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Old 05-09-2013, 04:47 PM
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I think I'm doing s/h properly but the hydroton is dry


I purchased a 10 liter bag of hydroton from a seller on Amazon. From my research, it's my understanding that not all hydroton is the same. Some wick better, some aerate better, some are made of higher quality clays than others.

The stuff I bought says it is "by hydroton", at least the picture on the ad says so. The bag I received simply says "planting pellets" or something like that. I washed the product before I used it, goosed it with seaweed extract and added a plant.

The noid rescue phal was removed from a bark and clay pot and put into a clay pot filled with this hydroton. This now sits in water maybe 1/4 inch deep. Roots appear green and fat above the media. The medium itself is very dry and dusty...

It's my understanding that a proper hydroton wicks water almost like alveoli absorb oxygen and release CO2.

Do I need to use a different container? Add more water that the clay pot sits in? Should I rewash the hydroton and start all over again?

It's only been a week and the plant does not appear stressed yet. Actually,
roots appear happy and it's producing a leaf.

Any guidance would be appreciated.


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Old 05-10-2013, 12:56 AM
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Maybe a picture would help.

Have you checked the level it goes wicked above water beforehand?
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:56 AM
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A 1/4-inch seems like a very small reservoir. Too my (very limited knowledge) the reservoirs should be at least 1-inch deep. Because I grow my orchids (and other plants) hotter and dryer, I tend to make my reservoirs no less than 2-inch deep and have even raised my reservoirs to above 3-inches deep if the container allows.
My AV have shallower roots and love having the deeper reservoir. My Kalanchoe doesn't mind being soaked for days in more than 4-inch of water for days. So, I guess it depends on the orchid, pot size, and how much you water them. My chids in S/H hardly get watered so the deeper reservoir also helps with that.
Hope this helps some! If you get the chance (or, if you haven't already) check out First Ray's site. Tons of info, products, ideas, and awesomeness in general abounds.
Oh! And also, when switching from traditional potting methods into hydroton or S/H will usually produce some amount of stress. It is an entirely new environment that the plant will need to adapt to. Expect to lose leaves, roots, and blooms (if you have any) while the plant under goes the adaptation. Depending on the plant and the culture this period can be a few weeks to a couple months.
Good luck!

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Old 05-10-2013, 09:04 AM
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1) By using a clay pot, a lot more evaporation is occurring in the pot than it would with a non-porous container (I have never used other than plastic). Therefore, no matter how good the wicking of your particular brand of LECA may be, it'll never remain wet all the way to the top,

2) I suspect your air is quite dry, so the evaporation rate will be accelerated by that, too.

3) Picture the moisture content of the LECA as a gradient - 100% saturated in the water, getting drier and drier as you move up, away from the reservoir. Increasing the depth of the reservoir only moves that "100% wet" level upward; if the evaporation rate is extreme, as in your situation, doing so may not do much. You certainly don't want to have the reservoir deep enough to submerge the roots.

4) The ideal time to transplant is right when brand new roots are just emerging from the plant. Existing roots don't really adapt at all to the new conditions - the cells are grown and don't significantly change - so the plant has to grow roots that are optimized for the new conditions.
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Old 05-10-2013, 05:37 PM
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Hello and thanks-

I have read and re-read Ray's info on s/h, it's a Godsend for newbies and experts alike! I'm not surprised the water level isn't high enough, I'm always too cautious when first trying something out. Thank goodness for Orchidgeeks!

I'm going to give plastic a try, since I had the clay pot that's what I used. I'm going to increase the water reservoir and switch to a plastic pot.

I have a little noid phal mini with new roots, maybe I'll try that one in hydroton too...I'll go back to Rays' site and follow step by step!

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Old 05-10-2013, 06:37 PM
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There are pots specifically for growing in s/h which you can find on ebay or other vendors. I bought a few and then started making my own. I went to a dollar store and bought acrylic glasses or containers and used my Dremel to drill the two holes an inch up from the bottom. Works great. I have my Den Rainbow Dance in one of these glasses and its been in the same glass for at least 4 years. You can also use the plastic containers from the deli, those work well also.
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