Ask a Question forum: Water system setup?

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Netherlands
Soltaro
Jun 15, 2017 7:00 PM CST
Hi,
My first time posting here.

I've build a custom desk with on the side a large tray area for a row of plants. For 1.5/2 years now I've had Areca Palm in there which was/is doing fine apart from an issue of some root rot in some of the stems.. It's growing a bit large and towards one side so I'm thinking about replacing it (and with fresh soil of course).
I'm interested in suggestions how I can improve it this time.

I'm thinking about Sanseveria's this time. Or should I be weary or something? Will they heavily lean towards the window side as well or grow mostly vertical?

I'm also looking for tips on how to regulate water supply better. I have a tendency to over-water. Perhaps an auto-drain system? Or one of those meters you stick in the ground to measure the water? Not sure how that would work so any tips are welcom!

I've covered the soil with perlite so it's harder to see when the soil is wet or needs watering.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Jun 15, 2017 9:36 PM CST
Welcome!

Get rid of the perlite. Stick your finger into the soil - feel how damp the soil is and decide to water or not water. That will depend upon what you are growing.

Any plant (except plastic ones Smiling ) will grow towards the light source. Maybe you could add a grow light to your setup. The plants will be happier and it will make you happier too.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 16, 2017 8:23 AM CST
Sanseverias are good air cleaning plants, and have very low water and light needs. But they still will grow towards the light. All you need to do is grow them in round pots and rotate the pots every few months.

As Daisy said, sticking your finger in the soil is the best way to tell if a plant needs water. The top inch of soil needs to feel very dry, then you need to water thoroughly. I hope the pots you're using have drainage holes? If not, drill some!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Netherlands
Soltaro
Jun 17, 2017 7:45 AM CST
Thanks for the replies.

The Areca Palms currently aren't in pots. It's a large tray filled with waterproof liner and dirt on top. The perlite on top makes it look much nicer, I've been poking through it to feel the dirt and it has been working relatively well. I could try to put in round/square pots so I can rotate them occasionally. Plus it would be easier to catch excess water I guess.
Though I'll have to find the right size for the tray I've already build (connected to my desk) and having a top layer of perlite or other substance isn't very easy with removable pots that might not connect 100% perfectly.

Any tips for that?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Jun 17, 2017 3:20 PM CST
Are you saying your planter box does not have drain holes?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jun 18, 2017 9:32 AM CST
You just gave it away. Waterproof liner.
Excess water needs to drain out COMPLETELY ! Hence ! The root rot!
Putting rocks in bottom of bed will aggregate the problem. Bottom line. : Is you need drain holes.

For container, or elavated raised bed, you need well draining soil. For mine, i use one part of potting soil/bedding mix, with one part washed sand. Tamp it down very lightly.

Peralite on top ! seems it would blow away ? Shrug! ? You could use some white aquarium gravel, rocks, or rubber bark, for top dressing.
Send use a before and after picture. We just love pictures. Lovey dubby
Plus ! We can give you better info !
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Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 18, 2017 9:36 AM CST
I agree, if your planter tray doesn't have drainage, that's why the palms are dying. But! If you take out all the palms and soil, you could then set pots of Sanseveria in the tray. Sit the pots up on some pebbles so that the bottoms of the pots don't sit in water. Then you could rotate the pots to keep the plants standing straight, and solve the drainage problem as well.

Philip, her planter is in her office, I don't think the Perlite is going to blow away unless her a/c fan is awfully strong. Whistling Hilarious!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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