Where to buy Capillary Matting/Spreader Mat?

doug_e_fresh(ZONE 3)February 8, 2009

Hello everyone,

This may be the simpelist question someone has asked but I am having a hard time finding a online shop that is based in the USA that sells Capillary matting/Spreader mat. So far I find it in rolls of 25ft 50ft and 100 ft from hydroponic hobby shops in the UK but none in the USA unless you only want a small sheet. I and looking to try a small project that mimics Patrick Blanc's living wall idea for a vertical garden in my apartment. In a video it states him using polyamide felt but I as well as others cant seem to find this as a purchasable item anywhere. If your interested in the the video I watched you can use the optional link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Patrick Blanc: Vertical Garden interview in Paris

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doug_e_fresh(ZONE 3)

Yes the link from www.amhydro.com seems to be what I am looking for. As far as plants I am not decided maybe some ferns, flowers, and maybe if its possible strawberries. Basically following Patrick blanc's talk about only being able to use shallow root plants plants that would grow this way in the wild if the conditions were met. So I am more interested in getting the right setup then choosing plants to fit it. As for Burlap its water retention is not the greatest and it will rot which is something I don't want to deal with.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 9:29PM
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freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)

Before you spend your rent money on plants for this wall, throw up a post on the forum and tell us what you are planning on growing together.

The reason is; each plant grows within a certain range of EC and pH. That means what is good for one plant, may kill another.

When you first plant everything, it'll look great. A few days later, reality sets in and you could easily lose everything by simply having mixed the wrong combination of cultivars (types of plants).

Remember that song lyric, "Different Strokes For Different Folks"? It applies to plants as well!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 12:27AM
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doug_e_fresh(ZONE 3)

I am fully aware of plant incompatibilities when it comes to hydroponic growing. I guess I am not really set on anything and don't know what i will go for yet. I am more interested in getting the setup that will work with my budget and space allowances. After I got that part worked out I will research the proper plant types to use.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 1:30PM
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Interesting idea, that "lettuce curtain" you describe. How would you propose watering it?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 12:27PM
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freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)


Not sure if your comment is directed at me or not, but just the same, I have an article on my Web site (URL in my profile) called The Salad Wall. All that is, is a method for hanging 4" pots on PVC tubing, forming a "wall" of plants. I devised this method to allow apartment dwellers who have no room for a garden a way to have one anyway, using container growing. There's a picture of it in the Gallery section, if you want to take a look-see.

As for growing lettuce vertically on a mat; good luck! I grow it successfully in a horizontal 10 x 20 tray, but if I were to mount the mat vertically after the seeds germinate, I would think the weight of the plants would pull the plant out of its anchorage, which is merely a thin slab of burlap.

The material I recommended the initial poster on this thread is much like "Hollow-fill", the stuff they put into jackets and sleeping bags. It may offer more anchorage, being about 2" thick, but again, I think a 'lettuce wall' is still a little "ify".

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 1:07PM
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dragonfly_wings(Z8 - Central TX.)

Gardener's Supply now carries what they call "English Capillary Matting" that might be just the right size for an apartment-sized project (3-yard roll @ $15 - follow link below).
It doesn't say what it's made of, so don't know whether it's the same recycled polyamide fiber cloth that Patrick Blanc uses, but I'll bet it's good enough and affordable enough for the purposes of experimentation. I've also heard Blanc's irrigation cloth referred to as "synthetic felt", but again it is important to know what the actual materials are that make it.

If you purchase this or some other capillary matting, it could also serve a dual function as indoor seed propagation mats for growing the plants selected for the living wall, particularly if one has budgetary concerns and can't afford to purchase all the plants from a nursery.
There are also Accelerated Propagation Systems (APS)available for easy indoor propagation, as discussed here:


Sounds like a fun project. If you or anyone comes up with a supplier with larger quantities and sizes of the appropriate polyamide fiber matting materials (perhaps used for green roof installations or roof gardens as well?) then I hope you will share it with us all.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardener's Supply Capillary Matting

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 5:43PM
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Someone on here answered this very question some time back. The answer was to go to any shop that sells fabric. I took the advice and went to Joann Fabrics and bought wool felt. I bought the 20% wool, 80% rayon stuff as it was cheapest and still does the job. I use it for seedlings. It's not too expensive and it lasts a long time. Get the thicker stuff. The matting at that website in the above post might have something to deter rooting into the mat. I don't think it is intended for hydro as it appears to have a film of some sort on one side. If you get some, please let us know if that is the case. Cool video, by the way.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 7:22PM
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Good suggestions here, gives me some interesting ideas for stuff to do.

This is what I love most about hydroponics. The ingenuity.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 6:28PM
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I just returned from Paris and saw Patrick Blanc's vertical garden wall at the Musee de Quai Branly and it was amazing!!! I so want to try something similar on my house, but want to just try doing a small panel. I see that this was a discussion about a year ago and I'm wondering if anyone out there has attempted it. I'd love to hear. Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 5:07PM
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this is some great information! i live in colorado and i want to build a live wall in my apartment. Now that i have the material down and a good idea of how I'm going to structure the set up. I was wondering if anyone has some suggestions on plants?
I would prefer to use some edible plants that we could also use in the kitchen (not sure if thats possible). If anyone has some suggestions or could point me in the right direction i would greatly appreciate it!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 6:23PM
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I haven't tried it yet, but I plan on growing miniature varieties of lettuce. They can be grown at a 6" spacing.

I would think that when you take a plant out, root material would rip out into the fabric, so you'd only get one use out of the stuff. It would be easier to grow in strips of the capillary that are staggered in their planting.

I've seen capillary in coco coir and also a brand of white material called 'Sure to Grow.' Of course it's not cheap. It would be much more cost-effective to find a fabric or poly batting to use.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 12:05PM
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