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share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

Posted by greentoe357 7b NYC under lights (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 4, 14 at 3:41

I posted to the "Growing under Lights" forum yesterday (http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/lights/msg0415562015139.html), but the light setup is largely and increasingly for hoyas, so I thought you guys here would surely have useful ideas and things in mind I haven't thought of.

So, check that post out, please, reply if you would, and here's some follow-up to it.

Do you prefer trays or individual saucers under your plants? If trays, what kinds of trays? I think Perma Nest trays are overpriced at ~$8 a pop. Anybody use these $2.30 trays: http://www.amazon.com/Plant-Growing-Trays-Drain-Holes/dp/B0058PTK6M ? Just how bad are they? Black color sort of makes me depressed, although it may show less dirt. Any other ideas for trays? They need to have deep ridges on the bottom, so that the effluent stays under the pot and provides extra humidity.

I am kind of proud of my own solution to the problem of "too many small pots", pictured below. That metal pot is conveniently about as deep as the shelf and fits 9 hoya cups inside. The space inside the big pot in-between the 9 cups is also filled with the mix, to provide some extra local humidity, to not allow the cups to dry out too fast and to hold them in place more reliably. The cups are all doubled, so that each inner cup can be lifted out, roots examined and the plant either placed back, or repotted into a bigger disposable clear cup - and into a similar communal pot with larger cups as placeholders for larger root systems.

I find it very convenient. There is no knocking over small top-heavy pots - this is very stable and not top-heavy at all. Watering is easier than on saucers or maybe even a tray - just a continuous flow of water side to side in the whole communal pot - everything needs to get wet, not just the mix inside the cups but also the mix in-between the hoyas. It's very space-saving because the cups are all held closely together and reliably in place. Access is easy - I water in place, actually, but when I want to examine the plants, pulling the pot out is easier than putzing around with individual pots in trays or on saucers. Another advantage is trellising: in small individual pots both ends of the loop need to end up in the same small pot, which creates sharp bends in the vines, but here I can bend the trellis wire and insert it into the opposite end of the metal pot - then that particular plant can sort of roam by all of its roommates there. This is very space-efficient.

The one thing I have not quite figured out yet what to do about is drainage: the metal pot has a drainage hole on one side of it, and the water simply flows down into the rooting/ICU container underneath. :-) Not horrible because my mix does not get water-logged, but not optimal either in case plants underneath need to be dryer for some reason.

Anyway... What are your ideas for indoors under lights setups?

A related question is how to make watering faster, easier and more efficient with indoor shelving setups like these. I try to avoid watering in the sink as much as I can these days. It's REALLY time consuming: the sink is small, and the carrying back and forth, the watering twice (that's how I do it, for better mix penetration) with a wait in-between, the waiting for it to drain - I just have no patience for this.

So, I water in place instead. Some shallow saucers overflowing is inevitable, and at those times these vertically organized wire shelves are great - the overflow may hit a plant underneath (great!), and if not, there are those rooting containers again to the rescue! Even if it goes on the tile floor, I am not making a mess under every window, but rather in one very localized place easy to mop up. (I rarely do though - it's not that bad and just dries up.)

So... How do you water indoor setups to save time, to do it well and to enjoy it?

Finally (yeah, this message needs more writing! lol), misting! I just got a pressure sprayer and have been experimenting with it, and I really like it. Do you guys spray water indoors for humidity? I always find it makes a dripping mess everywhere. If I do it say once or twice every day during the heating season, how damaging is it to things like windows, sills, wooden floors, sheetrock walls, paint, molding etc.?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

I generally avoid trays because I've had root mealies before, so I don't water in the same tray or anywhere near each other now.

As for my lighting setup, it's honestly very simple. I have two reflector hoods with one grow light on each shelf of plants. It's that simple. 90% of my plants are putting out new growth and leaves....just from one grow light per shelf. You see, Hoyas want to grow, so if you give them a bright enough light, they will. You don't need a crazy amount of lights.

Now if H. bhutanica would only grow...


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RE: share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

Oh, and I 've read elsewhere that misting plants is optional. It only provides humidity for, what? 5 minutes after you spray. You may want to provide a pebble tray then and replace the water every now and then.


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RE: share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

RE: TRAYS

I have some of the $2.30 trays - I got them from Chula. The ridges are deep enough to allow drainage, so that's fine, but they are much much much much much lighter weight plastic than Perma Nest. I actually ordered a couple of them because I specifically wanted to see how they compared to Perma Nest, because I too have questioned that price. Well, there is no comparison. If you're going to have 18 Hoyas in a flat, and you plan on moving them on and off the shelf as a group (and why wouldn't you?) it has to be Perma Nest or something equally heavy duty. OR these have to be paired with a sturdier bottom tray, which defeats the purpose of the price point. Even if you didn't end up cracking the plastic on the $2.30 tray while using it (which you definitely would), the increased flexibility would give you less control over the plants, and it's hard enough moving a bunch of top-heavy, twining-onto-the-wrong-things, vining plants without a flat you can't trust. My feeling is, invest in the Perma Nest - they are practically indestructible and will last forever.

Now, I did also buy a couple of Chula's JMC1020S, which is much sturdier plastic. It's weaker than Perma Nest, but definitely sturdy enough to move a bunch of Hoyas around, and stand the test of time. Of course, it has holes, so it doesn't help you, but I just thought I'd mention it since we're on the topic of flats I've tried out.

Now, my most recent improvement on Perma Nest is the wonderful I-can't-live-without-you EJP35PC. I've got one of these nested inside each of my Perma Nests and it provides just that little bit of extra stability to keep Hoyas from tipping over when I move their flat off the shelf to water them. Now, I probably still wouldn't do a pirouette while holding a flat, but I went from having a plant tip over 1-2x per watering all the plants to having a plant tip over 1 out of 10 watering sessions. So there is a lot less frustrated shrieking to be heard at my place.

The other tray that I ordered from Chula that I now can't live without is the TRPTGAL. Oh how I love you TRPTGAL. Sometimes I think people should grow Orchids just so they can find out about all the cool toys tools Orchid vendors sell. Boy are Orchid people spoiled.

RE: YOUR METAL TRAY

That tray and setup is so nice - very ingenious with the double-cups. I bet the soil filler helps keep the whole structure more stable, too. I can see how it would help keep things moist, but on the other hand, does it decrease air flow?

I have a mixture of standard size and mini Perma Nest trays to fully utilize my shelf space, but I should have just gone to the Salvation Army, etc, and checked out the prices on old aluminum brownie pans. (Although then they wouldn't have matched and I'm super anal-retentive like that (aaaahh). I do have a bunch of old rimmed baking sheets I salvaged from an old farm house, that I used as plant trays for a long time, and they worked fantastic, but they're better for shorter plants like violets, versus tall Hoyas, because the rim doesn't offer much tippage support.

As far as drainage goes lol I hear your pain. I have certain plants that I am constantly putting off fixing their drainage problem (aka - they overflow onto whatever is below, which is not so good for many reasons (lack of control, spread of disease, splash, etc). I guess I would probably either plug up the hole and use some way to elevate the plants slightly (like a layer of hydroton?) orrrr get a cup and be prepared to stand there. Honestly, this is always my lowest fix-priority, which is why it keeps going on and on.

RE: WATERING

I do not water in place anymore, except the plants in big pots that stand behind my trays. This is why. I have a lot of plants, and watering is the only time that I really look at them individually up close. What I do is I take each flat out, set it on a nearby table, and carefully examine the plants to make sure (1) they are all in need of watering (2) there are no pests (3) they all look healthy. I usually spray them with either soap water solution or VF-11 at this point, before putting them back on the shelf.

During the warm season, I take the trays and I put them in the shower and give them a good overhead drench every couple of months. This takes FOREVER, but I think the plants genuinely like it, and it makes sure they are good and flushed.

Now, when I had fewer plants, all this rigamarole was unnecessary because when you have fewer plants, you usually notice everything without needing a ritual to make sure everyone is observed. So, I'm not recommending my routine to others. I'm just saying that the times that I had pest problems flair up without me noticing it early on, were times when I got lazy and watered the flats on the shelf.

I also find that overflow isn't a huge issue. It's usually always in the same places, so you just need a system for getting it wiped up afterward.

RE: SPRAYING

I haven't felt the need to raise the humidity level through spraying, and I think the findings are that the boost it gives is very short-lived. I rely mostly on grouping my plants to increase humidity. That said, I used to spray my plants once a day and never had any problems with it damaging the walls, woodworking, or floors. It does get everything wet, but it evaporates quickly. That said, I'm not using a pressure sprayer - just a spray bottle.


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RE: share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

I am catching up on my forum posting, sorry about late reply. A new T5 fixture, rearranging and repotting some plants, propagation - spring got in the way. :-)

> I generally avoid trays because I've had root mealies before, so I don't water in the same tray or anywhere near each other now.

My plants touch, so unfortunately no matter how I water, bugs will have other ways to travel. Gotta watch them like a hawk then, I guess.

> Oh, and I 've read elsewhere that misting plants is optional. It only provides humidity for, what? 5 minutes after you spray. You may want to provide a pebble tray then and replace the water every now and then.

Goddess (and GG), I've read that too. I didn't use to be a fan of misting because I sort of agreed, but I am exploring the possibility and have actually been doing it lately. Two things changed: (1) I got a pump sprayer that can easily and relatively quickly mist 4.5 pints of water onto the plants, and (2) I am exploring foliar feeds for my plants - then two birds can be killed with one stone.

But I agree that trays and to a higher degree grouping plants can help raise humidity way more and for way longer.

GG, got you - looks like I need to splurge for Perma Nest trays. Doug in Vermont also recommends them despite the cost.

I checked out the rest of the Chula items you mentioned - interesting. Good to know which ones you fine useful.

> RE: YOUR METAL TRAY
That tray and setup is so nice - very ingenious with the double-cups. I bet the soil filler helps keep the whole structure more stable, too.

Thanks, and yeah, absolutely - that mix filler is not just there for humidity, but also to make the whole structure more stable. That metal pot is ok, but some other of my communal pots do need the soil filler, otherwise the little pots will be toppling over constantly.

> I can see how it would help keep things moist, but on the other hand, does it decrease air flow?

Well, I think that's a function of how well-leafed-out the hoyas are. That metal pot is my first communal one, so it happens to have best-rooted most-grown-up (but still communal) hoyas in there. These two, for example, have more air flow among the leaves because these hoyas are simply smaller:
communal pots

But you gave me an idea: I should switch some of the more grown-ups from the metal pot and those a bit less leafed-out in these two - then air flow will be better.

> I do not water in place anymore, except the plants in big pots that stand behind my trays. I have a lot of plants, and watering is the only time that I really look at them individually up close.

Makes sense. Watering is also a time to enjoy the plants, which is why we grow them in the first place, right? I think "compromise" is the operative word here. When I'm in a hurry, I'll water in place quickly (and that means 20-30 min, the absolute quickest I can water all my plants.) Then I'll enjoy and examine them at another watering. I water every ~4 days or so.

> I usually spray them with either soap water solution or VF-11

At every watering? That's a lot of spraying, no?

> During the warm season, I take the trays and I put them in the shower and give them a good overhead drench every couple of months. This takes FOREVER, but I think the plants genuinely like it.

I also noticed how the plants just perk up after those showers. I do it in the winter as well. Growing indoors under lights, many plants were growing, and all were accumulating dust, so I hope all benefited.

> I'm not using a pressure sprayer - just a spray bottle.

Ooh, GG, I highly recommend it now. So much easier and faster to spray, it's amazing. Here's a recent thread were people gave me some good advice: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/houseplt/msg0315005223081.html.

I also bought a good manual sprayer for smaller doses or for something simple, or for a different solution than what's in the big bottle - but I do love that pressure sprayer.


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RE: share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

I've received my Perma Nest trays, and playing with them gave me a bunch of follow-up thoughts, impressions and questions in my mind.

GG, why did you get Chula's JMC1020S? It's a tray with holes in the bottom, and you grow indoors. Are the pots sitting in a nesting tray, which sits in this tray with holes, which gets lifted out of the Perma Nest tray in order to drain the effluent?

Also, how do you keep pots above the drainage water? Draining the Perma Nest every time you water? I'd like to have some water in there, hopefully slightly more than can evaporate between waterings, in order to provide humidity in the winter and evaporative cooling in the summer. Do you use egg crates then? Lighting diffuser grates from a home improvement store? (I like this idea 'cause they are cheap, can be cut to size and seem to do the job just fine.) Pebbles are heavy and not level - maybe a layer of orchid bark or hydroton in the tray? I think having a nice tall lip at the bottoms of pots we use would be nice, but it raises center of gravity, so pots become easier to topple. And I see no small square pots with a significant lip available at Chula anyway.

My communal pots were great on saucers but do not work on trays at all, I quickly realized. Try fitting large round pots onto a narrow rectangular tray - you get A LOT of wasted space. And the little tall cups are ridiculously unstable when they just stand on their own.

So, looks like square pots are what I also need. Do you ever use the 2.25 inch sized ones, or do you root straight into the 3.25/3.50 ones? Sounds like the latter, from the trays you referenced. The difference in space is exactly double - 36 smaller pots fitting into a tray vs. 18 bigger ones when they stand directly on the Perma Nest - or 32 and 18 respectively if you use nestling trays. Double is a significant difference. 2.25 is TINY, possibly TOO tiny with my very fast draining mix, but I see Joni uses them, for example.

So, to summarize my long-winded post, GG and anybody else with an indoors shelf setup: what exactly stands between your shelves and the plants, layer by layer?

GG. you also mentioned TRPTGAL, the nestling tray for 6 x 6.5-inch round pots. Does that mean that when hoyas graduate from the 3.25/3.5 inch square pots, they go to live into 6.5 inch round ones?

Phew! Thanks.


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RE: share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

I'll check out the pressure sprayer - thanks for the link. :)

Re: JMC1020S

I actually just got a couple of these for when I shower my Hoyas, so I can carry a group of them into the shower and the tray won't fill up with water and it catches the large pieces of sediment that get swept out. Before, I had to carry them in the Permanest and it would fill up and I'd have to try and tip it out with the plants still in it, and it was a whole big pita. I could probably do this just with the EJP35PC's, but I was shipping some other trays at the same time and got these for the added stability and just to have in my arsenal.

Re: setup components & drainage plan

So, here are my layers:

1) Bottom Tray: Permanest
2) Egg crating*
3) Stability Insert: EJP35PC
4) Pots: 3.25" Clear Plastic Orchid Pot w/UV inhibitor

* Yes, I use lighting diffusor. I think Denise is the one who explained somewhere to cut it with a screwdriver and a hammer - awesome method!!!! I actually look forward to this job, as does my cat, who chases the flying pieces.

The orchid pots have little feet, so between those and Permanest's drainage rills, and the crating and the EJP35PC, my plants aren't sitting in the excess water, although I do like to leave a small amount in there, just like you say, to temporarily elevate humidity as it evaporates. If I water heavily and the level rises too high, I just lift out the EJP35PC+plants and dump the excess out of the Permanest. But that rarely happens unless I've really allowed a flat to go dry.

Re: Square pots

YES! You have to get square pots because square pots are sooo much cuter!
That is my totally unbiased opinion. lol...

Idk, I like square pots. They work really well for maximizing your space, the plastic is typically sturdier, and they are designed for orchids so they provide better air flow to the roots, which is something Hoyas benefit from too.

I do use both 3.25 and 2.25 pots. I also doubted whether the 2.25 pots would be useful, but I actually find them great for rooting. A lot of cuttings are really more appropriately sized for these little pots and they do great in them.

What I tend to do is have one of those half-width Permanest trays on every shelf, and I put new Hoyas, in the 2.25 pots, in them. Then all my babies are together, in the right-sized pot, and I can check on them more frequently than the bigger plants. I will also put plants (even in 3.25 pots) in these half-trays, if they need extra care/observation. So, they're kind of hospital pens. The 2.25 pots are SUPER tippy, so I wouldn't fill up a whole full-sized Permanest tray with them or you'd have a disaster on your hands when you tried to move it. But the half-flats are small enough to stay in control of, so the combination works well.

Before I started using the EJP35PC I occasionally put a row of 2.25s at the end of some trays, because there's just enough space for a 2.25 row after the 3.25s have filled up the rest of the flat. Wow, you can really tell I have space constraints, can't you? :P

Of course, some cuttings are clearly too big for a 2.25 pot. Or, if someone gives me multiple cuttings of a plant, like you did, then I start them in a 3.25. Btw, I do have rooting aquariums that I use in fall and winter, but in spring and summer I don't usually worry about extra humidity, unless they are very dehydrated or thin leafed. I just make sure they don't get too dry and let them sit with the other plants. I need to do another trade soon, so I can do a photo-document post of my favorite rooting methods.

Re: TRPTGAL

I actually keep this at work and use it for watering my orchids. Yes, I have orchids. No, I am not good at growing orchids at all - I'm a total doofus novice. But I am learning and I think fiiiiiiiiiiiinally they ALL like me, versus merely surviving me. So, maybe I'm ready to progress to the next level after this season, and get some non-box-store-rescue-orchids. ;P

When my Hoyas outgrow the 3.25 pots, I put them in aircone pots - square square square!

The only Hoyas I have in round pots are my rigidas, which are in terra cotta pots, as per mikedahm's recommendation, because he is the boss of me. ;) It helps them air out faster, since they really appreciate being given a chance to dry out, especially in winter.


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RE: share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

GG, all this is very helpful. The picture of how this looks is crystallizing in my head.

So, showering the pots sitting in EJP35PC and nothing else is totally fine, right? Any drawbacks? I am thinking of skipping the JMC1020S.

Regarding egg crate / lighting diffuser - now that I realize the little pots are not gonna be standing wobbly on their own but rather secured snugly into the EJP35PC, I am back to liking hydroton or something like it on the bottom of the Perma Nest more than egg crate. It's mostly about increased surface area for more evaporation. 10x20 Perma Nest floor with egg crate = basically 200 sq. inches evaporation surface (egg crate's plastic increases the area only negligibly, as the water creeps up to the crate a bit). A layer of Hydroton, on the other hand, partially covered by water, will wick the water to the very tops of the top hydroton balls, and that will dramatically increase the area for water to evaporate from. I can do the math knowing the hydroton particle radius, but I'd expect the area would be 3x as much even before hydroton's existence of pores is considered - that multiplies the evaporation area even further.

Additionally, there is very little air flow under the pots standing on egg crates, because those cubes filled bottom half with water and top half with air, are blocked by the EJP35PC, with very little air getting in or out of there. With hydroton, you do get air flying in-between the balls on top of the water. This will help the roots in addition to increasing evaporation even further, two delicious birds with one stone. What do you think about all this?

> The 2.25 pots are SUPER tippy, so I wouldn't fill up a whole full-sized Permanest tray with them or you'd have a disaster on your hands when you tried to move it.

Sounds like you do not know item TOPSPT250 exists. (They say it's new, so you may not have known). You are welcome! :-)

So, the layers I am considering go like this:

For 2.25 pots:
1. Perma Nest.
2. Hydroton.
3. Stability Insert: TOPSPT250
4. 32 pots: 2.25NCUVSLOTS (note this item is also new; seems a bit better than the old pots.)

And for 3.25 pots:
1. Perma Nest.
2. Hydroton.
3. Stability Insert: EJP35PC
4. 18 pots: 3.25NCUVM (seems better to me than 3.25NCUVS - more transparent plastic and less flimsy bottom - do you agree?)

> I'll check out the pressure sprayer - thanks for the link. :)

You reminded me and I posted something else in that thread: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/houseplt/msg0315005223081.html.

> Yes, I have orchids.

It seems like hoya people often also gravitate to orchids, and vice versa. I totally belong to the crowd very interested in both. Is there an Orchid Society in Omaha? There are TWO in New York City. I joined one and found the people amazingly helpful - for getting local growing advice (Internet is great but it has its limitations), for getting exotic plants for free or cheap, for showing them your problems rather than pictures of problems, and getting a delicious and thought-provoking mishmash of tips and advice... These societies are great - highly recommended. And of course, too bad we do not have local hoya societies. Not nearly enough critical mass of people, I guess.


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RE: share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

Re: Hydroton vs. eggcrating

I'm interested in your theories on hydroton vs. eggcrating. It's definitely clear that hydroton would yield much faster evaporation. So, I guess my next question is - unless you are refilling the water level daily - does it matter to the plants how fast the excess water evaporates? Fast over one day, or Slow over several days, but the same amount of moisture either way. You have a point about airflow, though, regardless. I guess the downside is that it's much more expensive, but hydroton is more environmentally friendly than plastic and has a lot of uses.

Re: Chula pot options

Yes, I would skip the JMC1020S. It was just an experiment and although I use them, I haven't found them to be a critical tool for my needs.

Thanks for the note on the TOPSPT250. I like the way Harry refers to 2.25 pots as the "jumpiest" in your collection. He's sure got that right!

lol I haven't compared the 3.25NCUVM vs 3.25NCUVS, but the 'M' is what I use. I just chose it b/c it matched my Joni pots. ;) I like them - they're quite sturdy. In fact, when I was trying to repot the Hoya with the vine coming out the drainage holes, I had a heck of a time cutting the pot apart. They're more sturdy than they look. And I can't say enough about how important the UV stuff is. The little green 4" round pots that I use crumble apart in my hands after being left outside for one summer.

You'll have to let me know how the 2.25NCUVSLOTS is on transparency. It looks more opaque than the 2.25NCUV, but it's probably just the shot. I really like that it has no lip/ridge.

Re: Orchids

There seem to be two main overlaps with Hoya people. Orchids and Succulents.

There is an orchid society in Omaha (and a Cactus & Succulent society), but I don't think I'll be joining the orchid circles quite yet. I have a hard time dipping my toe in things without going overboard, and I really don't have room in my life for any plants except Hoyas (and tag-along Dischidias).

And you KNOW if I started chumming around with orchid people, I'd end up with (minimum) 30 orchids by the end of the year.


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RE: share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

I agree with you GG, about dipping your toe in. There is a certain type of personality, that dips their toe in and is quickly up to their neck. I've always fallen into that category. I kind of envy people who can just dabble in hobbies, without being consumed by them.

Greentoe, I have to vote against the hydroton as a replacement for egg crate as I have been there and done that. The biggest problem was having the roots grow through the pots and attach themselves to the hydroton, which makes them very hard to re-pot when the need arises. The constant evaporation causes strong salt build up on the leca decreasing their effectiveness over time. They could probably be cleaned in a vinegar solution, but I never tried. I also have to say that I never used a stability insert, which sounds like a great idea and might help with the roots growing into the hydroton.

Doug


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RE: share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

> unless you are refilling the water level daily - does it matter to the plants how fast the excess water evaporates? Fast over one day, or Slow over several days, but the same amount of moisture either way.

You assume with hydroton at the bottom the water will evaporate over, say, a day, then the hydroton will be dry till the next watering. That does not need to happen. You can have enough water underneath (and enough hydroton to raise the pots so they are not in a puddle), so that the stronger evaporation still last for the whole time between waterings. Then humidity will be both higher and long lasting.

> I guess the downside is that [hydroton is] much more expensive

In my case, I bought a big bag a growstones without having a clear plan for them other than a little experiment here and there - so whenever I say hydroton, I actually mean growstones in my case, and I already have a bag. But you are right, of course.

Re comparing Chula's smallest pots. I exchanged emails with Harry, and here is the summary of all the differences:

2.25 NCUV:
uneven bottom (I put insect screen on the bottom of my pots, and looks like this may be a [small] issue);
annoying top ridge;
no legs/risers;
lighter weight;
more see-through.

2.25 SLOTS:
more level bottom;
smooth top /no ridge;
little leg risers;
heavier;
more opaque.

Both have some good advantages - I might just get half of each.

> There seem to be two main overlaps with Hoya people. Orchids and Succulents.

Good observation. And people who like hoyas with succulent leaves also tend to (surprise!) like succulents. I am not among them, by the way. Hoya kerrii or obovata do very little for me. I mean I'd grow them, but they wouldn't raise my pulse like many others do. Which probably explains why my succulents and cacti combined pots could look better than they do, AND I have little desire to do anything about it. Anyway, that's a tangent.

Doug, thanks for chiming in - I thought GG and I lost others a long time ago here. :-)

> There is a certain type of personality, that dips their toe in and is quickly up to their neck.

The byline of my plants photo album on facebook says very tongue-in-cheek "I can quit any time, OK?" :-)

I definitely feel the orchid attraction. What's pulling me back a bit is how ugly most of them look out of bloom (unlike many hoyas!) The leaves are nothing to write home about. When I mentioned this at an Orchid Society meeting, one woman replied, "Eugene, you just need A LOT of orchids, and then something will always be in bloom to distract you from the ugly foliage". HAHAHA, looks like they heard it all before and are well prepared with a perfectly logical "let's submerge to the neck" kind of answer. I have 9 orchids, but there's space on the stand which I bet will not remain empty forever.

Back to hoyas...

> I have to vote against the hydroton as a replacement for egg crate as I have been there and done that. The biggest problem was having the roots grow through the pots and attach themselves to the hydroton.

Well, as you said, the stability insert helps with this. Those roots will have to grow through the insect netting (I'll probably have that depending on the size of the drain holes), out the pot, then around the stability insert pocket, find those holes (they are small and few from the looks of it), and into the hydroton last. They wouldn't attach too firmly, I guess, because I'd be taking the insert out of the tray once a month or so for their showers, and maybe more often for other reasons like watering or draining.

> the roots grow through the pots and attach themselves to the hydroton, which makes them very hard to re-pot when the need arises.

I imagine you try to dislodge the clinging hydroton or if that does not work, cut the roots just above the highest hydroton ball under the pot. This looks to be minimal root pruning to me - but I appreciate practical experiences, of course, 'cause I am all about theory here. :-) This is a good problem to have, anyway, as the plant is growing vigorously.

> The constant evaporation causes strong salt build up on the leca decreasing their effectiveness over time.

True, but it will never be as bad as plastic crate's wicking/evaporative abilities, right?
:-)

By the way, I am sure you get this, Doug, but making sure everybody else reading understands - salt build-up is very bad in media because of fertilizer burn, but here we are talking about something happening outside the pot, so none of that applies (apart from the reduced wicking capacity Doug mentioned).


 o
RE: share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

GT,

What type of insect screen do you put in your pots? I read that and it sparked my curiosity!

This post was edited by teisa on Tue, Apr 22, 14 at 15:40


 o
RE: share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

GT,

What type of insect screen do you put in your pots? I read that and it sparked my curiosity!

This post was edited by teisa on Tue, Apr 22, 14 at 15:39


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RE: share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

I use this fiberglass insect screen: http://www.homedepot.com/p/New-York-Wire-36-in-x-300-in-Fiberglass-Insect-Screen-Fabric-FCS8555-M/100265267 or something very similar to it (they come in different sizes, I got the smallest roll I could find). I grow indoors, so insects crawling into the pots are really not a problem, but it does prevent too much mix from falling out and messing up the saucers/trays.

I've also wrapped this screen around the insides of an orchid pot with holes. The roots still breath, but smaller mix particles do not fall out, and roots are also encouraged to stay inside where they belong.


 o
RE: share your hoyas under lights setup ideas!

I got my order from Chula. The stability insert naturally sits a bit above the Perma Nest tray's floor, and then the pots also sit a bit above the bottom of the stability insert. This means there can be quite a bit of effluent in there, and the roots will not be submerged. So, there's less need for Growstones in order to create that space - but I am still considering using them, thin layers BOTH on the bottom of the tray AND on the bottoms of the stability insert, for better humidity. I might screen for smaller size Growstone to use in the little pot pockets of the stability insert and will use larger particles at the bottom of Perma Nest - I'll have to look closer how much space is there, as I do not want to lift the plants too much above the tray floor - because of stability and space considerations.

If there's Growstones right under the little pots, roots will grow more readily into them (Doug's point) - so I'll have to consider the consequences of that as well.

Any further thoughts about this?

By the way, GG, you'll be glad to hear, the new 2.25NCUVSLOTS pots are a bit more stable because their base is a bit bigger than the bottom of the older 2.25NCUV model (Harry does not mention this). Because of this, they sit a bit higher in the stability insert, but still rather stable. The only real bummer for me in the SLOTS pot is that it's less transparent. I love watching young plants' roots grow without disturbing them or tugging on the stems.


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