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Posted:  21 Oct 2013 17:31  
Does any have any thoughts/comments on the use of hydroculture? I know that it's widely used in Europe, but wanted to get the opinions of anyone in the U.S. currently using the method.
Posted:  21 Oct 2013 20:51  
It was tried back in the 70's, even going so far as to have a grower in Florida offer larger plants already set up in them.  Just did not work out...supplier had limited availability and questionable quality on some plants...messy to replace, water gauges are often removed in public areas, unknown liquids were dumped in them ...just not practical, in my opinion.

Converting larger plants yourself usually resulted in at least a 35% loss, unless in a greenhouse situation.

Julie
Posted:  21 Oct 2013 21:32  
Hi Julie-

Thanks for that info. I was imagining how many issues hydroculture would pose in public areas (i.e. completely damaged, etc in a mall or hospital lobby).

Do you think this method only serves a purpose as a single desktop plant on an office employee's desk?
Posted:  22 Oct 2013 15:30  
We try to standardize set-up on each job, so we would not mix it with another method if we had a choice.  I just view the set-up as a novelty for a desktop plant....a lot of work for something that is just as easy to care for in a normal set-up.

Julie
Posted:  22 Oct 2013 15:51  
Julie is spot on about the vagaries of hydroculture.  I would opt for subirrigation, even something as simple as a wick setup, rather than hydroponics.  It's okay if your supply chain is set up with several suppliers growing plants of all sizes in hydro, but that doesn't exist here, so it's just a novelty act.  Subirrigation, however, is easy to retrofit to any conventionally produced plant and will both prolong the life of the plant indoors and standardize maintenance to be much easier for the technician.
Posted:  22 Oct 2013 17:18  
Would you say that subirrigation and terraponics are somewhat similar?
Posted:  23 Oct 2013 16:15  
Not sure what "terraponics" means...I've heard it used to describe the technique where a plant produced in "normal" medium is potted on into a hydroculture unit by simply adding hydroleca pebbles around the existing rootball.  I don't favor this technique, although I know a local hydroponic vendor who swears by it.  The interface between two very different media is problematic.  It works with the Joey Pouch, but I would have questions about it working long-term with hydroleca and standard media.
Posted:  19 Nov 2013 01:51  
Its a great product Ive used for years
but the downsides as mentioned above do exist
Nobody grows it because nobody uses it and nobody uses it because nobody grows it…
Posted:  01 Dec 2013 05:48  
This is not a hydroculture comment, but I'm curious...I keep seeing references to subirrigation and how wonderful it is, so I guess more and more people are using it.  How do you deal with plants staying wet/soil staying damp all the time?
Posted:  01 Dec 2013 15:16  
Actually, a properly working subirrigation unit will not have constantly wet soil.  The CWI system, which is the most sophisticated one we use, has a sensor that controls the flow of water from the reservoir into the soil depending on how it's installed for each plant.  If the plant is a type that likes to dry down significantly, the sensor tip is buried deeper so that water isn't released until there is drydown to that depth.  Plants requiring more moisture would have their sensors buried more shallowly.  The soil will dry down to the point where the tip of the sensor is located before more water is released, which allows aeration to occur.  And once the reservoir is empty of water, it's up to the tech to decide when to refill.  This also allows air to penetrate the soil and provide oxygen to the roots. 

The only things that can compromise this system are clogged inlet holes, a dirty sensor tip, tampering with the stopper, and too-frequent topping-off of the reservoir before it's empty.  Other subirrigation systems are generally glorified wick systems ("dumb" systems) which will continually pull water from a reservoir as the soil dried from simple evaporation and evapotranspiration (water uptake) by the plants.  These will remain constantly moist as long as there is water to be pulled up, but if you use a coarse, well-drained medium, aeration should be adequate even with these systems.

Gnats can become a problem if a wick system is constantly moist with no dry-out period, so be ready to apply nematodes or drench with insecticide if necessary.
Posted:  26 Dec 2013 12:57   Last Edited By: admin 
We try to standardize set-up on each job however, is easy to retrofit to any conventionally produced plant and will both prolong the life of the plant indoors and standardize maintenance to be much easier for the technician.

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