How to grow house plants in water
Did you know that you don’t have to grow your houseplants in dirt? Essentially the dirt is just the medium holding the plant up and allowing the roots to pull nutrients through moisture. You can throw out the dirt, and insects and disease along with it! Many houseplants grow very nicely in a water solution, and that is hydroculture for the home.
A bamboo stick in a pot of pebbles filled with water is hydroculture that everybody has seen. This lens will tell you how to apply this technique to all kinds of plants. It’s simple. It’s clean. And it works!
This lens explains hydroculture, helps you get started, and provides valuable resources.
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What is hydroculture?
Its sometimes called passive hydroponics
In hydroculture, pebbles rather than dirt hold up the plant's stem and roots. The reservoir pot is filled to a pre-determined level with a water nutrient solution. The roots grow out around the pebbles. Once a plant is setup, you periodically re-fill the reservoir with nutrient solution.
Hydroculture is the little brother of hydroponics. In hydroponics, bigger containers, more involved water systems, and complex solutions are combined to grow vegetables that we buy in the supermarket. Houseplants will grow very nicely in a simpler, more passive version of the hydroponics process, which is called hydroculture.
5 big reasons to use water instead of dirt
and many small ones ...
Â·Reduce allergy; dirt holds spores, mold,mildew.
Â·Pest free - no soil born pests like dirt gnats.
Â·Easier clean up after spills. No dirt to sweep.
Â·Less risk of staining furniture.
3.Watering is easier
Â·Fertilize when you water, and less frequently.
Â·Over watering and under watering are eliminated.
4.Plants like it
Â·Nutrients are distributed evenly to the roots.
Â·Root aeration since pebbles do not compact like soil.
5.Less maintenance for you
Â·Pebbles don't have to be replaced and can be reused.
Â·Hydroculture plants have smaller root systems: less transplanting.
Â·Water less frequently. Your plants are fine while you are on vacation.
How hydroculture works
It's really simple!
Essentially pebbles hold up the plant and root system, which gets nutrients from a water mixture. Once a plant is setup, you periodically re-fill the reservoir with nutrient solution. Hence you are growing plants in water and without dirt. There are five components to a hydroculture plant.
The plant - many houseplants take nicely to the hydroculture process.
Pebbles - the plant sits in a pile of pebbles. For hydroculture we use clay-fired pebbles that come in several sizes, from pea size to grape size.
Inner pot - the pebbles sit in an inner pot that has slits for water access. The inner pot also has a slot for a water level indicator.
Water level indicator - a simple float tells you when the pot needs water (lowest level), and when you have enough liquid (upper level).
Outer pot - the inner pot sits in a decorative non-porous pot that is slightly larger.
How to get started
Make? Or buy?
I bought my first hydro plant from Interior Water Gardens in Surf City, New Jersey. Also bought a kit from them and immediately did my first transplant from dirt to water.
It's a personal choice. You can enjoy hydroculture houseplants without every playing in the dirt. Hydroculture Resource Links are provided below for some excellent sources. You can also convert your own plants and enjoy the process. Transplanting tips are provided below.
The easiest way to grow your own is to root plant cuttings in water, and then plant them in a hydro pot.
5 Steps to transplanting
Moving from dirt to water in 5 easy steps
Preparation - gather all materials at the kitchen sink: plant, pebbles (rinsed), inner pot with water level indicator, outer pot.
Remove the plant from its dirt pot. A dry plant is a better starting point. Hold the plant at the base near the dirt and gently wiggle it out, dirt and all. Tapping the pot might help free the plant.
Remove the dirt form the plant. Knock off loose dirt clumps. Hold under gently running, room temperature tap water to rinse of the remainder of the dirt. Touching roots is ok, but gently please. Trim off dead or extra roots.
Plant the plant. Cover the bottom of the inner pot with pebbles, about an inch. Place the plant on the pebbles, and spread out roots. Hold in place with one hand while pouring more pebbles around the plant roots up to the base. Tap the container to settle the pebbles, and then rinse under room temperature running tap water.
Finish and feed the plant. Place the inner container in the outer container, and fill the pot with nutrient solution until the water level indicator shows its full enough.
These are places I've browsed and shopped. If you are tempted to get into hydroculture by this lens, looking at some of these sites should move you into the shopping cart stage.
- Interior Water Gardens
A hydroculture store on the Jersey shore. They specialize in Orchids, which are great water plants! They sell kits and offer advice.
A Swiss company that has been a leader in hydroculture for years. My first kits were from Luwasa. You can buy direct or from distributors closer to your home.
- Hydroponic Equipment Company
A full line hydroponic site, but they have hydroculture materials. This link is to their Luwasa products page.
- Houseplant Hydroculture
A hydro plant lover's site. Excellent information and first hand suggestions from somebody who has done it before you.
- Water Roots
Another hydro plant lover's site. Excellent information and first hand suggestions.
- Atlantis Hydroponics
A hydroponics firm and store, that also supports the passive hydroculture, which they call interiorscaping. Lots of supplies but you'll have to wade through the "big boy" hydroponics toys to find them.
- Leni Home Design
A pretty site with lots of plant decorating ideas and products.
- Nature Perfect
They specialize in the bamboo plants that thrive in hydroculture (and are sold everywhere).
- Plants for people
Advocates for surrounding yourself with plants. Check them out.
- WikiHow - How to Grow Plants in Water
Basic "How To" information on hydroculture and related topics like propagating plants.
Internet search on hydroculture
A focused search for hydroculture information
check out the hydroculture search engine
got a couple of minutes for a musical interlude (about houseplants!)? - really, it is (brief and about houseplants) ...
Did you ever wonder if your houseplants have feelings. This clip was produced and directed by two 14 year olds from Idaho, home of Napoleon Dynamite. The music explores a noble experiment. You be the judge.
Hydroculture Stuff on Amazon
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