Less Effort with Alternative Planting Systems
It can be a chore to keep your houseplants optimally watered all the time. Hydroponics and planters with clay granules or water reservoirs are options that can make it easier.
Hydroponic cultivation is perfect for all types of indoor spaces. Most plants don't necessarily need soil to grow: it serves more as a base to which they hold on for support. However, water, nutrients and air are absolutely essential. This means that plants will grow perfectly well in a hydroponic system, which solves the problem of frequent watering. You also don't have to find someone to take care of your houseplants while you're away on vacation. Let's look at the different types of systems that are available:
In hydroponic cultivation, plants grow without any soil medium. You can buy the plants as hydroponic plants or you can convert them yourself from soil to hydroponics (preferably in spring). Instead of soil, the plants take root on expanded clay balls and they feed on a nutrient solution. A water level indicator shows when it's time to refill. Hydroponics must be fertilised every two to four weeks with special hydroponic fertilisers because conventional ones contain too many nutrients and would damage the plants.
Planting with clay granules
In addition to classic hydroponics, there are also other similar options such as clay granules. The pieces of clay store water like a sponge. The plant is transferred with its root ball to a larger pot with clay granulate instead of soil. A third of the bottom is filled with clay granules, then the plant is placed in it and the edges are filled with the granules while the root ball is covered with a 2 cm thick layer of granules. A moisture meter is placed in the root ball and that's it. Water your plant with a quarter of the total volume of the pot when the moisture meter indicates it is too dry.
To successfully create a water reservoir in the bottom of a pot, you should use special planters that have a partition between the rooted soil and the bottom of the container that will serve as a water reservoir. Otherwise the roots will quickly suffer from waterlogging and the plant will die. The water reservoir at the bottom of the plater contains water that keeps the soil moist but does not allow waterlogging. To ensure that there is no waterlogging, you should put a drainage layer on the intermediate floor. (Gravel, expanded clay, or lava rock work well for this.) This layer should be one-fifth the height of the pot.
Which plants are suitable?
You can grow many types of indoor plants with the help of hydroponics or a planting system. However, there are some species that are especially well suited. Here are some examples:
- Chamaedorea elegans
- Sansevieria trifasciata
- Dracaena fragrans
- Epipremnum pinnatum
- Monstera deliciosa
- Anthurium scherzerianum hybrids
- Calathea rotundifolia
- Asplenium nidus
- Aeschynanthus radicans
- Phalaenopsis hybrids
- Schefflera arboricola
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