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Thread: Tray Method vs Overhead Watering

  1. #9
    The Consuming Flame EdaxFlamma's Avatar
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    @Odysseus - I initially just pinched off the primary rosette and stuck it into the corner of the pot but some of my more sensitive species were still having drainage issues. I had a buddy of mine send me a clump of established sphagnum (3"-5" long, green fibers) and using a wooden skewer, I dug a little hole in the corner of my pots and put the entire length of the sphagnum down the hole (so the vertical option you mentioned). This allows the sphagnum to actually do the wicking and more closely relates to how the plant I am growing is using the water.

    After that I just water, wait for the vibrant neon green of the sphagnum to turn less vibrant or even a dusty color, and rewater. It really takes the guesswork out of watering.

    Just to reiterate what everyone has said, your media is going to be deciding factor here and your mileage may vary. The sphagnum trick does not prevent overwatering. You still need your media to dry/drain sufficiently for it to be of any use. It acts as an indicator of dryness and lets you know how long your media is staying wet. If your sphagnum is green for a month after 1 watering you're likely going to have problems with whatever you're growing.
    Last edited by EdaxFlamma; 02-15-2014 at 07:06 AM.
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    Edax's "spagnum trick" is probably useful for certain drosera..thats fine.
    but for VFT's and Sarracenia, you will not need any such tricks..
    For VFT and Sarracenia, using the tray method, here is how you know when its time to water again:

    Look at the tray:
    still some water in the tray? - dont water.
    almost empty? - fill the tray back up.
    the end.

    For a 1" or 2" deep tray, and an "average" pot 4", 5" or 6" in diameter, you can not over-water. (for VFT's and Sarrs)
    just keep some water in the tray all spring, summer and autumn, and you are golden.
    its a very low-maintenance watering system.
    (using proper water of course..distilled, RO or rain water only, no tap water)

    I use pure peat in the pots, with a "top dressing" of LFS. The LFS keeps the peat from splashing around in the rain.
    Scot

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    The Consuming Flame EdaxFlamma's Avatar
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    Definitely agree with scottychaos on that one. The sphagnum deal was primarily for Nepenthes and Drosera.

    I'll break form and confess I always kept my established Sarracenia and VFTs in large pots/bowls without a drainage holes and they did just fine. If we got a heavy rain and the soil was flooded I just tipped it on its side and drained some away. They couldn't have cared less.
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  4. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post

    Water tray method is easy mode and you should try it on all your plants minus the great ones suggested above that should be avoided like Darlingtonia or Veitchii.
    Darlingtonia don't like the tray method?
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    Quote Originally Posted by RSS View Post
    Properly done, top watering would be better overall for most if not all plants. However, like everything it comes at a cost. The time it takes me to properly top water 20 Cephs, well I don't even want to think about it. The time it takes me to tray water 20 Cephs = 1m.

    If the top of the medium in my Ceph trays is dry I know I need to refill the tray. If you wait too long you can "break" the wick through the medium, a bad thing in watering trays.

    As with all watering, medium is a HUGE factor in success. The mix you use with a tray method "should" be different than the mix you use for overhead watering. (some snippage done to original RSS post for brevity)
    My experience is similar to RSS - my preference is to top-water but due to assorted constraints - that's not always an option so a plan B must be used.

    Media type / mix can also be important & must be factored into the equation.

    Species is something else that has to be considered - which necessarily includes the growing habitat requirements as well as dormancy needs. An epiphytic tropical utricularia that has a seasonal dormancy has massively different requirements than an alpine pinguicula or temperate Sarracenia or lowland, swamp Nepenthes or tepui Heliamphora or tuberous Drosera from Oz.

    As you've seen from previous respondents, some generalizations can work - however, to optimize health & growth, the more you understand about your plants needs & how/where they originally grew - the better chances you have for growing them well.
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  6. #14
    The Consuming Flame EdaxFlamma's Avatar
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    Darlingtonia don't like the tray method?
    I'm sure someone has had great success growing them via the tray method. I have not even tried.

    After a bit of searching I can't find the article I want to reference but it discussed taking two unsalted terracotta pots, one of larger size and nesting the two together. If I remember correctly the space between the outer pot and the inner pot was filled with something like sand and the Darlingtonia was planted in the inner pot. Not remembering the intricacy of the watering regime, I know that the terracotta was supposed to cool the soil and roots via evaporative cooling.

    It basically uses the same method as a Zeer pot http://rebuildingcivilization.com/co...about-zeer-pot

    Another take on it can be found here: http://www.sarracenia.com/faq/faq6010j.html

    My guess is that like many of the plants we coddle, they aren't as sensitive as we think they are. However, each grower needs to find out what their unique set of conditions will allow with each individual plant.

    I think Steve D here has some good info on Darlingtonia: http://www.flytrapcare.com/phpBB3/da...hod-t9198.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdaxFlamma View Post
    I'm sure someone has had great success growing them via the tray method. I have not even tried.

    After a bit of searching I can't find the article I want to reference but it discussed taking two unsalted terracotta pots, one of larger size and nesting the two together. If I remember correctly the space between the outer pot and the inner pot was filled with something like sand and the Darlingtonia was planted in the inner pot. Not remembering the intricacy of the watering regime, I know that the terracotta was supposed to cool the soil and roots via evaporative cooling. It basically uses the same method as a Zeer pot http://rebuildingcivilization.com/co...about-zeer-pot

    Another take on it can be found here: http://www.sarracenia.com/faq/faq6010j.html

    My guess is that like many of the plants we coddle, they aren't as sensitive as we think they are. However, each grower needs to find out what their unique set of conditions will allow with each individual plant.

    I think Steve D here has some good info on Darlingtonia: http://www.flytrapcare.com/phpBB3/da...hod-t9198.html
    You're thinking about Drosophyllum lusitanicum, Slack's method was to double pot with a sphagnum wick from the outer to inner pot.
    Fred

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  8. #16
    The Consuming Flame EdaxFlamma's Avatar
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    I knew they did something similar for Drosophyllum due to the root sensitivity and stress but I could swear that potting up Darlingtonia was done this way specifically for temperature reasons...

    Hmm anyway I'll pause myself here and try not to detract from the issue of the thread. Though if I find the article I am thinking of I will post it to prove my (in)sanity.
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