Time to dip a gardening toe into quirky hydroponics – The Guardian

Time to dip the gardening feet into nice hydroponics

Growing plants without soil is easier than you think – and means you can appreciate the architecture of the roots. Here’s how…

H ydroponics is one of those growing techniques that seems to be capturing people’s imagination at the moment – fuelled perhaps by the slew of CGI images showing futuristic vertical farms atop skyscrapers that are flooding social media these days. Fortunately, you don’t have to have an engineering degree or be the particular owner associated with a glass-covered penthouse to try this out for yourself. Here is my beginner’s guide in order to home hydroponics.

This growing technique can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be, but at its heart is the basic fact that plants do not need soil to grow. In fact , generally speaking, all that soil provides for plants is a source of moisture, air and minerals – roughly in that order. Dispensing with ground means you are able to grow vegetation without any growing media whatsoever, in clear glass vases, orbs or bowls.

If you are an indoor gardener like me, this not only means less dirt plus mess, but it also removes any kind of questions about over – or underwatering, and allows you in order to appreciate not just the beauty of the leaves and flowers of the particular plant, yet the structures of the roots, which are all too often hidden from view.

Shoots of lucky bamboo growing in a glass jar

Technically, almost any plant can be grown this way. However, there are candidates that are particularly suited to this method which furthermore boast attractive-looking roots.

Perhaps the best example is the moth orchid, Phalaenopsis. All you need to do is gently lift your plant out of its pot and tease away any bark chips through around the root ball. Snip off any roots that are usually brown or even shrivelled plus then lower the plant into a glass container. Fill the vessel up with a little water until it covers the bottom third of the roots, leaving the top two-thirds within the air and, hey presto, you’re done. That’s all that is involved.

The same technique can also be used on a huge range of plant life in the particular aroid family, from monstera to philodendron, alocasia to epipremnum, as well because some of the cane begonias such as maculata and even, of course , the lucky bamboo, Dracaena sanderiana .

I take these plants away of their pots and carefully wash off as much growing press as We can from the origins. Leaving them overnight in a bucket of water softens up the particular last traces of compost, which can then be blitzed away with a spray bottle in order to reveal pure white root base.

These terrestrial species require less airflow at their own roots compared to epiphytic moth orchids, so I keep the water in the exact same level since the original compost, totally covering the root zone. If, like me, you live inside a hard-water region, bottled water is a good option to keep the glass clear and limescale-free. All I do each week is best up the dampness reserve to the initial water level.

What about nutrients? Well, once a month I top them up with liquid fertiliser instead of plain drinking water, leave the particular plants to absorb this overnight and after that rinse all of them out the next day and replace the water. It’s all very simple, so if you want in order to create a really quirky indoor display, there’s nothing holding you back.

Follow James on Twitter @Botanygeek

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