Monday, April 15, 2024

Wicking material

Question:  I would appreciate your answering a question about the use of mason’s twine in wicking.  Should the twine be unwound so that only one thread is used for wicking, or should the twin be used whole, as manufactured, for miniature violets?

Answer:  Since miniature violets are grown in smaller pots, and have smaller root systems, than do standard-size varieties, a thinner “wick” can be used.  Again, wicks made of synthetic material, like nylon, are best, since these will not decompose when constantly wet, as will wool yarn, for instance.  Though most growers choose to use a thinner wick for smaller plants, this isn’t absolutely necessary.  The wick will draw only as much water as the plant needs, so that a thicker wick won’t necessarily lead to an overwatered plant.  So long as the soil being used is “light” enough (contains plenty of perlite), wick size is not critically important.  For larger plants in larger pots, it is possible to use to thin/small a wick, since a great volume of water needs to be transported to the soil from the reservoir.

On the other hand, a wick that is too thin may dry out, or become clogged with fertilizer salts, stopping the wicking process.  If you find this happening frequently, use a thicker wick, or try another wicking material.  To restart the wicking action, water the plant thoroughly from the top and completely dampen the wick itself.

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