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Ultrics for a Hygrolon living wall? Also, fertilizer questions.

Jun 23, 2017
Hello all!

I have a couple of ultrics growing happily in standard culture, but now I'd like to branch out a bit. I have a living wall project that I'm going to take with me to college, and I'm fairly sure it's suited for an ultric or two. The build thread is below, but, for those uninterested in reading through, it's a Hygrolon living wall. The base structure is Great Stuff, a closed-cell foam that vivarium keepers use frequently, and it's all sitting in a reservoir made out of a 5-gallon aquarium. The reservoir holds about 3 quarts of water at a time, and the dampness of the Hygrolon ranges from just about soaked to almost completely dry depending on where it is on the wall. I've been using only distilled water on it so far, and I intend to use either that or low TDS water at all times.


The main restriction here is probably going to be lighting. As I said, this is for my dorm room, and the university fire marshal is very strict about what electronics can be used. The only thing I can use is a small reading lamp and the best LED bulb I can fit in said lamp. The bulb in question is a 100W LED that puts out 5000K and 1680 lumens, and the lamp currently sits about 7" from the brightest part of the wall. The wall has only been up for about 2 weeks, so I can't tell yet how much any of the plants like the light, but it should be enough for some dimmer light plants.

So, does anyone have any suggestions for what plants would do well on this wall? It's almost entirely inorganic substrate, to help prevent fungus gnats, but I can start things out in a small pocket of long-fiber sphagnum moss. I also have some live sphagnum I can use. The plants need to be willing to grow in Hygrolon, able to do well in lower light, and not too large. The entire wall is only 12" across, so most of the larger bladderworts would just look out of place. General hardiness and tolerance for temperature swings would be best, easy flowering would be great. I'd prefer ones that are relatively easy to get ahold of, as well, and not too expensive. I'll also take suggestions on other plants that anyone thinks might do well.

I already have a sample each of U. longifolia and U. sandersonii on the wall, but only because I had them on hand, I'm not sure how well they'll do.

Also, any tips on fertilizing this whole affair? I have two Pinguicula on the wall that I'm hoping to not poison with ferts, but I know everything else will grow slowly and eventually die if I don't fertilize. I was thinking of a very dilute solution of Maxsea, maybe once a week or so? I'd spritz it directly on the foliage and/or the roots of the target plants, wait a couple of hours for them to drink it up, and then later rinse the area around any sensitive plants to keep them safe. The aim would be to apply only an amount that would be directly soaked into the roots or foliage of the target plants, leaving nothing to run off and get in the reservoir or get on the sensitive plants.

I'll have bladderworts, mini orchids, and some assorted small terrarium plants on this wall, and hopefully also lots of moss and liverworts. I assume Maxsea will do some good for just about all of them.