Thoughts On Wick Watering

wick (wik), n[AS. weoca],a piece of cord or tape, or a thin bundle of threads.

In other words wick watering is one of the best ideas that I have found to aid in maintaining the correct moisture content of African violets or for that matter most any other plant that I know of. There seems to be a large variety of ideas on how to wick water, what I shall attempt to do is to tell and show through links to click on what works for me. There will also be a few ideas added that I have not used but have heard of. I wick everything in my plant room if I didn't I would have them to wet or to dry or worse yet dead.

Enough said lets get down to the how to of wick watering. First and most important is the wicking material, the wick material can be any thing that is not a natural fiber (natural fibers will decay over time) three of the most common materials used for wicks are:

  1. Panty hose strips
  2. Acrylic yarn
  3. Nylon cord

Nylon cord is my choice of wicks, the cord that I use is a size 36, and the best place that I have found to purchase this is in a sporting goods department where it is sold as a seine twine.

Second is the pot, I have not found any size of container that can not be wicked. Needless to say whatever type of container that you have chosen must have a hole in the bottom of it. The container that I use the most of is a 3 ounce Solo cup, therefore it needs to have a hole in the bottom. There are several ways to get a hole in containers among them are drills, ice picks, nails, and my preference an inexpensive electric soldering iron.

Now that we have all of the necessary items collected in let us get down to work. I first soak all the wicks that I have cut (cut them about 8-9 inches long for the Solo cups) in a container of water while I am working. Take you damp wick and insert it through the hole in the bottom and hold it up along the side of the cup and fill the cup 1/4 to 1/3 full of your chosen soil mixture. I then like to lay the wick in a circle on top of the soil. Finish filling the cup up with soil if you are potting up leaves or put just a small amount of soil in if you potting up a plant and then fill in around the plant. Basically we are done, from here I like to put all the cups in a tray with a small amount of water in it to all the soil and wick to become thoroughly wet with water before placing them on a reservoir or tray with a capillary mat of some sort.

To answer a lot of questions that I receive, yes I do wick the plants that are to be placed on a capillary mat. Since the plant is wicked I feel like it just makes that much more contact with the capillary mat, and also if I should for some reason want to put it on a reservoir the plant is already wicked.

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