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Top Of Soil Keeps Drying

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May 4, 2014
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Near Chicago
I am using the tray method on many of my sundew pots now, but the soil keeps drying. All of the pots have 3+ drainholes and I keep them in 1+ inches of water most of the time. The soil is moist directly underneath any dryness, it is only 1mm or less on the very top that dries out. Would getting a taller tray to raise the water level help this issue? I see photos of sundews in their habitats and in other collections and their soil looks more moist than mine does.
 
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The older plants handle it fine, but some of the tiniest of seedlings seem to dry out as a result. I am going to try top watering now that I have an RO unit. I wonder if it could be some sort of mineral buildup or something like that. The odd thing is, it's not on every pot, only on some that are under the lights. Thanks for the input, tommyr!
 

tommyr

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The older plants handle it fine, but some of the tiniest of seedlings seem to dry out as a result. I am going to try top watering now that I have an RO unit. I wonder if it could be some sort of mineral buildup or something like that. The odd thing is, it's not on every pot, only on some that are under the lights. Thanks for the input, tommyr!

What kind of water are you using now? You CAN up the water level if you need to for the seedlings.
 

Zath

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Try top-watering them -once- very well. It may be that the top layer has separated just a bit and isn't sucking up the moisture like it should. Wetting it well should settle it back onto the layer underneath, and hopefully you won't be getting that issue anymore.

Particle size could have something to do with it as well. For seedlings I (usually, not always) put my peat through a sieve and keep only what passes through the screen. Some of the larger pieces don't seem to absorb moisture as well as fine particles.
 
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I top water my droseras they seem to enjoy it i only do it once a week and leave the water that fills up the tests at the bottom up evaporate before i do it again. But that's just what i do and some things don't work for others..but couldn't hurt to try it. Maybe it is separation in that case it wouldn't hurt tobtry to see if top watering will contact it enough to absorb better. It may just be the lamps are giving off heat and drying the soil at the top since its just the ones closer to yr light. Hope everything works out :)
 
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What kind of water are you using now? You CAN up the water level if you need to for the seedlings.

I am using RO water now, but I had to use tap water for a brief time. If the dryness is caused by mineral buildup, will flushing the pots outside with several top-waterings of RO water get rid of the minerals?
 
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Not a Number

Hello, I must be going...
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Use shorter pots for seedlings. African Violet pots can be found that are shorter than wide. Or put the pots in taller walled container like a take-out soup container and keep the water level near the top of the medium. Or if you have a plant rack with lights start the seeds in pots in plastic bags or cups covered with plastic wrap. Grow them until they have established roots and repot them. You may have to harden them off to lesser humidity first.
 
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