water-drip for neoregelia and aechmea

petrushkaOctober 31, 2013

has anybody tried to set up auto water drip to keep fresh water in the funnel?
i am planning to set up a drip-bottle like they use for vivariums: from what i researched so far i can set up a drip as slow as 1 drop in 2 min. this can be halved by using a Y splitter.
so i calculated that in 3 days this can deliver about 100ml of water per drip (about 7tb) or with a splitter 50ml each for 2 ( about 3tb).
i have single blooming neoregelia carolinae and aschmea fasciata clump with 3 big plants. they both need water in the funnels. both are mature plants planted in 6" pots grown totally indoors in west windows.
the temps will be 60F nite - 65F day. i need smth for 6 weeks unattended.
but i am concerned that at lower temps even that little water might be too much?
alternatively, i could tent them with plastic for terrarium like set-up and not water at all. can they tolerate no water in the funnel? and for how long?
or put a wet wick on top of soil with other end in the water reservoir - to deliver some minimal moisture inside the 'terrarium' enclosure. obviously in the tent the temps will be a few degrees higher and the wick will raise the humidity too.

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY water drip-bottle set-up

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Any watering system you choose will have to adjusted based on temperatures and air flow. With my micro-systems I adjust the timer as needed. Winter its off and I manually turn on the system when needed. Our winters are very mild and its not unusual for temps to hit 85F one day and then drop to 70F the next. Over watering in winter is a killer. What ever you use keep good air flow or you get mold, fungus and other problems you don't want.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 1:38AM
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I would give the growing medium a good soaking, fill the tanks with water and leave them at that. Better they dry out a little than be overwatered.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 7:18AM
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yah, i am kinda scared to leave it with a drip and go away.
i've had aechmea for sev years and i know it can go without water in the cup, but what about neoregelia carolinae?
my neo currently takes about 1/2 cup for all leaves+cup. that will proly evaporate in 7-10 days . so..what's going to happen if the cup is dry for 4 weeks? and temps are in low 60s? everywhere i look they say - keep the water in the cup always...surely it dries up sometimes outside? but then there is dew! which of course i don't have inside.
oh, my humidity is pretty good - never below 60%, often 70% even in winter.
may be pebble tray will help? with a drip-bottle adding moisture to pebbles slowly .. about 1 cup per week? if my tray is large enough it should evaporate sufficiently?
can this be a passable solution?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 9:52AM
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My neos under the trees rarely have water in them and do fine. Just give them a good soak again when you come home.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 11:48PM
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what i did was lay a thick wick on top of soil and drop the other end into a bottle. and left them for 2 mo in the western window - so in partial sun, very bright light.
they seem to have grown more, even without the water in the cup, especially aechmea. there is still a little water in the bottle left and the soil is moist. so this top-wicking seemed to work.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 6:43PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Thanks for the update, petrushka. Something to keep in mind. How big was the bottle of water?


    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 7:32PM
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Seems to me like a lot of trouble for just two plants. Remember more plants are lost from over-watering than under-watering.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 1:25AM
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well, drip is very easy to set up, but...i don't like to leave dripping water unattended. certainly not for 2 months!
problem was, my aechmea was growing like crazy and i did not want to dry it up! i am waiting for it to bloom - may be this year? it had a large 1.5qt bottle and used up about a 1qt in 2 months. it's 5yr old mum with 2 large pups.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 8:39AM
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neo i just got past summer, so i was kinda doting on it, it was still blooming when i left. it got a smaller 3cup bottle - used up about 2.5 cups.
i want to get more broms, but i had to verify that i can set up some watering when i am away.
just checked and found a tiny pup on neo - so watering paid off?

This post was edited by petrushka on Thu, Feb 6, 14 at 19:07

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 8:47AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Your plants look very good for being left alone for 2 months. I'd say your system works. Thanks for the details.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 7:06PM
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i just compared my pics taken 3 mo ago with current. one of the pups is tunneling - i read that is an indicator that it will bloom. i thought they bloomed july-oct.
the growth in 3 mo was tremendous: you could see the center 2 leaves: they both grew may be 5" in 3 mo?
the one on the right - half of the longer leaf is out of frame.
i did not think it was possible in winter!
could it be attributed to constant water supply (thru a wick?)? they were growing all summer very well too without the wick, but at higher temps - mid 70s.
last 3mo was 62F nite to 65F day on avg.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 12:28PM
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