Semi Hydroponics Demonstration

Yardley, PA

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.

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Yardley, PA

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.

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Yardley, PA

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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Yardley, PA

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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Yardley, PA

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

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Yardley, PA

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

Huntsville, AL(Zone 7b)

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

Yardley, PA

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.

Plumiedelphia, PA(Zone 7a)

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?

Yardley, PA

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.

Plumiedelphia, PA(Zone 7a)

Im scared to bother mine ^^
I might hurt it

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4a)

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

Yardley, PA

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.

Plumiedelphia, PA(Zone 7a)

do you use the hose in your living room in the winter? 8P

Harrisburg, PA(Zone 6a)

Now, now Malestrom......

8P Larry

Las Cruces, NM(Zone 8a)

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

Yardley, PA

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

Plumiedelphia, PA(Zone 7a)

To put holes in ceramic
Use a glass cutting drill bit.
Works fine.

Las Cruces, NM(Zone 8a)

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

Danville, IN

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?

Yardley, PA

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.

Danville, IN

Thanks. This will be fun to try.

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 5a)

Just a little bump to bring this info back to the top.
Mike

Yardley, PA

Thanks Mike

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 5a)

(:o)

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

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?

Yardley, PA

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.

Winnipeg, MB(Zone 4a)

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.

Yardley, PA

I believe a lot of people are using the hydronton successfully.

Winnipeg, MB(Zone 4a)

Well I'm planning to move some of my plants today.

Hoffman Estates, IL

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

Yardley, PA

They have both done well for me. Good luck!

Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)

Where is the cheapest place to buy this material?

Yardley, PA

Some people buy from their local hydroponics store. This is close to the PrimeAgra that is used from firstrays.com

Hoffman Estates, IL

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

Plumiedelphia, PA(Zone 7a)

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!

Winnipeg, MB(Zone 4a)

I've moved over a few of my caudex plants and they seem to be loving it!

Plumiedelphia, PA(Zone 7a)

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 ;)

Providence, RI

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...

Yardley, PA

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.

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