(Updates and observations) Ginger mint; Chinese kale; tea tree; butterwort; pitcher plant

First off, I’ll talk about growing plants permanently in semi-hydroponics and such, using my tea tree (and chocolate mint) as examples.

What I’ve noticed if one plants a plant using any sort of hydroponics method is that over time, the plant shows sign of deterioration, even though the roots can absorb minerals and water easily. While my chocolate mint planted in semi-hydro showed very lush growth for a few months, after that, a large part of the leaves constantly yellowed and dropped off. Stalks turned limp and brown for no reason (that I could discern). After a while, the plant started looking bad. Since the roots had grown down the twine and ended in a mass at the bottom of the bottle, I ensured that they got to breathe by not filling by the whole bottle with the solution. However, the roots started breaking off on their own like brittle hair.

The corn mint I planted in semi-hydro showed the same symptoms more quickly than the chocolate mint. This prompted me to quickly transferred all of them back to soil.

I suspect the reasons are these: 1) that the constant soaking in liquid to ensure the plant doesn’t dry out does more harm than good over the long term. Maybe it causes the roots to really rot (even though I don’t see them rotting); 2) that roots might need something firm to grip upon (like LECA bits or soil) to be healthy.

So, my conclusion: I’ll recommend hydroponics/semi-hydroponics for plants which you plan to grow on a short term basis before harvesting (like vegetables; not those like rocket which you can pluck and they continue growing, but those which you have to harvest the whole plant), and not on a long-term (say, more than six continuous months) basis.

Currently, my tea tree plantlets are growing healthy and strong in semi-hydro. However, I’m keeping a very close eye on them. In fact, I might just plant them into soil very soon.

Ginger mint

The only survivor out of the six. How sad. I transplanted the plug into a more well-draining mix of Tref potting mix with vermiculite, giving it adequate water and the morning sun. It’s looking good now, I hope.

Chinese kale

Seeds from SJ. Finally sowed them last week. I don’t know why, but there are weird things growing on the soil in all the pots. Don’t seem to be harming the seedlings yet. But will monitor.

Butterwort has been catching small insects lurking in my room. Good job!

Pitcher plant from May 2009 gathering being pudgy and cute.


(Sowed) More tea tree seeds, German chamomile seeds, and Chinese kale seeds

For my note to self.

Sowed all three types today.