Ask a Question forum: Debate bed of rocks or not?

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Name: Pamela Gregory
Md (Zone 6b)
Gardening A Perfect antidepressant
Nov 24, 2016 6:23 PM CST
My daughter and I are in a debate over putting potted plants on bed of rocks in water or not. For watering Indoor plants without over watering???
I understand some people like this method and some do not.
Also I have read that some say it can cause disease? I say it dont unless your adding far too much water at a time. It would be a matter of making the bed of rocks correctly so that it only holds enough water per plant?? Seems logical right? Obviously if you put too much water with the bed of rocks its gonna go bad. You would only add a half a cup or a cup of watering at a time again per plant.
So what your opinions on this???
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[Last edited by PamelaLynn77 - Nov 24, 2016 6:45 PM (+)]
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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Nov 24, 2016 6:28 PM CST
Whether it's a good idea for the plants is something I will leave for others to answer. Thumbs up

From my own experience, it was a nightmare to keep clean. I learned this method from a friend who had beautiful indoor plants. The "water/rock tray" helped to keep some humidity in the area for the plants, so I gave it a shot. Yuck. It was a big mess for me. Looks great when it is newly installed but was a maintenance nightmare.
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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Nov 24, 2016 6:46 PM CST
My parents successfully maintained their indoor plants on/in a gravel bed for many years. I don't remember it being any sort of problem.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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Nov 24, 2016 7:09 PM CST
I used to use trays of rocks with water in them to help humidify the area around my indoor plants, back when I lived in Utah. It's a very dry environment so it really helped. The water evaporated so rapidly I didn't have any problems with growie things in it. Just had to remember to add water to the trays regularly.

It's NOT for watering the plants though. The bottoms of the pots should not touch the water at all but should be sitting on top of the rocks just above the water. Most plants will die off pretty quickly if they have their feet sitting in water. You still need to water the plants from the top to soak the potting soil properly, even if you do the rock/tray thing.

I'd say for your winter months to help with humidity it might be a good idea. But to keep the tray clean and free of mold and other stuff, you might want to pour a little bit of peroxide into the water every week or two.

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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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Nov 24, 2016 10:54 PM CST
my plants all have some sort of ample dish or pot under them. I water JUST until there's a trickle in the bottom- Not enough to overwet the roots, and it evaporates.
You'd get more reliable humidity help from an actual humidifier. I have read that gravel trays aren't that effective.
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
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Nov 25, 2016 5:43 AM CST
I had about the same experience as Greene when I tried "humidity trays" once about 20 yrs ago. Huge mess. Never again.
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Nov 25, 2016 10:15 AM CST
PamelaLynn77 said:My daughter and I are in a debate over putting potted plants on bed of rocks in water or not. For watering Indoor plants without over watering???

I have no experience regarding the bed of rocks but just to chime in here about overwatering... the question is not the amount of water that you use, nor the relative humidity around the plants, but the frequency of the watering. To avoid overwatering, water less often. I don't believe a bed of rocks will have any bearing on this consideration, other than to perhaps lengthen the time before watering is necessary.
Name: Pamela Gregory
Md (Zone 6b)
Gardening A Perfect antidepressant
Nov 25, 2016 9:53 PM CST
Thanks everyone for your opinions advice and feedback.

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