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Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Posted by meyermike_1micha 5 (mikerno_1@yahoo.com) on
Thu, Oct 11, 12 at 13:22

Yes, this has been this reason why have yet to get away for more than a week!

The last time I left for just a weekend my waterer killed 3 of my prized plants by not watering enough, and forgetting to water another.

I have plants in teh greenhouse, upstairs, downstairs, in the cellar, and unless I can train someone on how to do it, or pay someone a handsome amount of money, I shall hve to stay home most times.

My trips to Florida I can't see coming to soon let alone my visit to the Carribean.:-(

We'll see.

What about you? Are you stuck at home? Do you get to go away? What do you do?
How do you do it without fear if loosing any of your plants to imporper watering practices by someone else?

Mike


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

IF you had someone to water would watering instructions in front of each plant and a schedule to check off & dated when it was last watered possibly work?


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

I work part time cos I have kids so Im stuck at home most of the time, and I need more cool plants to be stuck with. Trouble is I have cats!


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

a friend of mine has had problems with her plants, because the cats tend to dig into the soil. Her ficus died from the cats using the pot as a litter box. But I'm sure there are things that could be used to discourage it.
I guess the other problem is the cats chewing the plants. Yeah wouldnt be a good thing.


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Polly, that wouldn't work, would be nice if it were that easy.lol Pots dry out at different times when ever they want.

I still wonder for those of us taht have dozens of plants, and I know many here do, do you feel you can't leave them for more than a few days? if you have too, what do you do? Have you sacrificed long vacations due to your plants?

My sister actually just gave her last few remaining ones away because she was tired of worrying about her plants when she got home.
Either they were over watered by my nephew, or not watered enough. And at one point, she could find NO one to help out when she went to Calif. for 3 weeks.

By the way, thank goodness my cat leaves all mine alone. I guess I am a lucky one in that department.

I was just invited to go to the Carribean in a month for 2 weeks and I can trust no one with my plants..Oh well..
How many more are in teh same shoes as me?


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

One of the reasons I liked succulents. Can go months without water!


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Exactly Greenlarry!

That is the plants my sister has turned too since she seems to spend many weeks away from home. She can come home and they are still happy. Sadly, she was relunctant too give up her Violets and Citrus trees.

Some are not willing to give up their plants that require frequent waterings though, or infrequent waterings, which includes me, so choose to pass up on days away from home unless someone knows my plants like I do. What's the chances of that unless we can all help each other here? lol

Mike


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Hey Mike,
its probably hard for some to imagine, but i can definitely sse your point.

[short story]
My 1st interest in plants was about 10~12 yrs ago, had quite a few (but not like now lol) at that time i had the most awesome girlfriend, but (i thought) she had broken up w/me,,,
a week later she called offering me a trip to Aruba w/Her and another cpl,,
against my better judgement, i went. guess what had happened upon returning?
That was basically the end of my 1st bout with Plants. lol

all true btw. no-one can luv em like you. :)


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Could you locate someone you'd trust to take care of your plants at a local plant store? Maybe set most of them up to go for 2 or 3 weeks without watering - like putting them in bathtub, pans of water, away from light, etc?

Re: cats, I have 7 at the moment, and they do chew palms, dracaenas, spider plants, some others, but there are plenty they don't chew, so those are what I have indoors.
Also the using plants pot for litter box thing, you can get some chicken wire and bend or cut it so it fits the top of the plants, moosh it so it's not laying flat, cover it with moss if you don't like the way it looks. That's always kept cats out of plants for me, might work for you too.


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Soaking plants in a tub would just rot out the roots. Away from light? Even worse.

When I go on vacation, I group my plants together and leave explicit typed instructions,
down to the last detail - such as how long to run the hose before beginning to water. I also
meet with my waterer and demonstrate how to slowly and steadily saturate each container -
can't just aim a hose at the plant and blast away the potting mix.

Mike, wouldn't it be great if we could fly eachother out to watch our plants while we're gone? ;-)
I think we've spoken about just such a plant-sitting company before....


Josh


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Hi Guys and Gals!!

I think you have a great idea Josh!!!

Mike.. When i go on vacation i leave instructions for watering my trees, but the same thing happens... they are always dry.

When i leave now.. i group them under a shade tree and know that they will not be in the direct sun. I water well before i leave and i know they will be sprayed (somehow) duing this time. I even thought of putting a sprinkler on a timer to come on once a day. That could be one idea?

Noone will take care of your trees like we do.

When i leave to go to work, i make sure they are taken care of and if it is the middle of the summer.. i will move the ones that i worry about drying out to fast and place them under shade.

My DH trys.. but it still isnt the same. Last time i had him water.. he started counting the trees..LOL When i came home, he said.."Do you know i counted 60 trees?" I said "really?" i smiled and turned away knowing i have more than 60.. :-)

I would still go on vacation and have a good time. You can always figure out how to keep them happy. You need to be happy too!

So.. GO!!!

Take care,

Laura


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

I lost my euphorbia to the cats. One of them knocked it off and smashed the pot, white sap everywhere so I just hoyed it outside in a fit of temper, gone! Now I have bare windowsills where previously they were full of succulents! Now the only windowsill with plants on is our bedroom, cats are excluded from there. I also have my tarantulas in there for the same reason!


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Well HELLO friends and a happy Friday to all!

Josh, you have some great idea there buddy! Just think of the money we could make. I in fact would hire someone if they knew what they were doing. I really could use the help.
My mother tries, God love her, but always seems to mess up in some way and feels horrible about it.

I wonder what poeple like Al/Tapla do, or Toni, ones I know that have hundreds of plants needing special care and attention?

Laura..LOL...I have figured that the best time to get away is in the middle of summer. This way, all one has to do is water everyday with ahose and call it a day.

Now that they are inside, every pot dries out at different times which complicates things a bit. 60 your husband counted? Now you and I know that number is way under estimated.lol

Good to see you:-)

Maybe I could just take them all with me? lol If I were to go away for more than 3 days, many of my plants would be toast, that is, all excpet for the ones that like to be on the dry side. 3 weeks in the Carribeans at my home I nevr get to see sounds good just about now!

Silentsurfer..:-)))

Oh. My 'CAT' in not allowed to step foot in my plant room, although I must say I am lucky to have him in a way. I have had a spider plant with long runners hanging to the floor, and for some reason, his conscious tells him to not touch..lol


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Morning and Hello All,

Mike, another great topic.

Josh, your idea is great...when do we start work? :)

Larry..did you hoy? out the plant or cat? j/k. I 'hope' it was the Euphorbia...lol.

We don't travel unless it's imperative. Funerals, etc.

Actually, I had more problems finding someone to care for my pets..Thankfully, an acquaintance stopped by each day to feed the birds..Sam (dog) went to a boarding house.

As for plants..I first SOAK everything..certain small plants go in the tub w/o water. A west window is adjacent the tub, so plants get indirect light.

Some plants are moved back from windows, so it's a tad crowded, lol.

To be honest, I'd rather not ask someone to water my plants..they'd either be dry as clay or swampy..Toni


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Toni, it was definitely the Euphorbia that got hoyed, lol


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

It's actually easier for me to leave during winter than summer. Even if I put everything in the shade, when it's 100 deg., even big pots dry out fast. About 2 nights is as long as I want to leave when it's hot, especially if that eliminates plant time on the 2 bookend days, making it 4 days without attention.

Having someone refill a humidifier might be more advantageous than having them try to water. A preventative measure to thwart drying out. Turning the heat down to about 50 will help retain more of the humidity, the less the furnace runs, the less it dries the air. We don't use furnace heat and when the humidity remains high and the plant room is much cooler, plants can go for a surprisingly long time between waterings. Just make sure your pipes can handle that. House temp shouldn't affect basement temp much, assuming you have one, but worth checking into.

There's also wick-watering but you'd probably do better to get first-hand info than for me to try to relay what I've only read about. Also, with cell phone pics, you could get some updates just to make sure the plants still look OK to you.

If I had a chance to go on a Caribbean vacation, hopefully I'd know in time enough for repots to settle of any plants I thought couldn't go that long 'cuz I'd be SO OUTTA HERE!


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Hahahahhahah...You are so funny Purple and full of great idea's! Thanks for that.
I think I have about 200 or more plants.... Somehow I will have to pick them ones out of that group that need frequent watering and use some of these great ideas! I really want to be so "OUTTA OF HERE"!lol

Toni, if you can get away with the amount of plants you have, then anyone can. But, have you yet? no..lol

I like the idea...:-)....If I can get this right, my trip will be paid for...

It was upsetting to leave just 2 days last winter just to return to dead plants, and my other tried hard. She misssed them for some reason, and they were right there!

The last time I had a week vacaction away from home was 3 years ago, and all my plants were outside which made it very convenient and easy for the waterer.


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

I'm with Purple...if I had a chance to go on a Caribbean vaca, I'd find some way to manage the plants. About putting them in a tub, or away from light...3 weeks wouldnt rot them, but you might feel more comfy with a wicking system. I also thought of something else. If there are any interior landscape co's in your area, maybe one of the techs would be willing to visit your plants once a week, as a sort of freelance job. I like the idea of lowered temps, lowered light, and raised humidity. And grouping by water needs. Of course, you know that now you'll have to take that trip, cause everybody will be dying to know what you do about your plants, and how it works out


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Tell me when you go and ill have a party at your house and water the trees!! LOL!!!

You need to go on vacation.. simple. We can all figure out a way for you to group your trees and figure a plan.

I will admit... when my daughter had her baby and i knew i woukd be gone from my house for ten days, i actually brought some plants with me and placed them at her house so i could keep an eye on them. I guess it was about 6 trees that needed special attention. ;-) They all looked at me and rolled there eyes and smiled.. Do they expect me to leave them behind when they are so new and need me? LOL...

Had to share.. only you guys would understand.. : )

So when is the trip Mike? Start packing.. you deserve to go...

Laura


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Laura, when is the party..I'm sure Mike won't mind. :)

Mike, last time we were out of town was 2006. And yes, I had a LOT of plants then, too..lol..

Where there's a will there's a way..

Why stay in the cold when you can sit back, relax in the sun...

The succulents should be okay...
What about your ma? Is she well enough to water?


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

  • Posted by nankeen z8b Portland OR (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 13, 12 at 11:05

Hi Mike,
Have you tried a local plant society? Hardy plant, rock garden, bonsai, orchid, rose, and rhododendron societies are pretty common, at least around here. You might meet some people who are just as addicted as you who also need to go on vacation and you could trade knowledgeable service. Also those meetings can be fun sometimes. It really pays off to have a plant-friend within driving distance. I often care for a friend's copious quantity of plants when he goes away each summer for 3 weeks and he would do the same for me if I ever get around to doing so.


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Sitting in a tub of water for three weeks would rot quite a few of the plants that Mike grows.
Also, he grows in such superior free-draining mixes that his containers wouldn't wick moisture
more than a few inches.

The LAST thing I'd do with a citrus, for example, would be to stand it in water and move it out
of light in the Winter. Recipe for disaster.


Josh


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Josh..don't know if you're referring to my post about setting plants in the tub.

If so, I meant I placed certain plants in the tub, without sitting water.

Toni


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

i've been able to go away for 3 weeks in the heat of august with no damage to plants (i have roughly 35 feet of floor to ceiling windows that are stuffed with plants). it took some prep. basicaly i put most mid-sized thirsty plants on thick nylon cord wicks and also lined the pots with coir matting for better wicking and aeration. then used large plastic saucer liners 4" high, filled them with water, inverted plastic tubs into them and put pots on top with wicks trailing in water.
the flimzy liners went on kitchen island. also i covered all with dry-cleaning bags to maintain high humidity. the smaller plants went with the same wicking method into sturdy storage plastic tubs, elevated on top of plastic bath storage bins, upside down. and then large plants got ceramic watering stakes, with tubes stuck into spring-water containers(the rectangular 2.5 galon) - i punched the hole on top and dropped sev tubes in. and those containers i put in large plastic tubs too, since i was afraid of water leakage and was doing it for the first time. and after that i lowered a/c to 68F...and closed the vertical blinds by half to reduce light. and yes, a/c was left on in the middle of hot summer...and i have western exposure; so even at 68F setting the rooms heat to to 75F.
in winter it's much easier: lower the thermostat to 66F - and most plants won't need any watering for 10 days without any extra effort. i do bag sensitives always, like small plants, cyclamens, african violets(which are permanently on wicks,etc).


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Great thread !,
ive recently been called on bi-monthly overnight stays outta-town for work,
so this is very useful info you guys are sharing,
one nights not necesarily a big deal, but even still, sometimes those 'cuttings', or recent repots (right Purple) are just at a critical stage. great tips. :)

Concrete and cars are their own prison bars
Like this life I'm living in,
But the plane brought me farther, I'm surrounded by water
And I'm not going back again

'Cause my bartender, she's from the islands
Her body's been kissed by the sun
And coconut replaces the smell of the bar
And I don't know if it's her or the rum

I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand
Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand
Life is good today, life is good today

Adios and vaya con Dios.... Find a Way. :)


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

SS. I figured out the last sentence, but what does vaya mean? Is it 'go?' Toni


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Indeed, it is 'go,' Toni.
'Go with G-d.' A-Dios means 'to G-d,' as well ;-)

p.s. Toni, I wasn't talking about you and the tub earlier in this Thread.


Josh


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

i began switching my houseplants - mostly aglaonemas - into a hydroculture set up about 2+ years ago. i tend to use the Pot-in-Saucer method described in the link below. the beauty of this type of grow method is that it is basically impossible to over water plants. and the water line in the clear saucer makes it simple enough that a 5th grader can figure out if you need to add more. so it's nearly impossible to under water either.

this past year my husband's father became ill and died, and we've been away for long stretches of time. by placing the pots in larger reservoir tubs, and having a friend drop by to check on things once in a while, i've been able to be gone for 3 or 4 weeks at a time, multiple times, without losing any plants. they can easily go 2 weeks without anyone checking on them.

[when i'm home, i place the plants back in the smaller reservoir trays because i think that it's healthier for them. this gives them about a 1 to 2 week watering interval for most plants.]

i feel like i'm still learning about my method - for instance, proper fertilization levels and such - but most plants have done well for me.

i'm convinced that if i hadn't made the switch, i wouldn't have any surviving plants after this past year... and unfortunately, the next few years are likely to be more of the same.

if anyone is interested in this method, check out the link below. there is also a lot of good info on the First Ray's website. his information is mostly slanted toward orchids, but it applies to houseplants as well.

please don't think i'm implying that this method is 'no work' or 'perfect', but the question was about vacations, and i think that this is where this method shines. the snags, or complaints, are that the pots are heavy, the Hydroton media is expensive, and if you don't water and fertilize properly you can salt up the media and kill your plants.

and if you decide to give it a try, as with any dramatic change... try switching a few test plants first, not your prized specimen or your grandmother's favorite plant.

cheers,

nancy

Here is a link that might be useful: Houseplant Hydroculture


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Hi EVeryone!!

Nancy.. Sorry for your loss...

Mike,

When are you leaving? We have some things to work out.. Times, invitations, etc for the big Bash at your house!!

Right Toni? ;-)

Seriously, You need to get away and have a little R & R.

SS.. I just went to the Zac Brown Concert here in Virginia Beach!! Love that guy!!

Lots of great methods to use.. Interesting ideas shared here!!!

Mike..were you talking of my mom and watering? If so, you betcha!!! ;-) SHe helps me when im gone too!

OK, here is one that she did about 10 years ago... She used the water from my pool to water my hanging containers under the Gazebo. I wondered why they started to all die.. Then she was over after that and she said that it was so convienent to "just dip the water jug..." I thought i was going to die right there...

Needless to say, i had to explain about chemicals in the pool and to not ever water like that.. Geesh!

OK, maybe ill leave her home.. LMAO!!

Have a good night all!! :-)

Laura


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Sorry for your loss Nancy, circumstances like that do force us to travel. I too had to travel to my Dad in his last year, NYC to FLA for about 5 days at a time, that was the longest the plants could manage & I could be away from work.

I've got some hydro setups going now that I didn't then, needs topping off every 3 days or so, I'd have to figure something out.

Mike, there really has got be something you can figure out, it's so important to get away, particularly after stressful times, injuries, long & hard work, etc.

Have you asked Al (Tapla) about this? I'm guessing he's had to deal w/it a time or 2.


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Josh, thanks...adios..can't figure how to type punctuation. :)

Nancy, sorry for you and your husband's loss.

Laura...let's get ready...:)


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Hello Toni and thanks a lot:-)

Karen, you are soooo right on. I'll find something. I think I remember asking Al a looong time ago and forgot. Great idea.

Hello Laura:-) I'm glad you have your Mom well trained now. Maybe you can send her up my way and between her and my Mom, they will get my plants straight.lol
My mother HATES caring for mine, but will if she really has to. Of course it does come with a $.
Pool water? If the water looked like my last pool, swap water, it might of worked.lol
Laura, I'll meet you there at the El San Juan hotel near Loquillo..

Nancy, thank you for that. It seems quite interesting. Would you believe a good member here actually roots some plants in that stuff and has great success. Her plants are so cute and very healthy looking. Who would of thought and with plants that by nature do not like wet mixes.

Hey Josh!@ I'll talk to you soon. Nothing in the mail yet by the way. Thanks for your sharing.

Ok, Man has this thread grew,lol

Silentsurfer, you are way tooooo funny. Great post.lol

Nankeen, Petrushka, and Theficuswrangler, thanks for sharing.

It's a funny thing. I was musing tonight and realized just how long I have know many of you here. Years now...Where does time go?

Mike


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

nancy, your hydroculture link is very informative. it turns out it's very close to what i do. except i convert existing extablished plants to wicks - and wicks go down into water - and then it's like half-hydro. when i convert to wicks i add up to half perlite to new mix in the bottom/sides of existing 'soil' and wrap in coir matting around and bottom too. if i have lava rocks(which i constantly use up), i put them on the bottom, but above coir matting - so they act like clay aggregates described. to sweeten water i add a little peroxide to it. and also some diluted fertilizer. i started with african violets and then realised that i can do smth similar for other thirsty plants. first it was calamondins and ferns, then ming aralias, ficus benjamina and crotons. most of the plants produce water 'tap root' with time. sometimes i allow all the water in the bottom reservoir to dry out. and i usually put a bit of malathion granules on top soil to prevent gnats flying around and other moisture loving thingies from crawling around. i am preparing to test this on 4 weeks vacation in winter. i use all kinds of plastic pots to put under the main pot and often put the whole assembly in a larger pot, plastic or deco or cachpot. the best water containers are yellow round sugar ones and laundry oxy ones. i buy tall vase like plastic bath trash bins and then set up yogurt containers with smaller plants : usually 2-3 per container. this way it looks pretty and the wooden floors are protected.
here's my 2 xmas cacti sitting in cachepot.


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

Nancy...happen to have a pic of your Aglaonemas growing hydroponically?

Pet. Very nice setup. Are you plants on a shelf?

Your CC, ORchid and AV's look good. Ironic, so many people have true CC.

I'm unclear on wick watering. Does one container hold water, then string or 'x' run from water to each plant?

If so, how does it work w/large containers? 8+" and larger.

I once used string from water to AV's, but I prefer watering AV's directly in saucer, unless fertilizer is added. Toni


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RE: Do you get to spend time away from your plants? How?

in this pic plants are small and on the shelf. for larger plants i use stands of all sorts, so as not to damage the wood floors. for AV only i use just an acrylic yarn, but for other it's unreliable, so i buy in hDepo nylon braided rope with fiber core(acrylic? has to be synthetic, so as not to rot) about 1/4 " thick. i thread it thru the bottom hole, lay on the round on the bottom of the pot for max wicking surface and then curve around the side of the pot on the spiral, to the top - again for max wicking.so the wick is never inside the soil. and to improve wicking i also use coir fiber around the soil: the roots just love growing into it. so the wick is on the outside of coir.
i have up to 12" pots set up this way. the larger ones would be too heavy to lift to check the water level (at least for me). i use var plastic containers for bottom reservoir and then cut out a round 2" hole in the lid and drop the bottom of the wick into it. so each pot has it's own water container underneath the plant pot. i use plastic pots as liners - so it's easier to lift and also clay ones get moldy and slimy from constant moisture. and then a third container is for pretty. sometimes the bottom is just sitting on top of the lid with hole. and sometimes if i have a large water container i stick the bottom of the top pot into it - then it's more stable and no water will spill. it's really very similar to pure hydro in set up.
i noticed that wicked plants take much less water this way and of course you can't over or under water - they just take what they need. this works even if you just use store bought plant, without adding extra perlite. though i add some more when i add new soil on the edges - helps with wicking and aeration too.


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