing all my plants in this mix now for about 2 weeks now, with the initial plants 2 weeks prior to these.

Here are my observations to date:

Started 50/50 perlite/vermiculite mix for all plants on March 2, 2013. Early results have been favorable. Example; plants from Poland which were the first ones bought have started to show signs of faster growth and are now budding for the first time. Smaller starter plants have grown and bloomed quicker since being potted in mix. Even babies taken from mother leaves are growing at a faster rate vs. pro-mix, perlite, vermiculite mix of 1:3:3ratio.

Plants have shown no signs of stress when repotted into mix and plants do not need watering every other day as was the case in the former mix. Now even small plants can go 3-4 days without water. Larger plants go 4-6 days without watering.

The key to plants not rotting is planting the crown with a slight mound as to keep the crown above the soil line. It's like planting cucumbers. It allows air flow to the crown which reduces the chance of rot.

Determining when to water is not a problem as the pots are clear solo cups and moisture can be seen. Even if your not sure, the weight of the pot makes it easy to detect if the plant needs water. With pro-mix, upcoming babies were showing signs of rotting leaves or leaf edges. This seemed to particularly true with the Polish varieties.

Fertilizer being used is an 20-14-13 orchid fertilizer with micro-nutrients by Better-Gro called Orchid Plus. I use 1tsp. per gallon of water every time I water. On every 4th watering I flush pots with plain water making sure water runs out of the pots to keep fertilizer salts from building up. The only downside I have seen is the top layer of perlite turns brown. So far this is only a cosmetically unsightly. No growths have been affected. In the future I am thinking of putting a light layer of shredded sphagnum moss over the mix to keep it from being unsightly.

Since the repot, several plants have set buds that had no sign of buds when repotted. Plants that have bloomed; 6099, 7011, Bridie, Fiona, Henjal, Atena. Jola, Maja, Gina, Ambra and 7021 have set buds. There are others but these had no sign of bud formation at the time of repotting.

Flowers seem to be larger than those grown in former mix. Will have to set up a second plant in prior mix under same conditions to see if this the case.

Rooting leaves has had the same effect. Leaves are rooting much faster than in pro-mix formula. Example; L'epatage d'Alchimie. Took an older leaf and planted it on 3/2/13. On 3/12/13, I was checking the leaves as I usually do. I gave a gentle tug and there was resistance. I dug into the mix and found roots on the leaves! Normally a leaf will take 4-6 weeks to root the AV way of starting a leaf in pro-mix. 10 days and there are roots on the leaf. Will see how long it takes for the babies to sprout. Also will see how other varieties rooting take. Will keep track in my notes on iPad.

I will keep everyone posted on the progress and growth of all my plants. As with my previous mix I have 4 holes equally spaced along the bottom side of the pots.

Dave :love: :wateringfromabove:
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Postby Wild Rose » Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:48 am

Very interesting info Dave. What initially made you think to give up the peat? Do you feel you will have to repot more often?

Definitely will continue to watch your results!

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Postby daver » Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:37 pm

Dave . The miracle grow av mix has fertilizer in it.Do you think when you fertilize when you watered it may have been too much fertilizer hence the burnt tips?

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