Drainage for indoor plants by the rules
There is not a single houseplant that could be grown without drainage. Even the most hygrophilous cultures that are not afraid of dampness still require laying on the bottom of the tanks when planting and transplanting a special layer. Yes, and without drainage, which is responsible for the permeability and breathability of the soil, the effective distribution and outflow of water, you can not do, no matter what substrate you use. With the right choice of a drainage system, the creation of comfortable conditions begins. And the role is played not only by the materials themselves, but also by the height of the layer.
Why is drainage needed and what is it?
It is easy to understand why drainage is so important for indoor plants: without drainage, the soil is compacted, dries unevenly, areas with excessive moisture appear, which gradually acidify and lead to root decay. The spread of pests and diseases, the violation of uniformity of moisture and normal outflow of water, soil compaction and lack of breathability, anaerobic environment for development are just some of the factors that can be prevented by laying drainage on the bottom of the tanks.
Drainage - a soil drainage system supporting the comfortable importance of the substrate for each houseplant. In fact, it is simply a layer of coarse-grained or coarse-grained materials at the bottom of the pot, which ensures optimal outflow of water and breathability of the soil. The latter is often forgotten, but it is no less important than the correct irrigation regime. The air exchange function of the drainage allows the roots and the whole plant to breathe normally. Drainage functions precisely as a complete system to ensure water and air permeability, and its importance should not be underestimated.
What is the drainage for indoor plants?
In fact, for drainage, you can use any coarse-grained or coarse-grained material that does not enter into chemical reactions when wet, is resistant to destruction, compaction, decay, and allows water to pass through well. Usually for drainage use:
- Natural or similar materials - shards from ceramic products, pebbles, gravel, crushed stone, brick chips.
- Materials specially designed for drainage are vermiculite, agroperlite and drainage expanded clay with fragments of uniform size, sterile, specially treated. They are sold in garden centers and flower shops. In addition to the ability to optimally pass moisture, they also have protective properties that cleanse the soil of toxins and salts of heavy metals.
- If there is no "stone" drainage, it is replaced with polystyrene foam and its analogues. In addition to the drainage function, it also perfectly fulfills the role of protection against the hypothermia of an earthen coma (but due to the difficulty of separation from the roots and poor water transmission, this option can be used only as a last resort).
Other elements of the drainage system
In addition to the layer of bulk materials, the drainage system should also include:
- drainage holes of the tank itself;
- loosening additives to the substrate, which give it a light friable texture, do not allow the soil to become too compact.
They function in the same system and are equally important to ensure optimal conditions. When growing on hydroponics, drainage completely replaces the substrate for growing, in fact, the entire technology is drainage.
But even in hydroponics, the drainage holes of the tank do not lose their significance, because even with an ideal drainage layer, insufficient outflow of water from the tank itself will nullify all efforts.
In pots and a variety of flower pots, no matter how attractive and stylish they are, there must be at least one drainage hole. But usually the optimal size and number of holes is selected for each plant and each container individually
It is easy to make holes in plastic or polymer pots yourself, but when buying ceramic and terracotta pots, you need to evaluate the drainage capabilities of the pots more carefully. Any container for indoor plants needs drainage holes that allow water to flow freely, will not clog the soil and roots, but will also prevent the substrate and drainage fragments from falling out of the pot.
The minimum dimensions for water drain holes are from 0.5 cm. Holes larger than 1 cm must be covered with a net. But the amount is more difficult to pick up: for high tanks you need 5 evenly distributed holes that allow the soil to dry evenly in the lower part, and for large and low pots, one large hole is enough. For orchids and other epiphytes, “holey” pots are chosen, with numerous holes on the bottom and walls.
5 Steps to Perfect DIY Drainage for Plants
1. The drainage layer must be changed or created during any planting and transplantation of plants, including during emergency procedures. Every time you need to create a completely new layer of pure materials. If you use expanded clay or stone chips, they can be washed, sanitized and dried, and then used for other crops (maximum life is 6 years). But for each particular plant, drainage is necessarily created anew.
2. Select the height of the drainage layer according to the requirements of a particular plant. If the recommendations do not indicate what kind of drainage is needed, lay low or medium drainage, if there are precise instructions, follow them. The usual drainage layer is a prosharok with a height of 1 to 3 cm, an average - from 4 to 5 cm, a high - not less than 5 cm.
3. Adjust the drainage height after inspecting the tank and its drainage holes. If your planter has only one, but a good drainage hole, then the minimum drainage height needs to be increased to 3 cm. If the holes are very small, but the drainage can be laid only high, from 5 cm to? tank heights. And if the drainage holes are numerous and large, then you can limit yourself to a drainage height of 1 cm.
4. Before proceeding with a plant transplant and laying a drainage, make sure that the tools and the materials themselves are clean. Pour the drainage not in advance, but before the immediate landing. It must be dry if you used it previously - previously washed and sanitized. Pots should also be clean and dry. Check the instructions for purchased drainage: some types of special expanded clay, vermiculite and perlite must be saturated with moisture before laying. In this case, soak the drain in advance in clean soft water.
5. In prepared pots you just need to pour a layer of selected drainage, checking the height. In order for the drainage to settle down evenly and correctly, the pot needs to be tapped from the sides and slightly shaken. If you used a sufficiently fine drainage, then sprinkle a thin layer of substrate on top of it before direct planting. For coarse-grained drainage (expanded clay, shards, broken brick, gravel of large fractions), not coarse soil is poured, but coarse-grained clean sand. You must completely cover the drainage layer, level the sand or soil. After that, you can proceed to direct transshipment or planting of indoor plants.