Capillary experiment

korina(9b, Sunset 17)August 2, 2005

I was walking through the dollar store when I noticed a bag of six of those green scrubbies; my brain exploded into a realization that those would make *great* capillary matting! Well, I think so, anyway.

So I'm trying a small experiment to see how well they work. I have three C. tamiana seedlings in an ice cube tray; we'll see how it goes.

Keep your fingers crossed.


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Sounds like a good idea, keep us posted.

Can I use this method of capillary matting when starting leaves? Or will it keep them too wet?


    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 8:15AM
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korina(9b, Sunset 17)

Cork, much too wet. Evidently leaves need a surprisingly small amount of water; barely damp.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 11:54AM
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korina(9b, Sunset 17)

Well, the experiment seems to be a qualified success. I've expanded it to a tray of AVs and Sinningias; aside from one ocassionally going dry, it seems to work. I don't have to water as often, and it doesn't raise the plants as close to the lights as a reservoir would (I have them on a short wire shelf). I'll keep monitoring and see how they go.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 12:54PM
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Hi Korina. I'm not necessarily new at AV's, I've had them since my mother started me one when I first moved out on my own more than 20 years ago. Over the years I've had success and failure. I do not do the wicking method. But how does this capillary mat work? Are you setting the potted AV directly on this mat, and is there a length of yarn still going from the pot to the mat?

My mom gave me 3 leaves of a supermarket noid miniature that is so cute, mentioning they are hard to root so maybe I'll have luck with 3 leaves. Well...all 3 rooted and produced about 3 babies each, after taking the children off of one leaf I could see a teeny tiny bud so I stuck back in fresh soil and now it has two more. They are potted in little plastic shotglass cups, and a couple are in the lids to my hair mousse products (perfect containers, only 1" wide by 1 1/4" tall and semi see through). No wicking, so far so good with the watering, but now I wonder about this mat procedure, if you could share me more details I would appreciate it.



    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 11:01AM
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hi korina, could you explain alittle more about the scrubbies, what they look like? thanx donnaviola

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 2:20PM
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Donna, the original post where Korina describes these sponges is 2 years old. However, I imagine she's talking about those plain, very thin green scrubber sponges. She might pipe up about whether the experiment worked or not, as I've seen her around a little lately...

Many folks use cheap acrylic or fleece blanket - think car padding or cheap baby blankets from the dollar stores for mat watering. Some people do put wicks in to ensure that there is contact and that water does get transferred into the pot.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 2:40PM
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I had trouble growing mini's because of their need for water and my lack for providing it. Then I discovered wicking with the yarn and also the mat watering and I'm really enjoying the mini's now. They bloom so much more often when they aren't drying out all the time, ha!. I find the ones I forget to put a yarn wick in don't do as well on the mat as the ones that have one.

Actually the scrub pads probably work pretty well, as some of the capillary matting I have seen is actually course like the scrubbies.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 9:19AM
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korina(9b, Sunset 17)

Hi, all. Wow, this *is* an oldie.

Bubbledragon (love the name!) is right; they're just thin scrub pads that hold *tons* of water. I got them because they're cheap -- I would've loved to use a velour blanket, but I couldn't find one in my price range (free).

Yes, it did work; I put in a short wick (acrylic yarn) just to ensure contact. The nice part was I could throw the scrubbies into a dishwasher when they got icky, or just toss them when they got really bad.

A couple of things to remember when using this technique; you need a light soil mix (1:1:1, or even an extra part of perlite), and don't pack the mix into the pot. Just spoon it in the pot and tap the sides to settle it around the roots. A good watering will fill in any gaps and activate the wick.

Good luck and let me know if you need anything else.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 4:13PM
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