tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)October 11, 2012

So today I watered the plants. I also used some MG All Purpose Houseplant fertilizer since I had it (will be buying FP next month).

My question is...With this mix, when you water the water just pours right through the mix into the tray. So it seems like a big waste of fertilizer when it pours right through. I mean I know the roots take what they need but...maybe I am not watering properly then.

When you water do you just water around the stems or do you water all the way around the plant/pot? For something like a philo or potho you have to water all the way around because the plant is all the way around...

So in general then do you water the whole way around the pot?

I have a feeling some of you are going to tell me it will be a trial and error period till I get to know my plants and their water needs...right? ;)

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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

What I do in this case, depending on the plant, is collect the water in the drip tray then pour it back onto the plant. Repeat till the drips are small. Or, in the case of my xmas cactus which I feed from september to february, is simply water and allow it to collect in the tray. By the next day its all sucked up.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 10:57AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The entire soil volume should be saturated when you water. What mix is 'this mix '? Even a fast draining medium will absorb liquid. Measure the input and output if you don't believe it.

Using something to catch the water is a great idea. The idea is that the whole soil mass needs to get wet. If it doesn't, any roots that may have ventured into the soil may begin to die. If the whole volume is uniformly watered, the roots will be able to grow and fill that pot....like they are supposed to.

As is often said....no little sips on watering day. Be brave. Drench the heck out of your plants. Using a sink or basin of some kind will be helpful.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 12:31PM
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Hey Tiff!

What I do is this...

I use a square plastic storage container or tote, you now, the ones you can buy at HD or Walmart, the wider the better.
Then I set a grate of some sort of teh top, place my plants on that ann water away freely with a watering can with a shower like head on it so all the soil gets saturated evenly.
Or, I set many smaller pots in the tote on the bottom, or a couple of bigger ones, and water again. I will leave them in there for a while after watering while they sit in teh water, then lift them to drip dry.

This for me is much easier than watering one at a time.

Then of course, there is the ole fashion way, using saucers and watering just enough until water starts to come out still with a watering can with a shower head.
if teh pots are real small, I use just a watering can with a spout.

Hope this gives you ideas..:-)


    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 1:01PM
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tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

Thanks Mike!! It did, Kind of. Doesnt answer my question of using fertilizer though. I plan on buying Foliage Pro sometime soon...It is a little expensive...so when I water my plants and see all that water come out into the drip trays, it seems to me like I am wasting money. Know what I am saying?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 9:55PM
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Hi Tiff!

The beauty of the 5-1-1 mix is that you cannot overwater. When water runs out the bottom of the pot, the mix is doing the job it was made to do.
What I do is place my plants in the sink after making up a gallon of water and mixing in half of the small spoon included with the MG Plant Food. I water slowly and completely, because I really dont know where the roots are, only that they're under the mix. When water runs out the bottom, I stop. I leave them there for awile and before removing them from the sink, I tilt them to a 45 degree angle to remove any excess water.

I would never collect water in a tray and then pour it over the top of the plants. Salts are washed away during watering. If you collect water and then repour it over your plants, you are adding these same salts back to your plants. Neither would I allow a plant to sit in water as I'd be denying the plant of the needed air to the roots, and defeating the purpose of the mix we worked so hard to make. To each his own I guess.

Oh yeah, almost forgot. When watering, it's a trial and error period while you're getting to know your plants.

Sorry. Hadda do it. :-)

Say hi to Marley for me.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 11:36PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia


I will add my watering ways..

Inside.. i have saucers ( plastic plates too) to catch the water, but i water until it starts to come throught the mix and i keep watering others plants. I come back and give a little more to the plants. When i fertilize, i water first to get the soil moistened and then i mix and give the plants what they need. I use bottle caps under the containers to lift the containers so they are not sitting in the drained water. This way they will not sit in the water and cause problems with roots sitting for to long . I dont worry about the excess water in the trays because it will dissipate quickly and add some extra humidity to the plant area.

Outside, i water well and go throught all of my trees and then come back with the Foliage Pro and water the trees again with the good stuff! I dont use saucers outside.

Hope this helps..


    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 12:38AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

T - the amount of fertilizer that goes into an application in terms of $ is minuscule - a quart of 9-3-6 should last you for years. Organic soil particles retain nutrients well, so the problem with container soils doesn't result from the soil's inability to retain nutrients per se, it's an issue inherent to all container media (unless you're growing in topsoil/clay or similar) because of their low bulk density - an essential property for healthy plants in containers.

You should avoid pouring the effluent from collection saucers back through the soil. Allow it to evaporate instead, or treat it as waste water. The whole idea of using enough water to flush the soil is primarily centered on benefits of that practice as it relates to ridding the soil of accumulating salts AND correcting skewed NPK ratios or preventing NPK ratios from BECOMING grossly skewed, something that can happen very quickly, especially when using fertilizers with ratios that vary significantly from the ratio in which the planting actually USES the nutrients.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 1:46AM
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