Say Goodbye To Soil: An Introduction To Semi-Hydro Growing.


Have you ever wondered if there was an easier, cleaner, way to grow your houseplants ? If you are growing in soil you probably have experience with some of these common issues: overwatering, underwatering, pests, inadequate humidity, and of course messy dirt that somehow escapes the pot and messes up your nice table. We got tired of dealing with these issues in our home and started experimenting with semi hydroponic growing last year. Besides being a great learning experience and a lot of fun, we have been very happy with results.


Give it a try ! We found it reduced the amount of time we spent watering, that our plants suffered from less over and underwatering stress, plants had fewer issues with pests, and NO MORE DIRT.


What is semi-hydro ? It’s a very simple and easy growing technique that I’ll explain here. Let’s start with a picture of our typical semi hydro potted plant.



Plants are grown in an inert, porous material. We use leca clay pebbles. The pebbles are light, porous and hold a lot of air. Make sure you soak the pebbles in water and rinse them before using them the first time.Potting is similar to typical soil growing. We fill the bottom 1/3 or so of the pot with leca clay pebbles. We position our plant in the pot and fill to the top with more clay pebbles. We mainly use pots for hydroponic growing that have a number of small draining holes on the bottom and the sides of the pot We have also tried using standard terracotta pots and nursery pots that only have drainage holes on the bottom and all have worked. The pot is placed in a tray and carefully watered until water drains into tray. The bottom 2-3 cm of the pot is left sitting in water. Your plant roots will suck up the water they need through the clay pebbles, using capillary action.


Because the medium is inorganic, plants will require fertilizer. For most plants, we use a ¼ -1/2 strength fertilizer solution. Once a month we put the plant in a sink and water it thoroughly using only water, to flush out the salts that build on the clay pebbles from the fertilizer. Similar to water propagation, you can see when the plant needs water by looking at the tray. We water once a week, or when there is no longer any water in the tray. Dump any standing water already in the tray when you water.


That’s all you need to get started ! It really is that easy. There is a lot of additional information out there and it may require some research and trial and error to dial in the right amount of fertilizer, how much water should be in the tray, and so on. The above method is a good starting point and should work quite well for most houseplants.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We love to talk about plants ! We also stock leca clay pebbles.

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