My semi-hydro succulents

unprofessional(5)October 31, 2013

Been about two-years, now. Haven't had the greatest luck with jades in this setup, but part of that is probably my overzealous attempts at putting them in weird, narrow pots, or trying to get them to root on a rock. They do well for about six months, then slowly fade. Tried some ferocactus, and they did fine, just didn't really grow. The aloes seem to do the best. The small one etiolated slowly until I brought it into my new office, where it's getting really nice sun. Other one has just been a trooper. The Crassola has had a few stems die off, but new ones shoot up, and a few of them just go crazy.

Two-years ago:

Yesterday (cell-phone pics; sorry):

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Nice collection!

What are those balls? I haven't seen them before.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 9:40AM
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those are lecca balls used in semi-hydro.
interesting - the one enclosed with a lid - looks like aloe juvenna? so it does not mind higher humidity?
i want to put my 4" unglazed clay pots on a wicking mat that i somehow will contrive to keep barely moist with a very slow water drip bottle. the idea being the clay pot will wick up the moisture and that should be sufficient during the winter temps of 60Fnite-65F day. but am still afraid it will be too much moisture. i got coir peat cut with a little cactus soil(black gold) and perlite in pots.
your post gives me hope that this should be OK.
i have hawortias/jades/aloes.
very little info about it so far.
i figure if yours are in semi-hydro permanently, the wicking mat should be ok at least for 1-2 months too.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 1:32PM
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Wow! Thanks for sharing! I grow Hoyas semi-hydro. I have mine growing in pots where what runs out except 1" from bottom. I've never seen anyone grow in these glass containers! I had no idea you could grow semi-hydro in these! Thank you!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 2:38PM
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The balls are leca, or normally found by the name brand of hydroton. Pot growers use them a lot.

I kept the lid on that aloe for over a year, and watered it once during that time. It was the epitome of low maintenance. I think breathable roots is much more important than low humidity to the actual plant.

The thing that I've noticed is the absolute death of this method is if any soil is left on the roots. It is what rots the plant. I use a seedling tray that wicks water up (through a material like quilt batting that sits in the reservoir) to coir, in order to start cuttings, but I wouldn't try it long term. Coir is nice because it's very easy to clean off roots.

A medium with a smaller radii might be a better choice for very small plant. I've had a lot of small hawarthia offsets not root in this setup, and I think it's because if it doesn't have deep roots, the first inch or two of media has too much air flow to wick water up that close to the surface. That's just theory.

By the by, not saying this is the best way to grow succulents, by any measure. Did it a bit as an experiment, but I do find it to be a pretty effective way of fighting the "when do I water" battle.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 4:59PM
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i have to say that i love plants, but better yet i love just sitting back and looking at them ;) - which is why i am trying to reduce watering to the minimum, using enclosures, wicks,etc. it's fine with me if they grow very slow - i've had most of them for years and expect to continue having them for another decade or two or more.
i tent my aloe juvennas and holiday cactus and rhipsalis all the time for rooting, got no problems. i'll put some in the enclosure for a couple of weeks as a try to see how they do.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 8:33PM
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If you close the lid, you are locking in the atmosphere. Which means the plants takes up most of the co2 and has no more to exchange/add to. Right? Atleast when I grow my aquatic plants emmersed, not only do I need humidity but an open top so they can breathe. I had them in a bowl with a closed lid and they grew very very slowly.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 9:05PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

It drives me a little nuts that this gets called semi hydro. It's just hydro plain and simple. There is nothing semi about it. Hydroponics is not defined by recirculating pumps but from where plant nutrients are delivered.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 11:06PM
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Seems like a silly thing to be bothered by. There are many methods of hydroponic growing systems, and the one normally defined by the use of capillary action to deliver water/nutrients to the roots is passive, or semi-hydroponic.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 7:24AM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

calling it semi hydro was started by one orchid guy and it propagated out among hobbyists from there. I have never seen any scientific literature refering to passive hydro as being semi anything. It is just not accurate. Silly? sure pet peeves usually are.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 11:05AM
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I'm a bit confused as to why one would want to grow succulents this way. Is the goal here to not have to water often? Do you prefer slow growth? Or is it just an experiment to see if you could? I'm honestly curious; I have a few orchids growing in leca, it's crazy how well they do in it. Clearly, your plants seem to be hanging in there, but they just don't look particularly happy, except maybe the Senecio.

This post was edited by Danielle317 on Fri, Nov 1, 13 at 11:45

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 11:44AM
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