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Caudiciforms: Semi Hydroponics Demonstration

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Sally0
Yardley, PA

September 20, 2007
4:56 PM

Post #3997475

This is how I do the semi-hydroponics.

I am going to transplant the Adenium Multiflorum to a larger pot (pitcher). I have gotten creative with the big pots. I bought the pitchers at Walmart's for $2. You can use anything. I have put some of the PrimeAgra in the bottom of the new pot.

Thumbnail by Sally0
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Sally0
Yardley, PA

September 20, 2007
4:59 PM

Post #3997486

I will usually soak the PrimeAgra over night. It is dusty so this also rinses them off. I will also just use the PrimeAgra right out of the bag into the pots and just rinse with water after I have repotted.

Thumbnail by Sally0
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Sally0
Yardley, PA

September 20, 2007
5:02 PM

Post #3997497

I will then slowly dump the pot into a large pan. The roots you see on the bottom 1 inch of the rootball have been sitting right in water. I also found some mealie bugs so they were just blasted and I trimmed the trunk to raise it.

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Sally0
Yardley, PA

September 20, 2007
5:05 PM

Post #3997508

I will set it in the new pot and add the PrimeAgra around the sides to fill it up again. I then rinse with water. With the larger pots, when I drill the holes I will make them about 2" up the side of the pot instead of the 1" on the smaller pots. Oops, sorry wrong plant!! That is one of my AV's I was also transplanting.

This message was edited Sep 20, 2007 1:08 PM

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Sally0
Yardley, PA

September 20, 2007
5:07 PM

Post #3997517

It is now repotted and ready to go back. This is the second time this summer I have repotted this plant.

Thumbnail by Sally0
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Sally0
Yardley, PA

September 20, 2007
5:10 PM

Post #3997526

All the pots below this size I get from First Rays or you can use deli containers.

Bec_No_Va

Bec_No_Va
Huntsville, AL
(Zone 7b)

September 20, 2007
6:55 PM

Post #3997914

I do love this - it is a great idea and obviously it works really well - my only concern would be space
Sally0
Yardley, PA

September 20, 2007
8:14 PM

Post #3998256

The pots do take up more space. Especially when they get bigger. That is why I try to find vertical containers as much as possible.
Malestrom
Plumiedelphia, PA
(Zone 7a)

September 20, 2007
9:15 PM

Post #3998520

WOW!
Thanks for the lesson there SallyD.
That was fun to watch.
I still havent priced the Prime Agra.
Im going to lift the lil Momordica Rustrada you gifted me.
Im curious about the algae that forms on the Prima Agra.
Do you scrub it off the stones or treat them with a light bleach solution to prvent it from regrowing?
Sally0
Yardley, PA

September 20, 2007
11:54 PM

Post #3999048

When I reuse the stones I will use a little bleach and I just scrub out the pot.
Some people do add a little bleach or Physan monthly to keep the algae down. I think it is 1 ounce to a gallon. I don't bother since the algae doesn't do any harm and most times they don't stay in the pots that long to worry. I have been repotting 1-2x a year since they grow so much.
Malestrom
Plumiedelphia, PA
(Zone 7a)

September 21, 2007
1:19 AM

Post #3999433

Im scared to bother mine ^^
I might hurt it
smkennedy
Minneapolis, MN
(Zone 4a)

September 21, 2007
4:18 PM

Post #4001879

SallyD,
If I am transferring a succulent grown in soil to your Prime Agra method, how much soil do you clean off, and how do you clean it? Would I prune the roots? Would it be best to do this change in spring, when the plants are more actively growing? Please also talk about how often you water, and when you use just water and when you use some fertilizer. And, finally, when a plant enters winter dormancy, how do you handle watering then?

Thanks for all your pictures and info. It is very generous of you to do this. I am really excited about trying this, and it sounds like some others are too. This teaching/learning stuff is a huge benefit of Dave's Garden.

Susan in Minneapolis
Sally0
Yardley, PA

September 21, 2007
5:06 PM

Post #4002043

Hi Susan, I find the people on these sites are very generous and love to share info. I clean off all of the dirt and I do not trim off root. I am pretty brutal when I clean the roots but the plants don't seem to mind. I just eye the pot as to how much initial Primeagra to put in. I then hold the plant and fill in the Primeagra around the plant to the top. I water when the water level is almost down to the bottom. I generally fertilize almost everytime I water. I will add the recommended amound of fertilizer to the water. In the summer, when they are all outside, I will just fill up my Miracle Grow container that connectes to the hose and I will spray them all with that. I have about 200 caudiciforms now (I think) and I have not lost 1 of them to rot (knock on wood.) To be honest, when I spray in the summer, they all get watered regardless of the water level. I will sometimes just fill them with water to rinse out the excess salts. I am extremely unscientific so it is a miracle these are doing so well. I try to be careful with a few that I have like the lithops. They are all outside for the summer. I still have to watch for the stupid mealie bugs. They are what will kill them.

In the winter I do the same thing. I will rewater when the water level goes almost to the bottom. This will be much less often as most of them are resting but I don't let them go completely dry as I don't want to lose the roots. Even if they lose all their leaves, they will get a little water. They will just take up the water they need which makes this system very east for me. I have had some bloom in January for me. It is important to note that I have mine in the warm living room under lights. If you are keeping them cool, I don't know that I would give them water.
Malestrom
Plumiedelphia, PA
(Zone 7a)

September 21, 2007
6:58 PM

Post #4002409

do you use the hose in your living room in the winter? 8P
senlarrs
Harrisburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

September 21, 2007
7:41 PM

Post #4002580

Now, now Malestrom...

8P Larry
oldmudhouse
Las Cruces, NM
(Zone 8a)

September 21, 2007
8:50 PM

Post #4002791

Okay, here's a silly question. Do the containers have to be transparent? The only thing I can guess is you need to be able to see the water line to know when to add more water...is that right? So, an opaque ceramic container wouldn't work well...right?

Thanks so much for the thread, it's very interesting!
Sheri
Sally0
Yardley, PA

September 21, 2007
10:05 PM

Post #4002984

Malestrom, don't think I haven't thought of that! Luckily, they don't drink take too much of the water, so I only water every month or so.

Sheri, Actually, I have some in opaque plastic containers. I have a feel for their watering needs so I will put in some water and just see when it comes out the holes when I water. In the summer, I usually just water everything on one time so it doesn't matter. You really can't overwater. It would be hard to put holes up the side of ceramic, but I like to experiment, so I would try it for myself.
Sally
Malestrom
Plumiedelphia, PA
(Zone 7a)

September 22, 2007
4:16 AM

Post #4004167

To put holes in ceramic
Use a glass cutting drill bit.
Works fine.
oldmudhouse
Las Cruces, NM
(Zone 8a)

September 22, 2007
5:13 AM

Post #4004258

Oops Sally, I forgot about the holes in the side. I need to refocus my brain for this type of growing, it's so different!

I agree about being able to drill holes in the side of ceramic pots if you wanted to...goodness knows I've drilled holes in countless pot bottoms for drainage. I think the drill bit I bought at Lowes was marked for drilling tile. So far it's worked, but if I get into semi-hydroponics I'll have to think really hard about where I'm aiming the drill bit. :-)
Sheri
HoosierGreen
Danville, IN

March 25, 2008
12:37 AM

Post #4705120

Have you used this method to grow other types of foliage houseplants. I'm considering trying the with palms or ferns. What do you think?
Sally0
Yardley, PA

March 25, 2008
10:56 PM

Post #4709131

Yes, I have orchids and my african violets are beyond happy. Actually, I could never grow african violets, now I have 60. I have tried geraniums and begonias which have done well. One the semi-hydroponics site, I think most things have been tried with success.
HoosierGreen
Danville, IN

March 26, 2008
12:33 AM

Post #4709544

Thanks. This will be fun to try.
treelover3
Minneapolis, MN
(Zone 5a)

October 18, 2010
9:30 AM

Post #8162196

Just a little bump to bring this info back to the top.
Mike
Sally0
Yardley, PA

October 18, 2010
10:54 AM

Post #8162323

Thanks Mike
treelover3
Minneapolis, MN
(Zone 5a)

October 20, 2010
12:34 PM

Post #8166338

(:o)
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 21, 2010
4:28 AM

Post #8167433

Uh huh! Thanks for refreshing this timely info...

And now, for the questions:

SallyD ~ you mentioned repotting these at least two times since being in SH. Have they slowed on the growing process when they adjusted? I had a visual image of the Caudiciforms that ate PA. lol

Also, I wanted to ask about the mealies. On normal succulents, I've always found mealies to be a problem under drier conditions but yours are certainly not kept dry. Root mealies or above ground? Do you treat them?

Sally0
Yardley, PA

October 21, 2010
7:27 AM

Post #8167679

I did not notice a big growth reduction. If anything, the plants have grown much faster. I think because the roots are free. Similar to growing them straight in the garden. I have done that also for a few summers and the growth can be breathtaking. I will get the annoying mealies in the winter when everything is indoors and I bring out the big guns and use chemicals. I have too many plants and no patience to use the q-tips and alcohol. After this summer I repotted all of my plants mainly to see what was going on underneath and there were no root mealies. Actually can't remember having any root mealies in the culture.
PerennialGirl
Winnipeg, MB
(Zone 4a)

January 22, 2011
6:09 PM

Post #8324921

I just bought some regular hydroton rocks. I thought I would try these first since it would be much cheaper for me than to order from First Rays.
Sally0
Yardley, PA

January 23, 2011
8:21 AM

Post #8325715

I believe a lot of people are using the hydronton successfully.
PerennialGirl
Winnipeg, MB
(Zone 4a)

January 23, 2011
8:54 AM

Post #8325767

Well I'm planning to move some of my plants today.
tkrettler
Hoffman Estates, IL

March 1, 2011
10:07 PM

Post #8401664

just ordered from rays, going to transfer pseudolithos and dorstenia gigas this weekend we'll see how it goes
Sally0
Yardley, PA

March 3, 2011
4:15 AM

Post #8403886

They have both done well for me. Good luck!
KayJones
Lee's Summit, MO
(Zone 6a)

March 3, 2011
5:07 AM

Post #8403957

Where is the cheapest place to buy this material?
Sally0
Yardley, PA

March 3, 2011
6:27 AM

Post #8404099

Some people buy from their local hydroponics store. This is close to the PrimeAgra that is used from firstrays.com
tkrettler
Hoffman Estates, IL

March 3, 2011
9:43 AM

Post #8404472

Here is a copy and paste that ray posted on a forum for you to read the difference between the two, primeagra might be a little more expensive but you can use reuse it over and over unlike potting soil.
--------------------------------

Each brand of LECA has its own individual combination of properties, with the important ones being absorption, release (and the resultant hysteresis), and capillarity. Some secondary ones have to do with the communication of the interior porosity with the surface, size, uniformity, shape, surface texture and apparent weight.

The differences between them do play a role in determining how well the plants will grow, but your cultural conditions, as was mentioned, makes an even bigger impact.

For example, one can grow orchids in marbles. They don't absorb anything, and wicking is minimal, but air flow between the particles is great, so if you water frequently enough and your humidity is high, no problem. That said, I doubt that any of us would be willing to modify our growing conditions and watering schedules that much to compensate for the medium, so you're better off with one that fits you better to start with.

PrimeAgra is the only brand that has been designed specifically for hydroculture, rather than remarketed from its original use in concrete, so its overall combination of properties is better. Does that mean the others won't work? Of course not.-ray
Malestrom
Plumiedelphia, PA
(Zone 7a)

March 4, 2011
8:17 PM

Post #8407444

hydroton is available in 50 litre bags delivered to your door via ups for the same price as if you bought it and carried it yourself from the hydroponic store,
Ive been usning it alot lately trying aeroponics and hydroponics systems, so far so good!
PerennialGirl
Winnipeg, MB
(Zone 4a)

March 4, 2011
8:34 PM

Post #8407464

I've moved over a few of my caudex plants and they seem to be loving it!
Malestrom
Plumiedelphia, PA
(Zone 7a)

March 6, 2011
3:24 PM

Post #8410726

I should be a nice guy and provide the link, sorry
http://cgi.ebay.com/HYDROTON-CLAY-GROWING-PEBBLES-HYDROPONIC-50L-45lbs-/280568363581?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item41532d7a3d#ht_1030wt_906

same price only delivered to your door ;)
fatcaudex
Providence, RI

April 6, 2011
7:02 PM

Post #8477151

I am new to DG... and have never seen the s/h technique being used. Always thought that plants meant dirt... but we're in the 21st century so why not go soiless?! A couple of things I thought of when I read through this informative posting (thanks Sally0!)...

1) There are holes on the sides of the containers not on the bottoms right? The water level is kept at different levels for different plant types (succulents, vs foliage etc), or is there more to this?

2) It seems that watering schedules are less of an issue with this medium of growing. Do the roots just grow in the medium seeking out the water?

3) Aside from the hose in the living room joke, wouldn't watering plants in containers with holes on the sides be messy for overflow? Or would you need larger splash pans beneath each pan to catch the overflow?

Forgive the dumb questions! Also, I think if I did this, I'd have withdrawal from my terracotta pots. Over time, I have amassed quite an army...

Sally0
Yardley, PA

April 7, 2011
5:36 AM

Post #8477736

Hi fatcaudex - Those are not dumb questions.

1) There are 2 holes about 1 inch from the bottom on the side of the container to create a reservoir. That is pretty standard are all plants and pot sizes.

2) This method has cut down on my rot problems probably by 90%. I have plants where the roots grow very happily right into the water on the bottom. With the container opaque, I just rewater when I see the reservoir getting empty.

3) I have my plants in trays to catch the overflow. I got them at Lowe's and they were inexpensive.

Thumbnail by Sally0
Click the image for an enlarged view.

fatcaudex
Providence, RI

April 7, 2011
5:35 PM

Post #8479244

Thanks for the generous info on s/h. Sounds pretty intense. I haven't had issues with root rot (yet... knock on wood). My apartment is pretty sunny.. depending on the weather, I can water many of my plants once a day even... I would like to try the s/h method at least on one plant to see if it works for me.

Do you recommend it only for plants with caudices (like in the pic) or for all plants? It would seem that plants with caudices have a tap root system making it easier to separate the soil from the root system (unlike more delicate root systems of plants like Af. Violets, etc). What do you think?

Attached: a pic of my Crassula happily sun-bathing :)

Thumbnail by fatcaudex
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Sally0
Yardley, PA

April 8, 2011
5:29 AM

Post #8480089

Actually, I have 8 African Violets in s/h that just love it. I always had a problem growing those and now it is a breeze. They also bloom very easily and do not have to be pot bound.
I have tons of succulents in s/h and my lithops and pseudolithops also love it.
Sallysblooms
South, TX

May 30, 2011
11:18 AM

Post #8597060

Hey Sally! My husband and I just potted up some orchids and one violet today. I will do more violets soon.
I got everything at First Rays. He was helpful on the phone. I talked to you on the violet forum.
killdawabbit
Christiana, TN
(Zone 6b)

May 30, 2011
7:59 PM

Post #8598267

Is there any differrence between Primagra and hydroton?
Has anyone tried Euphorbias? I love them but kill most of them, I think from overwatering.
helenchild
Decatur, GA

May 30, 2011
8:13 PM

Post #8598309

I have some euphorbias in s/h and they seem to be doing well.
Euphorbias don't like much if any water from Nov. to mid-March. They will take a lot in the summer if they are in the sun and growing.
Good luck.
Helen
killdawabbit
Christiana, TN
(Zone 6b)

May 30, 2011
9:32 PM

Post #8598425

Thanks. Do you grow them in full sun?
I did manage to save a few this last winter. I didn't water them at all.
Sally0
Yardley, PA

May 31, 2011
4:53 AM

Post #8598652

I have a lot of Euphorbias in s/h and they have done very well. I do not put any of my Euphorbias in full sun. Hi Sallysblooms, good luck with the s/h.
bleeps
Venice, CA
(Zone 10a)

May 31, 2011
8:24 AM

Post #8599109

Do caudexes (caudices?) get large when grown in s/h like they do when they are grown in soil? I'm talking about the ones that expand beneath the soil level and then get raised when they are re-potted.
killdawabbit
Christiana, TN
(Zone 6b)

May 31, 2011
8:24 AM

Post #8599110

Is there any difference between PrimeAgra and hydroton? IOW, is hydroton just as suitable for s/h?
Sally0
Yardley, PA

June 1, 2011
4:15 AM

Post #8600803

Yes, the caudex will get large in the s/h. Some of my plants have grown much more quickly in the s/h. I use the PrimeAgra and have never used the hydroton. You can go to Firstrays site and there is a forum. I believe that is discussed there.
killdawabbit
Christiana, TN
(Zone 6b)

June 1, 2011
7:09 PM

Post #8602824

Thanks. I will do that. I have already checked out his website.

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