Friday, September 3, 2010

DIY capillary watering while on holiday

My husband and I organised our recent overseas trip in 24 hours, so I hadn’t much time to get my plants organised. I had 3 pots of Spathiphyllum or Peace Lily that had to stay indoors (they do not like too much sun) so I set up a DIY capillary watering system, and crossed my fingers.

This is my set-up:

  • I used cotton shoe laces (removed the plastic ends) and treaded one through each pot hole. My laces were about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick
  • Then I placed the pots on an oven grill, which rested over the rim of a bucket of water
  • I filled up the bucket with as much water as possible
  • The bottoms of the pots were well above the water so they stay dry; but the bottom end of the 3 laces were in the water
  • I placed them in a bathroom with no window, and closed the door

Capillary Method © Evelyn Howard 2010

10 weeks later…

On the way home, a few extreme scenarios crossed my mind. One was that the plants had died and I’d find all sorts of creatures living off and in my bucket of water. When I told my friend about it later, she suggested that the might have been a jumanji situation, where my plants had grown so much that all the walls of my bathroom would be covered by crawling lilies and I would have trouble opening the door.

Anyway, all was well…

  • The bigger plant was sad and dry. Maybe if I had used 2 shoelaces  for this pot, it would have got enough water.
  • The other 2 smaller plants were well. There was even new leaves (see photo below), which were white/yellow! I took the pots out of the bathroom, and a few days later, the new leaves turned green.

Spathiphyllum © Evelyn Howard 2010

I am amazed by how resilient the lily is. And also how well the system worked; water seemed to defy gravity.

I think the best way to keep the plants alive is to have someone water them while on holiday. If that’s not available, this is a method I’d use again.

Happy weekend.


yoon see said...

Brilliant ideas! You are so clever Evelyn:)
Thank you for sharing your fun sketches too:)

Lancashire rose said...

I have used this method to water plants when I have been away, with fairly good success. I used strips of cut up toweling which I covered with plastic wrap. I buried the strip in the soil and fed it into a bucket making sure the strip was soaking first. I have kept lots of plants alive for weeks this way. You might like to try something like this next time. The toweling absorbs quite a lot of water.

Melanie said...

Great idea. I hope my daughter doesn't move otherwise I will be forced to try it.

Rainforest Gardener said...

What might work better is having the bucket of water above the plants so more water is transported by gravity as well as capillary action. I just love the illustration, the lettering and the bright colors!

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