1. What do you mean
2. What are the
advantages of growing my houseplants hydroponically?
3. I don't understand.
It seems like all that water would drown most houseplants. Exactly how
does it work?
4. Do Ferns like the
5. What happens if I
forget to change or add water to my planter and I leave it
"running on empty?"
1. What do you mean "hydroponic?"
Hydroponic gardening is a method of growing plants without soil.
Plants need the nutrients they get from soil … not the soil itself.
In hydroponics the nutrients are mixed with water and delivered to the
plant in just the right proportions. Plants thrive because you are
serving them the nutrients they need on a "silver platter."
People may be familiar with the
hydroponic exhibit at EPCOT Center. The famous Florida theme park
grows all its own produce and foliage hydroponically. People may not
be aware that the practice of hydroponics goes all the way back to the
Hanging Gardens of Babylon, or that a lot of the flowers they buy and
the produce they eat is grown hydroponically today. Hydroponics uses
about 1/3 of the water required for traditional gardening and crop
production methods. It's more environmentally friendly, since closed
hydroponic pot systems don't contribute to the problems created by the
run-off from fertilizers and other soil additives used by traditional
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2. What are the advantages of growing my
With the ARTESIAN DESIGNS
self-watering planters, there's no
guesswork. You don't have to wonder how much fertilizer to add, and
you can't overwater or underwater. You can go off and leave your
plants for a month at a time, and they'll be perfectly happy while
Fountain Planter: Just plant your plants in the perlite planting
medium (provided), mix ½ teaspoon of nutrients (also provided) with 2
gallons of tap water, and plug in the planter. The water and nutrients
bubble up through the perlite and drain back into the column
automatically. For the next three weeks to a month, you won't have to
do another thing. In about a month, simply change the water, and add
another ½ teaspoon of nutrients. That's it!
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3. I don't understand. It seems like all that water
would drown most houseplants. Exactly how does it work?
First, you want to be sure to carefully remove ALL soil from the roots
of the plants you plan to use. The perlite planting medium we provide
is crushed volcanic rock, and it is completely inert (it has no
nutrient value to the plant at all). All the nutrients the plants want
and need come from the ½ teaspoon of houseplant nutrients you add to
the water in the column. Perlite is porous, so the individual pebbles
will absorb some of the water. But unlike soil, perlite will not trap
water between the pebbles. As long as the roots are free to breathe,
they will not develop "root rot" which is what kills
over-watered houseplants. Since there is no soil in the system, there
is no chance for soil-borne mold, bacteria, or other soil-borne
diseases to attack plant roots either. Healthy roots take the water
and nutrients they need; the excess passes through the perlite, drains
back into the column through the bottom of the planter pot, and
continues to circulate.
Second (and this feature is unique with the ARTESIAN DESIGNS
Planter, a self watering planter or self watering pot), the water is
delivered to the planter pot via an "airlift" system. We use
a simple air pump, like those used to aerate aquariums, instead of
submersible water pumps. Air pumps are safer, use less energy, and are
much more dependable than submersible pumps. Even better, the water
and nutrient mix is freshly charged with air each time it bubbles up
through the standpipe, so your plants have a steady supply of oxygen
and other gases they need to survive and thrive.
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4. Do Ferns like the fountain planter?
Yes, they love it. The best way to plant a fern is to leave it in the
soil. First, some of the perlite down in the bottom of the planter pot
and plant your fern right on top of that. Fill in the rest of the pot
with potting mix. Use a 24-hour timer (see accessories or available at
local hardware store) set to turn on for a half hour per day. This
will water the plant daily, saturating the soil, but allowing any
excess to drain back into the reservoir to be used the next day. In
this setup use a weak water soluble plant food to feed the plant.
Ferns will thrive in this manner as long as they have good light and
are not in a hot or cold draft. The decorative column styling is perfect for
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5. What happens if I forget to change or add water
to my planter and I leave it "running on empty?"
Basically, nothing much. The airlift system will stop bringing water
to the planter pot once the water level drops as low as 2 quarts. This
keeps the system from delivering a highly concentrated nutrient
solution that could be bad for the plants. The pump will keep pumping,
but since it's just pumping air, it won't "burn out" like a
submersible pump will.
The perlite will stay moist for a few days to a week, depending on the
evaporative conditions. Your planter will signal you that it needs
water by replacing its usual pleasant gurgle with a
"bottom-of-the-soda" sucking sound.
If you want to extend the length of time between water changes to the
maximum, ARTESIAN DESIGNS offers an optional two-event timer that will
turn your planter on and off once or twice a day. A half-hour cycle
once or twice a day is sufficient maintenance for virtually any plant.
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