Sunday, August 2, 2015

Exploring Basic Hydroponics

Readers will need to excuse my drawings as I have never been an illustrator.  

Up until now I have grown hosta with a soil medium.  We've all heard of cases where someone has a vase of flowers and a leaf, or stem, might start growing on it's own.  To explore this for the next few weeks I am going to see if I can prompt some hosta leaves to produce rhizome systems on their own simply by using water and liquid fertilizer.  Well ok I'll throw in a sponge, and maybe some Gro-Dan™ cubes along the way, to hold the leaf above the water.

Over the years I have planted hundreds of hosta divisions.  Some of the most amazing ones have been the ones with almost no rhizomes seen, but rather those leaves that have had the hint of only a few hairs of rhizomes at the very end.  I have done this MORE than once and have gotten favorable results.  This gardening challenge for me takes the situation one step earlier in the problem where the leaves has no rhizomes to work with.

The hosta I am going to take leaves from are Frosted Mouse Ears (two leaves), since I recently lost a plant of that; and Masquerade (four leaves) since I have wanted to add more of that variety.  I need to stress I have read a few posts online where others say this can be done - however they never say what variety they had success with.

This project will be conducted in two styles: one with a sponge to hold leaves up and then do a second round with some Gro-Dan™ cubes.  I suspect this will be a short project of about one month; two weeks with the sponge and then again another two weeks with the cubes [presuming that the second try is necessary].  Note that if the varieties had larger petiole I would use some form of glass, or vase.

Diagram A: The Sponge and the slits
Diagram B: Growing Arraignment 

8/1/15: Using the diagrams above I have set this exploration up.  I find that the sponge being employed is a bit thicker than what was anticipated and so some of the leaves barely have any surface to get light.  That might impede this project.  As I am an optimist the project moves forward.

8/ 9/15: The initial appraisal from my growing suggests that the nutrients were taken up.  The leaves from Masquerade where shriveled and not doing well, where as the leaves from the Frosted Mouse Ears looks very healthy - but no rhizomes seen.  I am being a little greedy with myself and have decided to wait to do the second half of this exploration 'later' when the previous hostas might be bigger.  I have plated the Frosted Mouse Ears leaves in the half hopes that they will continue.  The Hosta adage of "If the leaf touches the ground; then it does not have long." may take a toll on these two leaves.

[Project to be continued later ... ]


  1. Oasis Hydroponics Birmingham supplying hydroponic systems, grow lights, grow tents and other indoor gardening supplies. Secure UK based website.

  2. Yes, I understand that hydroponics can be a cutting edge growing alternative system. Readers may wish to focus on the fact that what was presented in this journal entry was the bottom of the barrel, low end, laymans first look at this. Persons can spend hundreds of dollars setting themselves up with a hydroponics growing station. This was presented because there were reports of hosta leaves regrowing simply from passively being left in vases; and that was the exploration being studied.

    I will return to this exploration sometime during 2016 with another attempt. My plans for early 2016 will be to actually sit down with someone who is actively doing hydroponics locally in St. Paul, MN and also look at collecting larger hosta leaves for the next attempt at this exploration of simplified hydroponic and Hosta.