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Interiorscape Forum / Scaper Talk Discussion Forum / Plants / Subirrigation Wick & Lava Rock?
Posted:  25 Jan 2016 23:59   Last Edited By: HumbleWater64 
Hey everyone!

I'm familiar with using a felt wick connecting the bottom of the soil pot with a reservoir as a method of sub-irrigation.

Does anyone know if this works with lava rock?  Can osmosis happen with that much pore space?

Also, does anyone have tips for checking how dry the roots are with lava rock?
Posted:  28 Jan 2016 18:24  
That's the proverbial $64,000 question!

Lava rock mixes are difficult to probe with your finger, especially if you've become fond of your finger.  It'll rip it to shreds literally.  And probes won't work either, because you can't get a legit sample at each depth to judge soil moisture that way.  Meters, too, are foiled by these kinds of gravelly media.  Your best bet is to judge by the foliage of the plant whether it needs water.  Dracaenas tend to get wavy leaf edges when they're dry and flatten out when they're hydrated properly.  Other plants will approach the wilting point and show it by drooping or the foliage getting rubbery as opposed to crisp.  It's always a judgment call with lava rock mixes, though, so sometimes it's best to just convert them to a soilless mix that matches what your other plants are growing in so the techs will have consistent stuff to work with.

As for wicking, it might work, but you'll have to drive the wick up into the center of the rootball right under the canes if it's a Dracaena, and you still might not get good results.  Again, changing the mix to a more conventional soilless one would be your best option in order to facilitate wicking or other subirrigation methods.

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