testing for moisture in plant containers again

Leo A. Martin leo@possi.org
Tue, 03 Dec 2013 12:44:48 PST
Ina wrote

> ... in big containers if the roots
> are fairly shallow, to fill the bottom up
> with plastic bottles. Then cover with plastic
> mesh before filling with whatever mix is used.

I tried this some years ago... many plastic bottles will collapse sooner or later and
render your container a mess. This somehow always happens at the wrong time of year for

Instead, I use a layer of foam packing peanuts covered with shade cloth, which is the
most readily-available plastic mesh here. I have tried this without the plastic mesh and
the soil sifts its way to the bottom of the container.

Cycad enthusiasts often grow seedlings in tall, narrow containers due to their long
taproots. (Many cycads have enormous undergound tuberous roots, so they are at least as
"bulbous" as some other things we discuss here.)
TP414 "Tall One" 4 inch x 14 inch / 10cm x 36cm 0.100 cubic feet / 2.83l

We put a small layer of these foam packing peanuts at the bottom to ensure air at the
roots, even when the containers are placed side-by-side in tight groups on a concrete

If it becomes necessary to separate the foam peanuts from the soil when repotting, put
everything into a large container of water. The foam floats.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

More information about the pbs mailing list