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  #1  
Old 05-13-2021, 03:29 PM
Rhonda Svoboda Rhonda Svoboda is offline
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Default Self watering wicking pots

So my orchid obsession has led to many plants. I am finding myself running out of time to water. As a result, some of my moisture loving orchids are ending up bone dry, they're suffering.
So I am going to buy self-watering pots. There are a lot of products on the market to choose from and I am also on a budget.
So my 1st decision is potting medium. The medium should be water absorbent, right? so my usual mix (bark, fern, spaghman moss) should work. Or should I do Lyca? And is a wicking system best?
Is there a specific brand that's best?
Thanks!!
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  #2  
Old 05-13-2021, 04:41 PM
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My experience has been they don't work unless the medium is very fine, like potting soil. This is why I switched to semihydroponics for many plants.
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  #3  
Old 05-13-2021, 08:22 PM
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Cotton clothesline makes a great wicking material for whatever medium you wish to use. I used that for a wicking system for an indoor herb garden under lights.
This summer, I plan to try to loop cotton clothesline through all my pots (basket pots with red lava rock) and set up a wicking system to try to put a little extra moisture near the roots when the orchids are under lights during the cooler months. Should be a fun experiment. I was surprised at how well wicking with the herb garden worked.
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  #4  
Old 05-13-2021, 10:25 PM
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Self-watering wicking systems work through capillary action. With a chunky medium such as bark, even with the addition of sphagnum, there is probably not enough contact between pieces of the medium for proper capillary action. As ES states, unless the medium is very fine it doesn't work.
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Old 05-14-2021, 07:12 AM
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I have run across several people on Facebook who use a wick to supply water to LECA in a variant of s/h culture. I don’t know why they do that, as submerging the bottom of the LECA in the reservoir will wick better, because of the greater contact area.
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Old 05-14-2021, 09:37 AM
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Ninja Orchids is an entire channel dedicated to growing using the wicking method: ᑎIᑎᒎᗩ_ᗝᖇᑕᕼIᗪᔕ - YouTube
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Old 05-14-2021, 01:19 PM
Shadeflower Shadeflower is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray View Post
I don’t know why they do that, as submerging the bottom of the LECA in the reservoir will wick better, because of the greater contact area.
1) submerged lecca will wick too much in a humid environment.

2) the reservoir will be increased so less watering

3) Roots prefer not to be subermerged in water, S/h fills half the pot with water, self watering keeps the reservoir seperate

Those are the main reasons

but self watering grows less algae than s/h (ie the reservoir is easy to clean). S/h will grow lots of algae in the bottom that can't be cleaned

Last edited by Shadeflower; 05-14-2021 at 01:22 PM..
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Old 05-14-2021, 02:51 PM
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Most people here grow in S/H in 1 quart/liter containers. The two small holes are side by side, an inch / 2.5cm from the bottom of the container. There is only a shallow reservoir on the bottom.

When potting into S/H most people put plants into S/H, we put a layer of LECA in the bottom, deep enough to just cover the holes. That way the roots aren't into the reservoir layer unless new roots grow there on their own. Roots that grow into the reservoir are adapted to that environment so there are not rot problems.

Algae in the S/H container is generally a reflection of overfertilizing. Even when algal growth is present it doesn't cause problems for the plant, nor its roots.
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Old 05-14-2021, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isurus79 View Post
Ninja Orchids is an entire channel dedicated to growing using the wicking method: ᑎIᑎᒎᗩ_ᗝᖇᑕᕼIᗪᔕ - YouTube
The Orchid Room is another channel that uses the wicking method.

Orchids in Bloom and Orchid Updates | Night fragrances, Miltoniopsis, Cattleya and more! - YouTube
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  #10  
Old 05-15-2021, 06:37 AM
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Once again, someone who has stated he "doesn't do S/H", shares incorrect information.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadeflower View Post
1) submerged lecca will wick too much in a humid environment.
There is no such thing as "wicking too much".

Quote:
2) the reservoir will be increased so less watering
You can do that with any container.

Quote:
3) Roots prefer not to be subermerged in water, S/h fills half the pot with water, self watering keeps the reservoir seperate
Every plant I have ever put into S/H culture has grown its roots right down into the reservoir, where they stay healthy. I have never had a pot that was 50% reservoir.

Quote:
Those are the main reasons

but self watering grows less algae than s/h (ie the reservoir is easy to clean). S/h will grow lots of algae in the bottom that can't be cleaned
If the container is opaque, there will be no algae growth. I have cleaned translucent pots of algae and reused them
for decades.
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