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Switched to semi hydro. When should I check roots.

This is a discussion on Switched to semi hydro. When should I check roots. within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; One of the features of S/H culture is that each pot has it's own reservoir. ...

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  1. #41
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    One of the features of S/H culture is that each pot has it's own reservoir. This keep each plant separate in terms of not spreading diseases. It also allows the fertilizer salts to be flushed out of the pot - standing in communal water the fertilizer salts are in the standing water, it would have to be dumped and refilled on a regular basis to have the same affect. If the setup doesn't keep the LECA wicking moisture throughout the pot, then its not working like S/H is supposed to work as well. Those are some things that come to mind when I look at the way it is set up. That's not to say it won't work, but its not working the same as S/H does.

  2. #42
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    The trays always have at least 1-2 inch of watter, except when the temperatures are lower and I let the watter levels drop on purpose. So the trays are a big reservoir. The boxes on the wall have even more higher levels of watter since it is warmer up there and I don't like climbing the letter for them every 2 weeks.
    To make the pictures with the holes I lifted the plastic container out of the trays so yes the watter did flow out of them temporarily. The keiki trail where the photos of the containers are taken has lower levels of watter since keikis are small and put in smaller plastic containers. The LECA bebbles are not dried out except maybe the top 1,5 inch or so.
    So maybe it is not normal S/H but I am sure is not traditional culture in LECA medium

    ---------- Post Merged at 06:59 PM ----------

    As for flushing the watter out of the trays I do it every month or so using a rubber hose, and the principle of communicating vessels, and every forth week I watter with no nutrients. I am aware of the risk of spreading disease from one plant to the other this way, but this is the only way I could think to fit in the space I have all the orchids I got.

    ---------- Post Merged at 07:01 PM ----------

    At my cottage I do have more plants in individual small saucers to fit on the windowsill.

  3. #43
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    As I said before I am not an expert. This growing in inert media with a touch of S/H seems to be working for me. Many of my friends use similar set ups mainly because plants require less frequent watering a requirement for those of us who travel a lot are have very little free time.
    I hope I din't offend the experts of growing in S/H, I just wanted to share some of my experience.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by chemist View Post
    Ray, but those reservoirs with holes in the bottom stand in container with water (looks like inch of water) so do you thinks it still not S/H?
    Nope. That's S/H with an external-, rather than internal reservoir.

    ---------- Post Merged at 06:49 AM ----------

    Andrea - Believe me, I know about traveling and the constraints that puts on orchid growing. There was a 3.5-year period when I averaged a fraction under 13 flights a week, all around North America. (I was only home 9 weekdays the whole time my wife was pregnant with our son.) After that, I didn't travel as often, but my territory grew to North-, Central, & South America, Japan, and the PRC - with the occasional trip to Australia and various European destinations for meetings - but the trips were longer, usually 3 or 4 weeks at a time. That's what led me to invent the S/H technique in the first place, as it allowed me to automate watering without fear of overdoing it.

    Do you water the pots from the top, or just refill the trays? If it's the latter, you're setting yourself up for some major losses.

    In all cases, the water, which contains the added nutrients and whatever dissolved minerals are in the water to start with, wicks up from the bottom. As the water evaporates as it approaches the top of the pot, the dissolved minerals precipitate out onto and into the medium. If you follow my recommendation to water heavily from the top and let it drain through, if flushes much of that deposit out. if you only refill the tray, or just "top up" the internal reservoir of other pots, that buildup gets worse and worse, leading to toxic levels.

    I will also recommend that you change the water far more frequently than "every month or so". Whenever a plant absorbs a nutrient ion, it must emit a compensatory one. Those, and the plants' biological waste products are released primarily through the roots, and into the environment around them, where they are absorbed by the water.

    A few years ago, several folks did experiments, and found that the pH of that solution changes drastically, and remarkably rapidly, so the frequent, "top-down" watering method employed with pots having internal reservoirs has the advantage of refreshing the chemistry of the solution, as well.

    Folks growing crops in active hydroponics systems employ automatic controls to keep the chemistry in line, as it changes too rapidly to do so manually.

  5. #45
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    Thank for the advice. I always kept wattering from the top, the plants seemed to need it.
    The plants outside even sheltered get a bit of the rain, as we have almost tropical weather now so they do get flushed out on a regular basis.

    I will increase flushing the trays from inside- I wonder once a week would be enough??

  6. #46
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    That sounds OK.

    By the way, the rain water flushing will be a great help to the plants.

  7. #47
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    If you switch to s/h, timing is important, especially with species. Try to get the plant as the new roots are being sent out, they will adapt to the new environment, and will take up the slack when the old roots die. If the roots are more than 1 1/2 inch long, you run the risk of damaging them from the repotting process. If you adhere to these rules, you should have success. Here is a cattleya schroederae that I had in s/h for about 9 months. I had to take off the old s/h media due to salts appearing on the top. I put in new media, and soaked the old stuff. All the roots you see were quite healthy. I had only a little damage from the salts, and the plant quickly started up growing again.
    Name:  Cat_schro_all_old_media_gone_45crop.jpg
Views: 202
Size:  169.8 KB
    Here is Phaius schlecteri after about 10 months. No salts, this time, I was just needing a larger pot and wanted to check the roots.
    Name:  Phaius_schlecteri_12mos_SH700.jpg
Views: 197
Size:  179.6 KB
    Make sure you get it repotted while the roots are still damp.

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