watering bulb-- is it ok?

Lamora(4)September 29, 2011

Hi all! My daughter gave me one of those watering bulbs,(not sure of the real name of it- it was out of the box) the ones you fill with water and put it upside down in the soil of the plant, supposed to keep from over watering. Does anyone else use this? how does it work for you?

I put it in my spider plant and so far it seems to be doing ok. The bulb part is still pretty full, it has been a few days now. I was just wondering if anyone else uses it and if you like it. So far, I do like it. Just want to be on the "safe side" of things tho. :)

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dellis326 (Danny)

I would say no, don't use it to water your plants because those thing can drain out at an uneven rate and over water your plant. If you like the way it looks, poke it in the soil empty as a decorative piece but otherwise don't trust it.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 9:04AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

This is the kind of thing where trial and error are the only way to answer this question. So may variables - the ability of the soil to hold moisture, the rate at which the water leaves the bulb, the moisture needs of the specific plant. All I can say is that for some plants it's fantastic, for others it would be too much or too little water. If the pot has a drain hole and you see water coming out of it, the bulb is "too fast" for that plant.

My other concern is that this type of watering doesn't flush the soil. Any impurities in the water will get stuck in the soil and could be detrimental to your plant over time. Even if you find a "happy medium" where this bulb keeps a right amount (not too much or too little) of water in a pot, you would still want to flush out the pot occasionally.

And the last issue I think of is constant moisture. Spider plant will probably put up with this for a while but is not a plant that appreciates never drying out. Do you have any plants that do want to be moist all the time?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 9:27AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I think its greatest value would lie in its ability to occasionally extend the interval between waterings - as in an extra long weekend perhaps, or a week-long vacation. I wouldn't use it on an ongoing basis, especially if you're using a heavy soil, that is, a soil that is water-retentive. The bulb will dump water whenever air can get to the orifice to displace the water inside - not the best watering scenario ..... and then there is the spectre of accumulating dissolved solids (salts) as the poster previous mentioned. Spider plants are PARTICULARLY sensitive to High TDS (total dissolved solids) and EC (electrical conductivity) levels in the soil. Monitoring TDS and EC are how greenhouse operations determine appropriate fertility/salt levels in the media solution.

Your plants will grow best when fertility levels are at the lowest point they can be w/o causing nutrient deficiencies. A low fertility level (TDS/EC) actually facilitates uptake of water and the nutrients dissolved in water.

You have the best chance at unspoiled foliage when using a very fast draining soil that you can flush each time you water, and by fertilizing more frequently than the recommended intervals, but at commensurately lower doses.

The watering bulbs might be convenient because they reduce your watering burden, but what's best for our plants and grower convenience are much more often than not, mutually exclusive.

Al

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 5:23PM
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gayleva

I love these bulbs. My plants have never looked healthier. I haven't had an experience with overwatering. Many plants that were on their way out have thrived with these bulbs.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 6:55PM
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gayleva

I should add the bulbs are hard to refill, especially the bird shaped ones with narrowed tips. any suggestions?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 6:58PM
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