Joyce's Diary - March 2009
Last year, after some experimentation, I decided to wash all the compost from the roots of my Haworthia plants and pot them up in clay granules. With about 200 plants to deal with this job was not done in a day! I used medium sized Molar as the main medium, with a top dressing of Akabama. The Molar is an orange colour which is less attractive around the plants than the brown Akabama.
Because neither of these granules contain nutrients, I had to feed with every watering. It took a while to get used to the new watering regime, not because of the nutrients but because the water would just run straight through the mixture and it was difficult to judge when they had enough water and how long it would be before they needed more. I have now learnt that the granules seem to absorb enough water as it runs through and if I lift a few pots from the collection to test their weight I can tell whether or not they need watering.
The plants responded well to the granules, growing big strong roots and healthy plump bodies. There were some snags however. Small black flies seemed to find the Akabama to be a good breeding place and before I realised it there were hundreds of them around the place. In addition the surface of the potting mixture grew a crop of green algae. Neither of these problems seemed to worry the plants but they did worry me. Insecticide dealt with the problem of the flies and early this year I removed the top half inch of granules from each pot and top dressed with aquarium grit. This looked more attractive anyway and so far everything is going well.
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