What's new

Automatic watering systems for nepenthes

Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
13
I keep about 4 nepenthes indoors but am thinking about getting a bunch more (I love neps). Watering them takes a bit more effort than I'd like especially when compared to how I water the rest of my plants using the tray method.

There are two reasons I'm interested in automatic watering systems:
1) I want my neps to be OK unsupervised even if I take a nice long vacation some day
2) Top watering neps every 2-3 days is a repetitive task that I'd like to cut back on

Has anyone tried any auto watering system for nepenthes?
 

adnedarn

I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Jul 12, 2001
Messages
9,113
Location
Tucson, Arizona USA
You may have seen the father's day thread where two of us were given Nepenthes from Lowe's. I decided to try mine indoors which I've not done (except long ago when I had a plant rack and humidified my house and had lights etc). This one I'm trying in an east kitchen window and using one of those self watering globes that at most I've had to refill every 5 days and at least every 9 days. I assume you're looking for something even longer term than that, I have not tried anything else...
Andrew
 
Joined
Dec 27, 2009
Messages
1,393
Location
warwickshire,england
I've read a thread on another forum of a grower using a hydroponic dripper system with great success, if that's the kind of thing you were thinking of
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
162
Location
Washington state - 7b
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
13
Wow awesome replies!

adnedarn, are you referring to the watering globes that are made out of glass that you stick into the soil? Having to refill it every 5 to 9 days is already an improvement over regular watering. Do you find that it keeps the media at an appropriate moistness level (not too dry or wet)? What size pot are your neps in?

corky/madrone, an indoor drip irrigation system is a great idea. Am I correct in assuming that this method requires 1) a tray or container below every nep to catch any excess water, and 2) very careful calibration to ensure the amount of water each plant receives isn't to little or too much?

Av8tor1, wow... I love the use of the siphon, and I love the flood and drain system. Really clever! How often do you clean the system/have you had any issues with algae or high TDS levels? I'm not sure what kind of reservoir you're using but I presume an opaque and closed reservoir would be more resistant to algae. Now that you've been using this system for so long, is there anything you would change in how it's built?
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
4,832
My reservoir is not enclosed but is under the bottom bin so not much light gets to it...

I have replaced the pump once since I built it. I do replace the aquarium tubing pretty often as it will get restricted with algae
I also typically change the water in the reservoir once a year (seriously, but it rarely gets over 18ppm)
However, i have to add to the reservoir pretty often (couple weeks maybe?)

edit: after eight yrs the design is still identical to what it was day one, I am also a big believer in the benefits of high saturated oxygen levels so i keep an airstone running in the reservoir 24/7.
 
Last edited:

adnedarn

I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Jul 12, 2001
Messages
9,113
Location
Tucson, Arizona USA
Yep, that's the one! I only use it in that one Nep that I am trying in my house. You can see photos of it here. It looks like maybe a 6" pot? And the globe is "large" size, I do have a zip tie wrapped around the far hanging in order to hold it up though, it was falling in a short time after originally putting it in from the top weight and having to be in at an angle. The moisture level does seem pretty good, the Nep. doesn't seem to be complaining. The media seems to be some type of pure peat moss maybe, I don't really see anything else in it.
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
13
My reservoir is not enclosed but is under the bottom bin so not much light gets to it...

I have replaced the pump once since I built it. I do replace the aquarium tubing pretty often as it will get restricted with algae
I also typically change the water in the reservoir once a year (seriously, but it rarely gets over 18ppm)
However, i have to add to the reservoir pretty often (couple weeks maybe?)

edit: after eight yrs the design is still identical to what it was day one, I am also a big believer in the benefits of high saturated oxygen levels so i keep an airstone running in the reservoir 24/7.
That kind of maintenance isn't bad at all!

I'm curious about the airstone. Wouldn't the plant roots get all the oxygen they need from the air that is forced into the soil as the water drains out? Does running the airstone 24/7 have any advantages ove running it for 30-60 min before flooding the plants?
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
4,832
It is my belief that the oxygen rich water more closely simulates rain water. The high oxygen levels should encourage happy roots but maybe even more importantly kill anaerobic bacteria that tend to initiate root rot

Too many variables for me to say 60 minutes would or wouldn’t work as well. I just don’t know.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
162
Location
Washington state - 7b
corky/madrone, an indoor drip irrigation system is a great idea. Am I correct in assuming that this method requires 1) a tray or container below every nep to catch any excess water, and 2) very careful calibration to ensure the amount of water each plant receives isn't to little or too much?
Looking at [MENTION=12256]Grey Moss[/MENTION] photos, most of his plants seem to be in larger "catchment" containers, so any overage or pot drips would be contained. My temporary system resemble's Av8tor1's in that the entire baker's shelf was surrounded by water-proof material (plastic), and (in my case) the shelf system sits with its feet inside a larger catchment area. Each shelf has pots sitting on plastic egg crate lighting diffuser so the plants aren't sitting directly on a wet surface, then plastic shelf liner to keep any excess water from dripping on the plants below, so:

POTS
egg crating
shelf-liner
metal shelf

Any excess delivered water evaporates off of the shelf liner, or runs off the shelf liner (at the edges, not onto plants below) and ends up in the larger catchment area that the shelf sits in.

My shelf is also like Av8or1's, in that I access the plants only from one side of the shelving, which is part of why my set-up was only used temporarily. All the tubing going to individual plants was along the front of the shelf, and made access to the plants very difficult. Great when I wasn't home, but kind of a pain when I got back from my trip and wanted access to the plants. I like to be able to pull the plants out occasionally to check on new growths, screen for pests, etc.

Eventually I'd like to have an area that allows for both automated watering and easy access to plants - and am thankful for all the great ideas folks share on this forum. Inspiration to draw from!

Let us know how your system shapes up!
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
13
So many great ideas indeed!

Madrone, thanks for describing your setup. The use of "catchment" containers is interesting. By the way, what water pump do you have?

I'm unsure of where to get started with drip irrigation, but I ran into this relatively cheap drip irrigation system on amazon (see link). Has anyone used something similar?
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
162
Location
Washington state - 7b
Madrone, thanks for describing your setup. The use of "catchment" containers is interesting. By the way, what water pump do you have?

I'm unsure of where to get started with drip irrigation, but I ran into this relatively cheap drip irrigation system on amazon (see link). Has anyone used something similar?

I purchased an Aquagarden fountain pump with auto shut-off. Since my first time using it was for a period when I was going to be gone, I didn't want to run the risk of the water reservoir running dry while I was absent and frying out my new pump. Depending on how many pots you are trying to water, you may opt for a higher or lower flow rate pump. It was probably overkill for my recent application, but was purchased imagining a larger scale application (some day) There is a bit to figure out with DIY drip irrigation, but it's do-able. A local hydroponics shop may be able to help you put together the pieces/parts.

You also asked about the "ready-made" programmable versions - I have used one of those - not the exact one in your link, but something darn similar. Note that it's only appropriate for a VERY small number of pots - the pumping action is minuscule. So, it may be easy to quickly outgrow (depending on your plans for your plant collection). I liked the flexibility of the hosing that was provided (made it easy to get the dripper into tight spaces), but it smelled AWFUL when it arrived. Soaking and flushing seemed to help, but it was almost eye-watering out of the box.
 
Joined
Sep 9, 2019
Messages
20
Following up on this thread, I plan on using the Mistking setup. The misting will keep humidity levels high and even though they are pricier it seems like they're considered the best in class and scale well to multiple setups. Also can run dry for some time!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Top