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  #1  
Unread 04-29-2008, 06:33 PM
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Default hydroton vs. prime agra?

found a store that sells hydroton and was curious what are the advantages of using this (and disadvantages) vs. prime agra?
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  #2  
Unread 04-29-2008, 06:40 PM
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I have been using all s/h for about 3 months now after having read everything that I could find about the process. This makes me a beginner. However, it was easier for me to get Hydroton at times when Ray was recovering from surgery and I couldn't order PrimeAgra. I have a mixed collection of compact Catts, Phals, Phrags, and Paphs. What I can say is that with the Hydroton I have not yet killed a plant and everything seems to be making roots and growing. I had several Phrags in Diatomite as a short term trial but I did not think that was going so well and moved them into Hydroton. I even have a Paph S Gratrix making a spike and a Phal Orchid World 'Joe' spiking from a plant that had been in sorry shape last Fall. Everything I read and see tells me that the particular LECA medium might matter a little but conditioning it, being careful to move plants into s/h as they are starting to grow, using the right water and fertilizer, and getting a consistent routine probably matter more. I bet that we could make Aliflor, PrimeAgra, and Hydroton (or any other LECA product) work if the other things are done correctly for our particular growing situations.

Last edited by terryros; 04-29-2008 at 06:42 PM..
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  #3  
Unread 04-29-2008, 06:50 PM
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Hi! I think Ray of Firstrays.com is best for answering this question. If you go to his website, he explains the differences really well. All I can say is that I have tried PrimeAgra and Aliflor and I have more of a problem with the Aliflor floating upwards when I water then I do with the Prime Agra. This may not sound like much of a problem, but it comes down to the fact that it disturbs the roots and the plant when everything floats upwards! Let's just say I gave away my Aliflor...I still have PrimeAgra on hand.
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  #4  
Unread 04-29-2008, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terryros View Post
I have been using all s/h for about 3 months now after having read everything that I could find about the process. This makes me a beginner. However, it was easier for me to get Hydroton at times when Ray was recovering from surgery and I couldn't order PrimeAgra. I have a mixed collection of compact Catts, Phals, Phrags, and Paphs. What I can say is that with the Hydroton I have not yet killed a plant and everything seems to be making roots and growing. I had several Phrags in Diatomite as a short term trial but I did not think that was going so well and moved them into Hydroton. I even have a Paph S Gratrix making a spike and a Phal Orchid World 'Joe' spiking from a plant that had been in sorry shape last Fall. Everything I read and see tells me that the particular LECA medium might matter a little but conditioning it, being careful to move plants into s/h as they are starting to grow, using the right water and fertilizer, and getting a consistent routine probably matter more. I bet that we could make Aliflor, PrimeAgra, and Hydroton (or any other LECA product) work if the other things are done correctly for our particular growing situations.
So a majority of yours are in hydroton right now?
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Unread 04-29-2008, 09:13 PM
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Yes - I have everything in Hydroton. I use clear pots with drainage holes on the bottom and I make sure there are drainage holes around the side about 1 inch up (I drill these). I then have each pot in a separate clear plastic saucer so that when I water (I use a pump sprayer so that I don't have to take everything to the sink or make a mess on the trays) I just fill each pot until the level rises to the top of the saucer. With this method I don't have to worry about what floats or doesn't float. The fertigate solution is going down and out into the saucer. I have the extra holes because I got convinced that it is very important for good aeration into the pot and it is better for me to water a little more frequently but have good air around the roots.
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Unread 04-30-2008, 07:51 AM
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Each brand of LECA has its own individual combination of properties, with the important ones being absorption, release (and the resultant hysteresis), and capillarity. Some secondary ones have to do with the communication of the interior porosity with the surface, size, uniformity, shape, surface texture and apparent weight.

The differences between them do play a role in determining how well the plants will grow, but your cultural conditions, as was mentioned, makes an even bigger impact.

For example, one can grow orchids in marbles. They don't absorb anything, and wicking is minimal, but air flow between the particles is great, so if you water frequently enough and your humidity is high, no problem. That said, I doubt that any of us would be willing to modify our growing conditions and watering schedules that much to compensate for the medium, so you're better off with one that fits you better to start with.

PrimeAgra is the only brand that has been designed specifically for hydroculture, rather than remarketed from its original use in concrete, so its overall combination of properties is better. Does that mean the others won't work? Of course not.
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  #7  
Unread 05-01-2008, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terryros View Post
Yes - I have everything in Hydroton. I use clear pots with drainage holes on the bottom and I make sure there are drainage holes around the side about 1 inch up (I drill these). I then have each pot in a separate clear plastic saucer so that when I water (I use a pump sprayer so that I don't have to take everything to the sink or make a mess on the trays) I just fill each pot until the level rises to the top of the saucer. With this method I don't have to worry about what floats or doesn't float. The fertigate solution is going down and out into the saucer. I have the extra holes because I got convinced that it is very important for good aeration into the pot and it is better for me to water a little more frequently but have good air around the roots.

Oh interesting.. so you just use regular pots that have holes at the bottom and sit them in saucers and water the saucers??? Yeah I'm kinda lazy and cheap to buy pots and then poke the holes 2inches above the bottom to create a reservoir at the bottom. If i can still utilize regular pots.. that would be great.. cause most of mine sit on top of petri dishes (as opposed to saucers).
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Unread 05-01-2008, 04:25 PM
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I am using clear pots because I want to see root action and how much algae is growing. Most are 6 inch size. If they don't have generous holes on the bottom I drill more. I then drill the holes around the pot at about a 1 inch height. They then sit in about 1 inch of solution. I don't let the solution get down below 1/2 inch before watering from the top. I think this prevents anything from getting too dry but the excellent drainage prevents overwatering. With this method I can't water once a week and come back a week later. I am adding solution about every couple of days. I think Ray has argued strongly for the importance of good air supply to the roots and yet we want good moisture/food as well. I am trying to get the best of both. Still no deaths in any plants for me and everything seems to be growing. I think I am still figuring out the best way to control algae.
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  #9  
Unread 05-02-2008, 01:38 AM
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Orchidjunky, I started with primeagra to start off repotting my 'chids'. I used a kit from First Ray's Orchids. I liked it so well I went to a local cash and carry like united grocers and picked up 25 32oz. clear plastic containers that they use for take out. I put 2 holes 1inch from the bottom of the container. I did switch over to Hydroton as I could find it near my home at a Hydrophonic store and it was much cheaper without the shipping charges. Gotta save a buck or two nowadays . All my orchids are in Hydroton or Primeagra and they are growing like crazy new growth on every plant. The 'chids' in the orchidarium are growing much faster then those on my plant stand. It works for me and I like what I can see through the clear pots.

Hope this helps....

TTFN - Sheridan

Last edited by Ranchnanny; 05-02-2008 at 01:54 AM.. Reason: had to rewrite a sentence
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  #10  
Unread 05-02-2008, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranchnanny View Post
Orchidjunky, I started with primeagra to start off repotting my 'chids'. I used a kit from First Ray's Orchids. I liked it so well I went to a local cash and carry like united grocers and picked up 25 32oz. clear plastic containers that they use for take out. I put 2 holes 1inch from the bottom of the container. I did switch over to Hydroton as I could find it near my home at a Hydrophonic store and it was much cheaper without the shipping charges. Gotta save a buck or two nowadays . All my orchids are in Hydroton or Primeagra and they are growing like crazy new growth on every plant. The 'chids' in the orchidarium are growing much faster then those on my plant stand. It works for me and I like what I can see through the clear pots.

Hope this helps....

TTFN - Sheridan

Does your hydroton float like alifor?
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