Q&A – Wick Watering

Gwen asks Annie:

Q Hi Annie,

In a podcast you we’re showing how to plant up to wick water the plantlets. You showed setting them in the deli container and commented that You wouldn’t put them on a reservoir yet; why is that?

Also when not using reservoir, how much water do you keep in tray as doesn’t the wick need to be constantly wet to work and not dry out? And why wick at all without a reservoir as wouldn’t the water get to the plant from the holes in bottom?

Thank you!

A Hi Gwen!

The reason that I don’t put baby plantlets on reservoirs immediately is that they don’t have a strong and established root system yet.

I usually put freshly potted up baby plantlets back into a domed tray for about a week. There is usually a small amount of water in the domed tray, but with the dome on the tray, it’s a closed system and the water doesn’t evaporate quickly. I check the domed trays periodically as leaves are propagating and plantlets are getting established, and I add water when necessary.

Finally, why wick at all? The reason I wick is that I use what is called the modified Texas-style of potting my plants. I always include a wick because in the bottom of every pot I have a layer of coarse perlite. The wick draws water up through that perlite to the potting mix and the roots of the plant and it does it as the plant needs it. Without that layer of perlite, if the pot was sitting in a saucer of water, the plant would stay wet, but there would be no air space between the water source and the potting mix. This is a problem because the most common reason that an African violet dies is that it’s been over-watered. The roots and the plant itself can rot away pretty quickly. I think of that wick and the layer of coarse perlite in the bottom of the pot as “insurance” against over-watering.

I hope this helps!