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 Post subject: Re: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:23 pm 
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Another thing I found out is that to keep the top part from drying out simply put a layer of river rock on top. This keeps the lecca from floating up and keeps the moisture in. Then when you water simply fill the container to the top and let it drain out, the reservoir will hold enough water to wick up and keep everything evenly moist. S/H works great. My entire greenhouse is growing in S/H, even some citrus trees and a banana tree along with many brugmansias and tropicals.

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 Post subject: Re: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:28 pm 
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I really dont doubt that it works, but I've just had real bad luck with Phals. I'm still trying to work out some of the kinks, but I like all the input. I'm hoping that it turns out to be partly lack of heat and part lack of timing on the transfer to the setup. Glad to see it works though.

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 Post subject: Re: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:36 am 
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long wrote:
Edward, would you tell us more? I think that this might work for me outdoors. Thx in advanced


Long, Sorry I was just reading this, and saw that I missed your question a while ago. Generally, S/H outdoors during the summer works great for me, but my phals always take a year before being fully established in S/H. Selection of the right plants to switch into S/H is a pretty key factor. I try not to put any phals that don't grow roots well for me into S/H, and keep those in sphag. On the other hand, many vigorous hybrids, especially tetraploids with aggressive root growth, do rather well in S/H. Most things with cornu-cervi or mannii do pretty well too--my valentinii put out 6 leaves one year while taking cattleya amount of sun. I've noticed some violaceas and bellinas don't like S/H as much--I think this is because these species are more cold sensitive and root growth is not usually as vigorous with these species for me. When the leaves and roots start growing, I will add a few pellets of slow release fertilizer, but only a few. I also like not having to water as frequently with S/H since I'm pretty busy. With sphag in the summer, if I don't water frequently enough, the moss dries to a crisp, and it takes time to rehydrate it.

Dends and cattleyas go crazy in it outdoors, it still takes a year for establishment, but the growth can sometimes take off immediately. I had once had a cattleya hybrid that I took from a 2.5 inch pot of sphag right into a 4 inch pot of S/H, and it tripled its size about a year and a half later.

Edward


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 Post subject: Re: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:55 pm 
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cjmack wrote:
Another thing I found out is that to keep the top part from drying out simply put a layer of river rock on top. This keeps the lecca from floating up and keeps the moisture in....


CJ, what size of river rock do you use? Pea gravel, 3/4", 1/4", what?

Thanks,

Moist

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 Post subject: Re: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:58 pm 
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The one I use is just labled river rock and its available at Lowes, Walmart and Home Depot. Its various sizes. Anything would work though, including pea gravel.

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 Post subject: Re: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:04 pm 
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Looks like I started this thread, but I haven't followed up since. I'll try to get some pictures. My plants are doing (I dare say) better than they have ever done before. If you've never grown under lights, even with a humidifier, you don't realize how dry it is. Still early, but so far it has been the answer for me to a lot of frustration.

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 Post subject: Re: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:10 pm 
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Post some pics of your plants! Which ones/types would you say are doing the best? How are you fertilizing? MSU?

CJ, don't you also have some plants in S/H? Or even trees, if I remember. That, I haven't had time to try, but I'd love to see what kind of tree you have in S/H.


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 Post subject: Re: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:13 am 
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Location: Chester County, PA
I grow almost everything I have in S/H except my Neos and Phals and some various seedlings. I am trialing some Neo divisions of the wild type and Amami island in S/H and so far, so good. Paphs, Phrags, and Oncidiums go crazy in it and my houseplants are much easier to care for now. My Ficus, Clivias, Palms, Hoyas, Pothos, Philodendrons, and African Violets love it. I'm in the process of moving some Hippeastrums into it on the recommendation of a contact in Colorado who grows all his this way.

The only plant that hasn't done well for me is my Paphs. I kept losing them during the winter. Ray says it's because the lower temps in winter and evaporative cooling in the root zone might be too cold for them. My house gets down into the upper 50's to 60 at night in the winter and I think it's just too cold for them. I'm able to keep them alive in bark over the winter so they stay in that.

I use both Ray's PrimeAgra and Hydroton. I've found that the PrimeAgra wicks better and doesn't float as much as Hydroton, but after the roots get going, they lock the Leca in and Hydroton doesn't float anymore. In the long run, I think I need to flush a little more thoroughly with the PrimeAgra as it seems to hold mineral deposits or fert salts a bit more strongly. Nothing that rain or R/O water doesn't overcome.

Here's a quick pic of my windowsill at work.
Image

Left to right:
Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen), Clivia miniata, Haworthia attenuata, Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinsettia), Hippeastrum 'Picotee' (just transplanted), Pothos, Sansevieria trifasciata.
The plants are a bit neglected because of my work schedule but still doing prestty well.

On the whole, I highly recommend S/H.

Cheers.
Jim

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 Post subject: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:01 pm 
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What color is your clivia miniata Jim? I have one I got from a friend's friend that breeds them selectively. Mine is almost white, with a faint yellow tint. It's blooming now. I should try s/h on it!

I have a few orchids in s/h. I have some noid Reed stem epidendrums, a Paph, and two Phals, one is a hybrid (long name) and the other is a schilleriana. All of the plants I have in it are loving it. I'm going to be moving over my maxillaria tenuifolia and a Phal balsdans kaleidoscope sometime soon, and maybe a cattleyas division.

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 Post subject: Re: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:37 pm 
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I took some pictures. I'm not sure its very helpful because I need before and after pictures. I need to try to do that. Also most of these have only been repotted about 2 months so there haven't been huge changes. Still, we all know our plants and know when they are doing well.

This is a seedling from a compot I purchased from Peter. I had moved it from the compot to an individual 2.25" pot in May. From that pot, I moved it to this s/h 8oz beer cup December 1. When I moved it, it had the usual few skinny baby roots. You can see what is has done in just less than 2 months. One of the parents of this is John Ewing 'Gosh' which is one of the most miserably slow growing plants you can have. It has started to really take off though.
Image

This is a lueddemanniana that has already bloomed this year. You can see at the arrow some roots coming around the edge of the pot. Despite having bloomed a couple months ago, there are 10 new buds in this picture. It also has a new leaf.
Image

This is a stem of Dragon Tree Eagle. Not a fast growing plant. I moved it here 11-20-11 from a 2.25" pot. You can see a new leaf started and all the roots starting to come out. (no, I don't have another :D )
Image

This is a stem of Japan Peach. It was moved from 2.25" pot to this 3.5" pot on 11-10-11. You can see the new leaf and all the roots. Looks awesome.
Image

This is a seedling of Yungho Gelblitz flava x Joy Dreamy Jade from a flask I bought from Peter. These have been exceptionally vigorous. I deflasked this one into a 2.25" pot in June and then into this 3.5" s/h pot 12-30-11. It was finishing a new leaf it had started when I moved it, and you can see another has formed. You can tell the new one is going to be huge.
Image

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 Post subject: Re: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:03 pm 
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Ben, what are you average Temps and humidity in your space? Setup looks great. Were these throwing new roots prior to media change?

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 Post subject: Re: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:12 pm 
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Ben, so it looks like you mix your fertilizer into your water first, right? How dilute are you fertilizing? Are you still using fish concentrate or seaweed extract? I had some trouble with salt buildup, and I don't fertilize as much as I used to, but then again, I've been too lazy and tired to mix up a batch of fertilizer water as often as I did before.


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 Post subject: Re: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:25 pm 
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zxyqu wrote:
Ben, what are you average Temps and humidity in your space? Setup looks great. Were these throwing new roots prior to media change?

Right now my temps are about 68-75. I haven't paid a lot of attention to it. My humidity was running around 30%. I have a small struggling humidifier going now and its keeping it at a measly 45%. A new larger one is on the way. I potted the plants whether they were growing roots or not. The DTE roots had not started or had barely started when I repotted it. I remember that, but I can't remember on the Japan Peach. I'm sure some of those were already there. Any big fat root you see wasn't there when I repotted because my roots were always wimpy prior. In the dry warm basement it doesn't matter when I repot. People with cool greenhouses can't repot in winter. Its not an issue for me.

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 Post subject: Re: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:33 pm 
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phalaenopsis wrote:
Ben, so it looks like you mix your fertilizer into your water first, right? How dilute are you fertilizing? Are you still using fish concentrate or seaweed extract? I had some trouble with salt buildup, and I don't fertilize as much as I used to, but then again, I've been too lazy and tired to mix up a batch of fertilizer water as often as I did before.

Yes, I mix the fertilizer with my watering water. I have been trying something made by a guy who came and spoke at my orchid society. His name was Bill Thoms, I believe. He has won more cultural awards than anyone. 85 I believe it was. He doesn't list the ingredients on his fertilizer because he says he would then have to register it with the FDA as fertilizer, etc, etc. I don't blame him. He said that it is similar to MSU except that the nitrogen was in a form that orchids prefer. I can't remember if he said what form. One reason I like it is because it doesn't get mushy like MSU. All that said, I'm using 1tsp per gallon. Assuming its similar to MSU that should give you some idea. I did water with K-L-N at 1tsp per gallon, but that was only 2 weeks ago. All this couldn't already be from that. I don't use "Fish and Butt" in the house, but I love to use it in the summer when my plants are outside. I think they like it. It shouldn't cause salt build up.

Tony mentioned to me reading somewhere that to help prevent salt build up, you should mix MgSO4 into water alone and water with that. It would then act as sort of an exchange resin.

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 Post subject: Re: My Foray into Semi-Hydroponics
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:14 am 
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Call_Me_Bob wrote:
What color is your clivia miniata Jim? I have one I got from a friend's friend that breeds them selectively. Mine is almost white, with a faint yellow tint. It's blooming now. I should try s/h on it!

I have a few orchids in s/h. I have some noid Reed stem epidendrums, a Paph, and two Phals, one is a hybrid (long name) and the other is a schilleriana. All of the plants I have in it are loving it. I'm going to be moving over my maxillaria tenuifolia and a Phal balsdans kaleidoscope sometime soon, and maybe a cattleyas division.


The Clivia is a Solomone Yellow. My wife got it for my 40th birthday. I've wanted a yellow Clivia since I was 10, but they were at least $500 each back then and only botanic gardens and people like the duPonts and Vanderbilts had them. Now I've got 6 different yellows, 5 of which I grew from seed I got from a grower in South Africa for a couple dollars.
Image

Cheers.
Jim

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