Return to the Container Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Turface in a Self-Watering Hanging Baskets

Posted by cliss 6 (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 25, 12 at 18:22

I have a number of spider plants that I keep in hanging baskets indoors. Rather than take them down every time I water, I've found a style of self-watering basket I like, with the opening to the reservoir near the base of the container -- so I can hang the baskets above my head but still easily refill the reservoir.

In the past, I've used straight potting soil in these baskets. Last year, I tried switching to Raybo's 3:1:2 mix, which also seems to work well. This year, as I add a couple more plants, I keep looking at the turface I have around for the gritty mix, and especially the turface fines I've sifted out, and wondering... Would it be possible to build a self-watering mix using these ingredients? It'd be nice if I didn't have to restock the potting soil and/or the perlite... ;)

So. Has anyone tried this? Can anyone give me some suggestions on how I'd go about figuring out proportions or testing a SWC mix before actually trying a plant in it?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Turface in a Self-Watering Hanging Baskets

  • Posted by jala4260 9b Southern Californ (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 25, 12 at 19:16

I don't believe Gritty Mix wicks water upwards. You have to water from the top.

I use self-watering pots myself where the saucer attaches seamlessly as part of the container since it looks nice. However, I don't use the water reservoir to self-water my plants. They are solely there to help drainage and for tossing out excess water.


 o
RE: Turface in a Self-Watering Hanging Baskets

I experimented around with turface for SWCs for a few years.

Turface does wick water fairly high although slowly, so a mostly turface mix did not sustain a tomato plant in an 5 gallon SWC I had.

For your setup, indoor hanging basket, your pot is/should be shallow and the plant won't need a lot of water.

So you probably would get good results from using straight turface (or turface fines).

For outdoor SWCs I only flushed out the salt buildup one a growing season. You'd probably need to flush yours out even less.


 o
RE: Turface in a Self-Watering Hanging Baskets

I've thought about straight turface, but was worried it might wick *too* much. On the other hand, I've used straight humus, so I suppose it's unlikely to be much worse than that... Hmmm. Maybe sacrifice a spider plant pup and see what happens?

Thanks for the info!


 o
RE: Turface in a Self-Watering Hanging Baskets

I'd bet that it wouldn't work well enough for SWC. By all means, try it, but I wouldn't do it with a plant you aren't willing to lose. Also, you better make sure that the hook you hang it from is good and solid, into a framing stud, because the weight of wet turface is substantial.

Joe


 o
RE: Turface in a Self-Watering Hanging Baskets

Yeah, this is definitely something to try first with a couple of spider plant pups... I have four or five that are about to touch the floor and need cutting off anyway. :)

Is the weight of wet turface any more than that of wet potting soil/humus? My current pots can get up to 15-20 pounds wet, easy... My sun room is a former brick porch, though, so the ceiling is pretty hefty.


 o
RE: Turface in a Self-Watering Hanging Baskets

Well, I can tell you that my plants are WAY heavier with gritty mix then they ever were with Miracle Grow. Most are in the same pots too. So yes, there is a big difference.

Joe


 o
RE: Turface in a Self-Watering Hanging Baskets

Actually in a SWC the weight differential isn't all that much. I've had both mostly turface mix and mostly peat mix at the same time. Water accounts for most of the weight. This is only true when the there is water in the reservoir. For normal containers that have dried out some, turface is much heavier.


 o
RE: Turface in a Self-Watering Hanging Baskets

Well, I'm definitely not going to put a full gritty mix into a hanging basket... Granite is way too heavy for that, leave alone wet turface. :)

emgardener, thanks for the note about water in the reservoir... Yeah, that makes sense, and fits my experience with humus-based mixes. The big trick (weight-management-wise) making sure the mix dries out a bit before refilling the reservoir.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Container Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here