La Feria News

Growing a hydroponic garden doesn’t have to be complicated


A commercial hydroponic garden needs specialized equipment in order to grow plants. However, you can have a small water garden in your kitchen or any sunny south or east window in your house to enlarge the number of plants you have to enjoy.

African violets can be started by suspending the leaf above water with about two inches of the stem in water. Photos: Ann Johnston / LFN

The following plants have used water and sometimes special vases to propagate additional plants for many, many years. Mostly house plants, these old reliables like African violets, Christmas cactus, ivies, begonias and jade plants, can be started with a leaf that has a good 1-2 inch stem, and a container of water or soilless medium like perlite. Special vases or bottles with necks to hold the leaf itself out of the water will help form roots along the stem.

Pinch a stem of coleus off and keep it in a shallow bowl of water to root.

Larger plants that can live outside the house, particularly in our Lower Rio Grande Valley, can be propagated by simply pushing a 6-8 inch cutting into damp soil to cover one or two leaf nodes. Some plants that easily root are fiddle-leaf fig, frangi-pangi, schefflera and shrimp plant.

All these were rooted in water before planting: Frangi-pangi, celery, basi, and Mother of Thousands succulent.

Suggestions: Succulents can be easily propagated by cuttings. The trick is to have a one-inch stem with no leaves and let it sit overnight to let the stem cut callous over. Then place it in a succulent mix and don’t water it! It holds water in its leaves and doesn’t need more for 2-3 weeks. By then it should have developed roots and can be watered. Be sure your pot drains well.
Hints: Be sure your knife or pruning shears are clean.

Stems from fiddle leaf figs can be rooted in water or just stuck in the ground.

• Make an even cut through the stem.
• Remove a few leaves to have a one-inch stem.
• Use a spray bottle to water newly planted cuttings so water won’t move soil around. (Do this with seedlings, too).

Stick a branch of sheffeleria in the ground and it will grow.

Watch for- Plants inside and out that need some trimming or shaping and use what is removed to start a new plant.

Come back to the Garden Gate for some more hints, suggestions and something to watch for next week.

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