The answer to having the benefits, pleasures and health advantages of fresh interior plants, working in your business and home, without the time consuming worry of not knowing how often to water and feed them – the 21st century answer to “Convenience Plants”
Just add water!
Hyroculture is the name given to the method of cultivating plants without the use of soil. A Hygienic method, using sterile expanded clay pebbles that replaces the traditional soil. These pebbles retain high levels of water. Feed is dissolved and slowly released in the water, giving the plants their necessary goodness. The roots draw their food from the water and grip the clay pebbles giving plant support. A water level indicator is set at the base giving a constant visual reading.
This method was discovered over 300 years ago by an English Botanist John Wood, Hydroculture is enjoying an increase in popularity.
Consider these benefits and you will understand why:
Watering and feeding chores kept to a minimum – no guesswork.
You can go away on holiday knowing your plants will be happy.
Saves you time to attend to your business or other commitments.
Good clean fun, with the emphasis on “clean” – no messy potting or repotting.
Plant growth is lush and rapid; in fact plants grow larger and healthier.
Soil borne diseases or pests cannot effect the plants.
The plants are also more resilient to air borne pest such as black fly, red spider mite, etc. This makes Hydroponic plants ideal for hospitals, restaurants/cafes, hotel environments and other locations where hygiene is paramount.
Enhance and create a professional, welcoming and relaxed environment.
and remember that poorly kept displays reflect badly on image and credibility.
Observations of comparable soil and Hydroculture plants confirm that Hydroculture plants maintain a greater uniformity of moisture throughout the root system thus avoiding the wet/dry cycle that can occur in maintaining soil plants.
This factor in conjunction with a unique specialised fertiliser leads to healthier plants, exhibiting a greater tolerance for lower light conditions, increased resistance to insect and decease attack, with consequent savings on maintenance and replacement plants.
This dose not mean we are creating bionic plants. It basically comes back to the principle of using the most effective method of growing and maintaining healthy plants.
In a multi plant arrangement, all the plants in their respective culture pots are on the same level i.e. they sit on the base of the container to ensure uniform watering throughout. It is worth noting that very large Hydroculture plants have comparably smaller root ball containment – with obvious advantages.
There are five factors that affect plant growth – water, nutrients, air, temperature and light, growth being limited by the factor least correctly supplied.
The following in turn as they relate to the Hydroculture systems.
Hydroculture is a unique system of soil-less plant growth employing sterile and chemically neutral clay pebbles for plant support and an accurate water level indicator for the monitoring of existing moisture in the base of the container that is available to the root mass. Water is the carrier of nutrients and enables plant cells to swell. The system makes ample water available for long periods. The risk of over or under watering is eliminated. Growing plants in this manner relieves plants of growing stresses.
The clay pebbles draw the water containing the nutrients up to the roots through capillary action. Although it is unavoidable that in some cases odd roots will extend to the lowest level where water exists; however, the majority of roots only receive water drawn up by capillary action.
A good Hydroculture system eliminates the guesswork in determining plant moisture needs. Because the water level indicators are easily seen with accuracy, a quick glance will tell you of the plant’s water needs. Therefore, a walk through any Hydroculture projects can quickly establish the moisture needs of the entire scheme.
With the water requirement needs answered by a simple gauge, the week to week survival of the plant is no longer dependent on the experiences of the maintenance staff. Therefore inexperienced staff can be responsible for the watering requirements of any Hydroculture product. In conjunction with this, because water is only added to the system when the reservoir is empty, Hydroculture plants require watering far less frequently than comparable soil plants. Therefore this allows more time to be allocated to other necessary duties of routine plant maintenance. Water is poured directly on the clay pebbles, commonly known as “Leca”.
Air spaces between the pebbles provide maximum root aeration: in addition the medium does not become compact, as can possibly occur with soil systems. The stable structure of the Leca clay pebbles guarantees the penetration of air right to the lower levels.
Thus the optimum ratio of air water creates the ideal growing conditions for healthier plants.
Plants do not require soil per se, but rather need the nutrients that the soil contains. The clay pebbles that provide the support for the plants have been especially developed for Hydroculture. Leca is odourless, low in salts and available in various sizes – from 16mm diameter down to a crushed grade, that is mainly used for cultivating cuttings. If spilt on any surface, Leca is easy to clean up and leaves no mess or stains.
The Hydroponic system allows for controlled nutrient input as the plant takes up nutrients only in liquid form. The use of long term ion exchange nutrient, which carries a trade name “Blusana Lewatit HDS” and makes over-fertilisation impossible. The fertiliser is synthetic; resin based ion exchange fertiliser containing a balanced blend of all necessary nutrients and has been developed specifically for the maintenance of interior plants that are watered from normal drinking supplies.
The feed contains the correct quantities of the large proportioned elements (macronutrients):
Nitrogen as nitrate nitrogen and ammonium, nitrogen, phosphorous as phosphate, and potassium
As well as the following micronutrients:
Ion, manganese, copper, zinc, boron andmolybdenum.
Deficiency in any number of the above can cause plant problems. For instance deficiency of calcium, magnesium or iron can cause yellowing of leaves, as can excessive chloride levels.
Nutrients are exchanged chemically from the resin jointly, by the salts which are present in the water, and by the metabolism by-products that are secreted by the roots. The water supplied (normally tap water) automatically supplies sufficient quantities of calcium, magnesium and sulphur in the form of natural salts. The harmful salts that could build up in the system are removed by the resin and simultaneously release the nutrients into the water.
Fertiliser need only be added every six months and is simply sprinkled on the top of the clay pebbles before being flushed into the container with ordinary tap water – this would be done to coincide with the normal watering schedule.
As the plant depletes the reserve of nutrients from the water, the fertiliser beads release fresh nutrients to maintain a uniform concentration in the water reservoir. The interaction between the plant and the fertiliser produces a steady flow of nutrients which the plant it’s self regulates according to its needs. It is therefore impossible to overfeed and it allows plants requiring different nutrient levels to be planted together in the same container.
The release of the nutrients into the water is initially achieved by the exchanged of salts. Problems can occur in a soft water area. If this is the case, an activator in tablet form can be added to the water in order to increase the level of calcium salts. A local water sample should be analysed and a conductivity value attained in order to ascertain whether additional calcium salt will be required to ensure activation of the fertiliser.
The two final factors, that are just as important to either system, are ambient temperature and available light; however, when considering like for like plants Hydroponic plants tend to tolerate slightly lower light levels.