Our new home affords me the space needed to house my collection of plants. I use a spare bedroom, dubbed the "Plant Room," which houses three lighted plant stands, a potting table, storage shelves and a seriously under-utilized treadmill. I am a stickler for cleanliness in my plant room, and I'm also a hopelessly organized neat-freak. It borders on OCD, but I like to think of it as insurance for all the plants I love. Everything that is added to my collection is strictly isolated, and the overwhelming majority of my acquisitions are leaves instead of plants. I have found this to be the safest method of bringing in new material from outside sources. We can never be too careful.
I've experimented with most methods of watering, several types of soil and fertilizers and different ways of rooting leaves. I've never been afraid to try something new, although now I'm a creature of habit. I seem to have found what works best for me, so that's what I'll stick with for now.
Watering . . .
I've tried tap water, bottled water, reverse osmosis water, you name it. Most times, I didn't see much difference. It all seemed to boil down to how much or how little I watered. If I was consistent and moderate, the plants thrived. And if I was lax or careless, they suffered. So now, I use my tap water with composition typical of most city water. I use empty milk jugs and add my fertilizer before filling. Then, I let them sit at least overnight without the cap.
Through the years, I've gone through experimental phases with watering techniques. When I had a few plants, I carefully top-watered and had good results. But when my collection grew, I had to find another way. That is when I turned to wick-watering on individual reservoirs. Overall, I found that growth and blooming on the plants was very nice and consistent. However, over time, refilling and controlling algae in each individual reservoir was overwhelming and time consuming. Care-taking became a chore. So after our move, I chose to use community trays which are now bottom watered about once a week. I don't fertilize with every watering, so I haven't seen many problems with over-fertilizing. When I do, the plant is pulled out and top-watered with plain water for a few weeks.
Soil . . .
For several years, I've used the wicking mix sold by Cape Cod Violetry, and I've been very happy with it. For a while I made my own, and it also worked well. When I buy, I purchase several bags at once, and I like that I have mix available whenever I need it.
Fertilizer . . .
At times, it seems that I have nearly every type of fertilizer available. I don't really have a preference, either, because I use them all. I cycle through and change it up. When show time comes along, I do use a bloom booster for several weeks beforehand, but other than that, I do nothing special. I use fertilizer in my water about every other watering, sometimes more often when they are in an active growth cycle.
Repotting and rooting leaves . . .
I probably don't repot as often as I should, but I do try to do my small ones twice a year. Sometimes I miss a couple, but they're easy to spot when it's been too long. I prefer not to allow a long neck to grow, since this puts the growth on the plant back by several weeks while it makes new roots. When I do have to put down a crown without roots, I always put it under a dome for about 4 weeks. After that, I start gradually removing the dome, until by the 6-8th week, they are out by themselves. This is the same method I use for leaves. I root mine in mix instead of water, and all leaves from one source are housed in separate trays with domes. I use mostly Perma-nest trays, both the small and large ones. When the baby leaves are the size of a dime, I separate them and put them back under cover. After that, I follow the same schedule for un-doming babies that I do with crowns.