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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.

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.

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.
Posted:  05 Sep 2014 21:12  
Hi Guys, New to the forum. Actually hydroculture is pretty easier than soil culture for specific plants.

sales pitch, no soil 60% less diseases, no room for critters in leca, no watering headaches, water meter saves scheduling, no water drainage necessary.

Its not without its technical issues but in my experience,
its easier to maintain and less labour intensive provided you know what is required. also creates much less of a mess, eg we flush plant on location with a drill pump. No repotting necessary, worst case scenario get the plant out , cut some roots and back in.  I am located in Kuwait so I do have access to a big selection and we choose this specialization. Many plants switch easily if hot boxed with minimal losses.
Soil culture forces us to use many pest deterrents due to the fussy no critter customers.. For our office clients, a standard selection of plants for hydroculture is offered and we never get the age old soil-borne issues.  Dont get me wrong, we do work soil as not all plant are good in hydro-culture. just my two cents.
Posted:  05 Sep 2014 21:22  
hydroculture is technically intensive, the vast amount of different plants i killed learning how to get it to work sustainability taught me that.

  but for experienced soil people its not worth the switch..
though i do have a question.. we do specify in maintenance contracts that if a plant dies from outside source of poison, ie public being uncivilized and pouring their drink/other liquids, we are not responsible and it is testable for proof. never had to use that clause yet. i think this problem is common to soil and hydro-culture. in hydro-cultures case we open the hose in and suck water from the maintenance tube out to drain. What do soil people do. take the plant out, flush and return ?  or do you have a trick i don't know ?
Posted:  06 Sep 2014 03:04  
Biophilia, nice to have someone from your part of the world who has different experiences with interior plants come on the forum...welcome!

There are hydroculture firms in the US who do very well with the system, but it's very important to have a production source for plants grown soullessly.  Otherwise, the conversion process (i.e., soil -> hydroleca) can be quite lossy.

As for contamination of growing media, you may be able to vacuum out the water from your reservoirs, but hydroleca has quite an affinity for adsorbing organics, so you probably should try to flush the aggregate as well.  In soil or peat-lite mixes, flushing and draining can help, depending on the type of contaminant, but it may also be necessary to replace as much of the affected medium as possible with fresh mix.  Addition of activated charcoal to the new mix will additionally help with decontamination of organic toxins.  However, if it's something malodorous, such as spoiled dairy products (e.g., spilled milk or cream from coffee), it will probably be much easier to deal with replacing the plant instead of trying to deodorize the medium.
Posted:  07 Sep 2014 16:16  
Thanks for the welcome, names is Hamad and am a proud biophile..general hydroponics flora clean does wonder for messy flushes.
Posted:  08 Sep 2014 15:11  
And my apologies for the typo in my reply...it's important to have a source for plants grown soillessly, not "soullessly".  That would be a shame!

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