Streptocarpus: Watering and Pot Size
Question: I’ve recently received some Streptocarpus from you. These are younger plants in 2″ pots. They are ready for a larger pot. I’d like to use the self-watering “violet” pots. Would they do well in these?
Answer: Streptocarpus easily grow and bloom. They’ll grow and bloom nearly constantly in most home environments, in natural or artificial light. They’re nearly indestructible if you just remember to keep their “feet” happy. It’s very important that streps have a healthy, growing, root system. This means regular repotting into the proper size post using the proper soil for the watering methods used. When repotting, go into a larger pot only when the size of the root system calls for it. Don’t ever “pot up” until the root system fills the current pot. After repotting, water lightly for a while, giving the plant a chance to grow new roots into the added soil. Use a soil that is light and porous. For streps, the lighter, the better. Water only when the surface of the soil is “dry to the touch”. Never water a plant with soil that’s still wet and, if using saucers, never leave a strep sitting in water for long periods.
As a rule, streps would rather not be in self-watering pots since plants in these pots generally stay very wet all of the time, something streps don’t particularly like. They want their feet to “breathe” a little. If you choose to use such pots, you must use soil that is very light and porous. Us a soil-less (peat based, with no topsoil) mix, that consists of at least 50% coarse perlite. After potting into such a pot, water lightly from the top for at least a few weeks, giving the plant a chance to grow new roots and establish itself in the pot. Only fill the reservoir with water when the plant and its root system is mature enough to use all of the water that you will be providing it. Until then, be patient. Underwater a strep, and it may wilt but will recover when watered. Overwater a strep and it may forgive you once, but not always a second time.