Some plants not getting enough water (wick experiments!)

water
wick
dry
#1

Hi all

I a 2-3 plants which struggle to get water due to the roots binding tighly around the wick. Attached is an example where the roots of a 7 week old cornflower are causing limited water getting to the plant. The wick is the right length and has been throughout growth, seems this design isn’t great, I think the wicks should be far longer to penetrate more soil or connect to a base made of the same material so there is not just one point of entry for water.

Any thoughts on how to address this?

Cheers
Robert

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#2

Yes, unfortunately Cornflower has a strong root growth and it may get rootbound if fully grown (about the same age it is in full flower). If it is rootbound, some leaves may die back and it may look like the plant is dying, but it is actually not.

It also seems though that the soil is still moist on your picture. Even if rootbound, plants still manage to get water for a while from the wick to finish flowering. What is the actual situation with your plants?
Also, please keep in mind that every plant pod has a life expectancy (marked on the package and on our web under products).

I will forward your suggestion to the r&d team.

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#3

I’ve been watering the ones which were having an issue from the top and they are doing far better as a result. Those which have since become root bound are languishing in comparison ( I didn’t water them to compare).

What is the material that you use for wicks? I’d like to look at making some of my own.

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#4

On the basis that I think the surface area of the wick isn’t sufficient for dense root masses I did an experiment to create my own wick that exposed more of the root mass to it.

I’ve ordered some longer wicks from Amazon but being impatient I decide to make one out of cotton string. I took out the original wick and threaded four lengths of cotton kitchen string up through the soil at different angles from the contact point to the hole. 3 hours after putting it back in the water it is now as wet as my other plants which aren’t root bound. About 1/4 of my plants have this issue.

I’ll update to see if this causes any problems, given it is cotton I suspect it will rot over time. I’m also going to look at longer wicks which I found on amazon.


a very dry plant


strings to replace wick


making a hole


a crochet needle worked well as a needle to thread it through the soil


four total strings at different angles to get good contact with the soil/roots


twisted them round and threaded them through the base of the pot with the crochet needle again


Finished

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#5

Can you share how well this self made wicking system has worked?

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#6

I had 1 wick dry up last summer and had some wool felt. I cut a piece and rolled it tight and put in the cup and it worked great until I could get some replacement wicks. I also cut a small circle of felt that fit into the bottom of the cup for another issue, one where the wick pulled to much water and the pod was to soggy. The felt helped as a buffer.

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#7

So after using both my cotton string approach at the top of this post and also trimming down the sides of these wicks a little so they fit in the pots https://www.amazon.com/REPLACEMENT-WICKS-GLADE-FIBER-PLUGINS/dp/B06ZY932PX I found both extended the life of the plants I used them in quite considerably. I now only use the long wicks, you do have to make a little space in the soil plug to get it in.

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