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  #1  
Old 08-27-2021, 10:00 AM
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Mr.Fakename Mr.Fakename is offline
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Default How do you make an ICU for ailing plants?

Due to combined efforts of slugs and heat waves, I have to rehab several plants at once.
I don't have dead Sphagnum, and the plastic bag trick isn't gonna cut it for many orchids.

I grabbed a big transparent box with a lid, some live Sphagnum, and put orchids inside.
They've been given Kelpmax and probiotics.

Now, the problem is finding the adequate light levels, temperatures, and humidity for optimal recovery.

It gets steamy inside, and might be too humid, as some oedema symptoms showed up overnight.


What conditions should I aim for? How do y'all care for plants in bad health?
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  #2  
Old 08-27-2021, 10:22 AM
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Hey Mr Fakename, I have tried the storage container like yours. It works ok but I've since moved on to something that works better for me.
The storage container builds too much condensation on the sides for my liking. You can use a fan to deal with this but then you need heat, a fan, light, a timer and ideally a thermostat.

What I have moved on to since which was just supposed to be a temporary ICU provides so much better results.

So what I did was get a 60x40 polystyrene shipping box. Sometimes you can get them for free from places, sometimes you can get them second hand on ebay, new they are quite expensive but that is also an option.

I added some 10cm polystyrene slats around the top to raise the height (the tranport boxes are too low), then for a lid I used an offcut piece of polycarbonate roofing sheet.

Since it is insulated only a little bit of heat is needed and is not affected by temps outside the box as much so a thermostat is not needed, just an adjustable heat mat on a timer. I leave a bit of a gap for ventilation but since no condensation forms no fan is needed. But this is a judgement call, if it gets too cold and stagnant then a humid box will cause problems.

It was so simple to set up, just add a grow light over it but the plants have grown so well in this box it is far better than the storage tubs I used to use that got condensation forming every day.

Currently I have my bellina's in the box so day temps have been 26 C nights around 20. Once winter hits I'll have to adjust it a bit but with a timer the heat mat can be set to come on briefly during the night if it gets too cold and the insulated box retains the heat for a good hour.
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Old 08-27-2021, 10:35 AM
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you can just place a cover on the top and open it more or less to dial in the conditions...the idea above is a good one too
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Old 08-27-2021, 12:46 PM
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I have plenty of natural light. For a while I kept my eyes open for second-hand aquaria. I had glass cut at the hardware store to make a lid. I raise the lid for more air circulation. They could also be used with lights. And aquaria come in many sizes.

I use the foam boxes for sprouting seeds in winter, so I don't need light. I put a foam cup of boiling water in there at night and secure the lid to keep the interior warm. Extra-heavy foam boxes are used for shipping some medical supplies frozen on dry ice (CO2 ice.) They are thrown away. If you know anybody who works in a surgical suite, a plastic surgeon's office, or a physician's office where BoTox or fillers are administered, you can ask them to save you one. I suggest you leave it in the outer cardboard shipping box for extra strength.
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Old 08-27-2021, 05:17 PM
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I built a box out of foam insulation panels, on top of a plastic tray base. All held together with duct tape.

Inside were LED lights, fans and a Mist King system. The bottom was seedling heat mats covered by perforated mats.

1) Very high humidity
2) Quite warm

Worked like a charm.
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Old 08-28-2021, 12:22 PM
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Very solid suggestions, thanks guys. I will keep an eye out for a good insulated box, thankfully heat mat and LEDs are already acquired.
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Old 08-28-2021, 02:14 PM
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I have my ICU plants in a plastic tent (had no plastic container on hand). In the tent is a tray of leca that I keep wet. ICU is in a corner of the livingroom, in a rather dim spot. I don't have any problems at all with condensation, rot, odema... In the spring I had sent you photos of the crazy root growth on my ICU plants.
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Old 08-29-2021, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Fakename View Post
Very solid suggestions, thanks guys. I will keep an eye out for a good insulated box, thankfully heat mat and LEDs are already acquired.
Worth having a look/asking at your fruit & vegetable shop. Our broccoli arrives packed in strong polystyrene boxes.
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Old 08-30-2021, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Fakename View Post
Very solid suggestions, thanks guys. I will keep an eye out for a good insulated box, thankfully heat mat and LEDs are already acquired.
It is very easy to make one out of foam sheeting and duct tape.
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