Empowering all people to be plant people — a collection of articles from Geoponics’s team of Plant Experts across a variety of plant care topics to inspire confidence in the next generation of plant parents. Welcome to Plant Parenthood™.
Lava rock is a type of volcanic rock called a basalt. It's common in nature, especially in areas around the Pacific Ocean. Lava rock comes in various colors and shapes. Gardeners like it for its texture and permeability. Lava rock also absorbs heat and retains water so there is no need for drainage. Development of an alternative method using non-soil medium for growing indoor plants for water conservation purposes and minimum watering requirements. THROUGH EXPERIMENTATION, we made the following advancements and gained subsequent knowledge: Plants require oxygen, water and nutrients to grow effectively. In order to establish a balance between the water holding capacity of a medium, aeration and drainage are key to optimum plant growth and water conservation. The amount of water any medium holds is dependent on the components used, pore size, distribution, and the shape of the container. Through research & design, Geoponics found that Lava Rock (as a growing medium) is extremely porous. Due to this characteristic, we discovered that its ability to hold air and water is significant as compared to other mediums (soil & perlite). The pore size of the Lava Rock determined the rate of drainage and oxygen exchange within plant roots. We further found that large pores in the Lava Rock permitted air to enter the medium freely as the plant was irrigated/watered through the passive wick system. as a result, large quantities of air (oxygen) freely circulated in Lava Rocks (medium) while plants utilized water as per their growing needs, thus, ensuring water conservation (up to 80%) and simultaneously promoting plant health. For the purpose of this study, Geoponics’ Pots were created by adding a water reservoir at the bottom of a glass/transparent container. The second step was the installation of three cotton wicks which extended from the bottom of the water reservoir to the middle of the plant holding medium (Lava Rocks). Water proof film separated the medium which held the plants from the water reservoir at the bottom.a plastic tube was installed in each jar to fill water in the reservoir. The tube extended from the water reservoir to the top of Geoponics pot. We identified that the passive wick system which extended from the base of the water reservoir to the middle of the growing medium (Lava Rocks), close to the roots of potted plants utilized capillary action to supply water to the roots as per the needs of the potted plants. We further discovered that the water evaporation was minimal or non-existent as water didn’t travel above the root level of plants. The rate of water absorption with Lava Rocks through the wick system was controlled and in perfect harmonization with plant needs, when compared to other mediums we tested (soil & perlite).Lava Rocks as a growing medium performed best for plants due to its porous nature coupled with controlled water absorption and retaining properties. Geoponics research concluded with substantial evidence of water conservation (up to 80%) when lava rocks were utilized as a growing/plant holding medium, especially for indoor plants. |
CARING FOR YOUR BRAND NEW AIR PLANTS Yay, they've arrived! After you've unpacked your plants and spent sufficient time marveling at their unique beauty (and possibly giving them names), give them a good soak in a water bath (submerged in the water) for about 20-30 minutes. Shake gently to remove any excess water, and set in a spot with bright light and good air circulation to dry off. Follow the directions below for ongoing care of your plants. LIGHT Air plants should be kept where they'll receive bright, indirect sunlight or under fluorescent home/office lighting. Periods of direct sunlight are just fine, but more than a few hours of hot sun will deplete the plants of their moisture. If your plant will be in a spot with some pretty direct light, try misting them every couple of days to keep them hydrated. WATER Air plants live on air, right? Uh, not right! While air plants don't grow in soil, they definitely NEED to be watered. While the plants can survive for long periods of drought, they will not grow or thrive and will eventually die off if water is too scarce. Follow the directions below for watering your plants on a regular basis and they will stay alive and well for quite some time. The good news is that since these plants are very forgiving, you shouldn't stress over their care schedule. There's certainly no need to get a babysitter when you go on vacation. HOW DO I WATER MY AIR PLANTS? As a main method of watering your plants, we recommend giving them a thorough rinsing under running water or letting them soak in a bath of water for 20-30 minutes. You can use a bowl, the sink or even the bathtub if you've got a family. After their shower or bath, gently shake the plants to remove any excess water from the base and the leaves, and set out to dry in an area with enough air circulation to dry them out in about 4 hours. If your plants need an in-between watering, misting them with a spray bottle is a great method. A plant in bloom should be rinsed rather than submerged in water, and take care when rinsing the delicate flowers. HOW OFTEN DO I WATER MY AIR PLANTS? Your plants should be watered once per week, and 2-3 times is recommended for optimal care. A longer, 2-hour soak is recommended every 2-3 weeks. If you are in a drier, hotter climate, more frequent watering or misting will be needed. You'll begin to notice that after watering, your plant's leaves will feel stiffer and full of water and they'll be softer and lighter in color when they're in need of water. Wrinkled or rolled leaves can be a sign of dehydration. TEMPERATURE Air plants will do best in generally warm conditions (a good range is 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit). In frost-free or nearly frost-free climates they can live outside for the entire year. Like most house plants, they can be taken outside on a porch or balcony for the warm season, just don't expose them to temperature or sun extremes. GROOMING & AESTHETIC MAINTENANCE Everyone needs a little grooming once in a while! It is normal for some of the lower leaves of your tillandsias to dry out as the plant grows or acclimates to a new environment, and those leaves can be gently pulled right off of the plant. If the leaf tips have dried out, you can snip the dried tip off (try trimming at an angle to leave a natural-looking pointy tip), and the same can be done for the plant's roots. Don't worry about harming your plants during grooming--they'll regrow. FERTILIZER Fertilizing your plants is not necessary, but will keep them in top shape and should promote blooming and reproduction. We recommend using our Grow More Air Plants and Bromeliad Fertilizer once per month. One small packet will make over 10 gallons of fertilizer and water mixture. You can save the diluted fertilizer mixture in an old milk jug for reuse. |
by Justin Teelucksingh | 12 August, 2019 |
by Media Carry Collaborator | 12 August, 2019 |