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wandering jew or clay pot?

Posted by a1pha_fema1e 4 (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 13, 13 at 8:24

Hi! I have a question this morning. My wandering jew seems to need to be watered more often than the rest of the plants I have. All my plants have the same crappy MG soil and are in the same spot, the only difference is that this one has a clay pot whereas the others have plastic. Do clay pots drain/aerate better or do wandering jews just suck up a lot of water? THanks!
Sarah


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

Tradescantia zebrina? It's a succulent, the clay is drying fast, it's porous and allows moisture to evaporate through the sides. That's a good thing!


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

I'd suggest both. WJs are thirsty plants & because unglazed pots are porous, they can draw moisture away from the plants in a way that plastic pots do not.

I'd use a plastic pot for this plant, it may help it dry out more slowly. One could also use a humidity tray to help w/ moisture.


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

Thanks!! Good to know! They are very happy, I just notice I have to water them a few times a week vs once a week. Which is good right? Means the soil is draining good and they aren't likely to get root rot from what I understand. Now I wish I could switch all my plants to unglazed clay lol.

I'm not sure which types they are, there are 2 of them in there but the computer I'm on doesn't have pictures.


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

I'd suggest both. WJs are thirsty plants & because unglazed pots are porous, they can draw moisture away from the plants in a way that plastic pots do not.

I'd use a plastic pot for this plant, it may help it dry out more slowly. One could also use a humidity tray to help w/ moisture.


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RE: Both/either - wandering jew or clay pot?

Oops, pardon my double post.

As you can see we have different opinions & growing experiences. Purple grows both indoors & out, while I grow indoors only; I think that's a factor too.


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

Indoor only here. If I put my plants outside I'd forget about them or get eaten by mosquitos (this year anyway) when I went to care for them


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

Oh man, you aren't kiddin! I literally run around to check on everything, takes about 10 minutes, then I'm scratching 40-50 bites for half an hour after.

If you like watering plants often, drying fast is good. But that's a far too simplistic view. What I aim for is porous and moist consistently.

This plant has been rained on almost every day for the past couple weeks, at least 12" of rain, I got sick of measuring it.


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

This one too, less sun, so is a different color. ( just added some pieces of plain green T. fluminensis to this pot yesterday.)


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

I have that kind and another. The leaves of the other are longer and have the same colors but not the same pattern, they are less pronounced, no stripes. I was told it was a wandering Jew, I have to leave but I'll post an ID post later with picture.


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

Morning All,

Sarah,

Is the clay pot new?
It's advised to soak new clay pots, an hour or so, 'in soapy water,' before use.

Clay absorbs water, moreso when new.

I tend to under water, so very few plants are in clay.. Mostly succulents.
But, if one tends to over-water, clay is best. :)

Purple..your baskets are beautiful! I love both, but the basket w/various plants is so colorful. Toni


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 13, 13 at 13:59

Looking at the question ONLY from the plant's perspective, we can say that pots made of gas-permeable materials like terra cotta, wood fiber, mesh ...... offer greater potential for maximizing root health, and by extension - plant health. Pots made from impermeable materials like vitrified clay and plastics trap soil gasses that negatively impact vitality(CO2, methane, sulfurous compounds, ....) in the root zone. Pots made from permeable materials allow these gasses to escape and to be replaced with the O2 plants need to fuel root function/metabolism. Yes, given that on a comparative basis you're using the same soil in your containers, you will have to water plants in clay pots more frequently than those in plastic or vitrified pots due to the added gas exchange, but that's a good thing. Each time you water, you add a physical purging of soil gasses to the passive purging that occurs at much higher rates in clay pots. Also, more frequent watering means your plants will be at the ideal state of water retention more often and longer than will pots that because of their composition find you watering less frequently.

Finally, the more water-retentive your soil is, the greater will be the benefit of using gas-permeable pots. IOW, a greater comparative benefit can be seen in a combination of Miracle Gro soil and a clay pot, than the same pot with a highly porous, free-draining soil

Al


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

A1pha, look forward to another pic. Be careful, Tradescantias are addictive! I have 7 and just want more, and the similar plants too.

Thanks, Toni! I keep stuffing pieces of everything in there, snip it & find a spot to stick it in the soil. The more I add, the better I like it too. Trying to get stuff draped over all around, so the pot isn't visible. Then it will dry much more quickly too, also part of my goal of putting so much in there, since it gets runoff from the roof over my potting area and I don't want the Begonia (original plant of that pot) to be overwhelmed by that. Between the mass of thirsty foliage, drain holes added to the real bottom of the pot, and the porous soil, it's working well in daily rain.

I would like to have more clay pots, and have been adding them recently, but my true love is the hanging basket, and I'm limited to smallish clay pots if I want to be able to move most of them around.

Thanks, Al!

Al's awesome explanations, such as the above, have been extremely helpful in guiding me to a wonderful state of happy plants. I can't stop watering them often, and don't want to. After learning how to keep that from rotting roots, so very few plants have died on my watch. I've been replacing those from 'the old days' that I thought I 'couldn't grow'. Besides leaving them out in the cold, or other weirdness, these plants have been quite comfortable with my same old regime but in much more appropriate 'soil.' (Still necessary to let real cactus and stuff like Crassulas, Sedums, Grapto-whatevers, Senecios, Echeverias and the like dry out, I'm talking about keeping moisture-appreciative plants moist, but not rotten.)


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

Here are my wandering Jews. Thanks for all the info everyone! The pot is very old. Not even sure where I got it from.


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

And the underside to show the color


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 13, 13 at 17:29

It's almost universally accepted that your succulents need to dry out between waterings, yet I water mine on the same schedule as I do plants like coleus, streptocarpella, and impatiens, and they're all wonderfully healthy. Most would consider my not waiting until my succulents are dry to water to be apostasy, with the added sin of watering on a set schedule to be certain sealing of my plants' fate. Even in winter when my plants are under lights, I water the succulents on the same schedule as all the rest of my plants. Maybe we should look at WHY I can water my succulents when there is still plenty of moisture left in the soil.

The reason is, I use a medium that doesn't support a layer of saturated soil at the bottom of the pot. That's the key. Succulents suffer drought stress just as a coleus or impatiens might. They might tolerate drought a little better, and the signals that indicate they are suffering from a lack of water might not be as readily visible in succulents as in more herbaceous plants, but they DO suffer drought stress. Because we know that with certainty, it's logical to think that the plant would rather NOT dry out before it gets its next drink.

So why is it so commonly thought they (succulents)SHOULD dry out between waterings? The reason is, most growers use soils that are so extremely water-retentive that extreme measures need to be taken to guard against that water retention. PROBABILITY dictates that unless you allow water-retentive soils to become nearly completely dry before watering plants in them, that over-watering and its accompanying problems will result. IOW, it's better to allow the soil to become drier than the plant would like and allow the influence of some drought stress to come to play, than it is to take a chance that you might be watering too soon, and in doing so ensuring the plant will suffer the impaired root function associated with over-watering - or perhaps even a case of root rot.

We can see that the idea you need to allow succulents to dry down to completely dry, or nearly so, is based on the supposition that your soil choice automatically makes watering before your plant absolutely NEEDS water a risky undertaking; but what if you're using a soil that remains well-aerated from the top of the pot to the bottom, no matter how often you water? Wouldn't THAT stand the idea that succulents need to dry out between waterings on its head? It does; and because I use a soil that doesn't support perched water (no part of the soil, even at the bottom of the container, is ever saturated) I can water succulents as often as I like without concern that root function will be diminished or fear I'm setting the stage for root rot.

Al


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

Thanks for the encouragement, Al! I needed a pep talk.

Since what I'm using isn't gritty or 5-1-1, I don't know how all of these new "cactus type" plants I've recently acquired can do in what I have. My comments weren't in regard to anything but the home-made mix I use, sorry if that wasn't clear from what I said.

I may be being too cautious, or rightfully worried, I don't know. What I do know is that it's been wet for the past month, literally, raining several times a day most days. Most days have not had any sun at all, and the other few days, just a few minutes. I can't imagine these plants would abide being wet constantly. I'm not talking about watering every few days during normal sunny, hot weather. Everything not under a cover has been dripping wet for a month. So my comments were in regard to this combination of things. It may be possible that these plants would be fine out in all of this rain AND no sun in one of Al's mixes. Getting into these kinds of plants is totally new to me this year. I have no basis for comparison.

The ground here is very sandy, no clay, and even an inch of rain that falls within 10 minutes disappears right away, the epitome of good drainage. (If that happened in OH, there would be water in muddy puddles for a week.) Some of the plants I put in the ground a couple months ago were doing great before the rains came, but have literally melted while pieces of the same plant in a covered pot are still alive. It's just too much water for plants that don't like literally constant rain/moisture.

A1pha, that's a curious Tradescantia. It doesn't look exactly like any of the ones I know well. If I had to guess, I'd say it's T. pallida that needs more light to turn purple. Do you have just that one small piece? The Tradescantias with colorful leaves are known to show different colors in different amounts of light.


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 15, 13 at 15:48

Tiffany - you do soo much good on this forum that it pains me to say anything that seems like disagreement. As far as I'm concerned, you've earned and built up a lot of credibility, so I always feel good when I see someone taking your advice. When I started to write the part about drought stress & succulents drying down, I sort of knew it wasn't totally in concert with what you said, but I was thinking more like I was trying to widen a view than contradict what you said. I know it seems like I was addressing what you said directly, but in my mind I was taking advantage of an opportunity to expand on a topic that often comes up.

I guess what it boils down to is, succulents don't like to be too wet or too dry. So it's better to use a soil that doesn't get soggy, so the soil is never too wet, than it is to try to go back & forth between a soil too wet after a thorough watering to too dry after it's been allowed to dry down to a too dry state. Thasa lotta to/toos. ;-)

Keep shining!  photo PeaceFrog_zps3715dc8f.jpg

Al


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

Al, what a nice thing to say! Thanks. If it wasn't raining here so much, I don't think I would have said that. You were right to pick up on it and, like I said, really appreciated the pep talk! I so wanted to see if I'm making 'something good' for these pots this year by testing it on the dry-sters. A true test of principles learned from your great advice. But with this weather, just seems like a lot of unnecessary risk. I would hate to give lousy advice, and usually refer the soil stuff to posts you've written, since I'm off in my own little world on that (and a lot of things!) If I say something ridiculous, I *hope* somebody calls me out!
- Tiffany


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

I have that stalk and another small one, they were cuttings from a freecycler, they sure did root fast and are growing nicely. I've already cut one and the next day it had new growth from the original one. I put both types in the same pot, thought it would look interesting. The Zebra (?) one is growing new stems too, I thought it only grew one stalk with leaves, now I know better! Do they like direct light? They are in a bright spot with almost direct evening light at the moment.

Refresh my memory as to what the 5:1:1 mix is? is this what is ideal for everything?


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RE: wandering jew or clay pot?

I've wondered that myself. Since they have the ability to morph according to conditions, I'd say it's what you prefer. I'd be torn terribly if asked to choose, and that's why I don't put all of mine in the same conditions, and why it makes such a wonderful accent for so many other plants. If possible with your surroundings, as you get more mass, experiment with different amounts of light for different pieces.

The pics I put above, the first one - the reddish leaves that go in kind of a straight line across at the pot rim, that's the exact same plant from the pic below. I know because I started with only a few pieces from the same plant.

Both of yours look like they will alter their colors based on different amounts of light. Obviously I like to mix'em up too.


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