Turface - does it wick? How well?

greentiger87May 31, 2011

Sorry if this has been covered somewhere else, but I couldn't find anything on it. I'm curious because a lot of my houseplants are in dollar store "self-watering" containers, with a screened bottom on top of a water reservoir and wicking chambers.

They are relatively large containers though, about 10 inches tall. I use the gritty mix and flush them at nearly every watering, using a small siphon to drain the excess. So far the response from the plants has been fantastic - but I want to know for planning purposes - does the presence of turface (and perhaps the bark) mean the wicking design of the water reservoir would actually work? This would be nice for when I'm briefly out of town.

I'm open to doing an experiment to figure this out, but I need a little help - how do I figure out if the turface is holding water (and how much). I suppose I could weigh a set volume of turface thats been baked in an oven, and compare it to the same volume of turface exposed to potential capillary action... but I'm guessing the random variation in packing density might overcome the added weight of any retained water. I do have an appropriate scale. Any thoughts?

Though technically I guess I should be asking, "does the gritty mix wick?". Hrmm.

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Gritty mix won't wick enough for a bottom watered planter. I beleive Justaguy2 made successful SWC mix with aged pine bark and turface. It was a couple years back, so you'll need to dig to find the details.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 12:20PM
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"For veggies and outdoors annuals/fast maturing perennials I very much like the 3 parts bark, 1 part Turface (unscreened so a minimal PWT will result). As long as the bark is partially composted I also like this mix for SWC as it wicks very well for me (uncovered) while never water logging which can be a problem with peat heavy mixes." - justaguy2

Here is a link that might be useful: See Post #3 in this thread

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 12:39PM
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It very much depends on the height of your container.

It worked for me in lower containers, probably 10" like yours.
But for 5 gallon buckets a 1/2 turface, 1/2 bark mix did not wick enough to keep a large tomato plant watered.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 11:35AM
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