Monday, June 21, 2010


About half my plants are in baskets (usually with a mix of sphagnum and coconut husk chips) and half are in clay pots (mostly in straight CHC or sphagnum over styrofoam peanuts).  Growing in baskets is fun because you can see lots of root growth.  In addition, many plants do better when they dry out faster, which is what their roots experience in nature.  It's kind of halfway between a typical pot and a mount in terms of moisture.  Unfortunately, in our very hot, dry summer climate, it can be difficult to keep the plants in baskets hydrated.  Last year in July and August I was watering baskets every day, which took more time than I wanted.  To get them really wet, I had to individually remove them and dunk them in water.  This past weekend I installed an automated watering system on my arbor (all material from DripWorks).  Here you can see the 1/2" mainline tubing suspended directly under 2 x 4s (using 14 gauge wire and trellis hangers) with 1/4" tubing coming down to the baskets.  At the end of the 1/4" tubing is a small mister - one for each basket - directed into the basket using a twist tie.  I am considering an alternative of attaching misters directly to the 1/2" tubing.  It would look better and require fewer misters, but then lots of water would not go directly into the basket.  I want to waste as little water as possible.  We'll see how it goes.  Feeding will occur by slow release orchid food sprinkled in each basket.


  1. What percent shade cloth do you use?

  2. John, I'm not sure what this is. The shade cloth was here when I bought the house. I think it is more than 50%. Around here more than 50% would be needed in the middle of summer.