There are a couple of things indoor gardeners can borrow from hydroponic gardening, including a surprising hack to make water propagations grow faster.
An air stone is often used in a hydroponics system to help add oxygen to the water.
When that technique is used for propagating, the increased oxygen in the water encourages the roots to grow faster.
Personally, I’ve had a hard time rooting raphaidora tetrasperma, aka mini monstera, but with this method, I’ve been able to root them successfully.
How does an airstone work?
An air stone is a piece of porous stone that can deliver oxygen bubbles into the water. Air from an air pump is pushed through an air stone and air bubbles come out, that’s why it is also called a “bubbler.” Air stones are typically used in aquariums for fish. An air stone or air diffuser is placed in the hydroponic reservoir in a hydroponic system.
The aeration not only adds oxygen but the surface agitation is also good for plant roots. The oxygen bubbles help the plant roots absorb the nutrient solution better, which ultimately is great for plant growth. Plant roots love oxygen in general! Even when in soil, oxygen is introduced through agitation when worms and other bugs move around. And the more oxygen there is in the soil, the less chance for harmful bacteria to grow and make plant roots sick.
Keep in mind that the air stone is brittle, it cracks easily and can break apart, so don’t let it drop or fall to the ground. Also, make sure to place it in water before plugging in the air pump. And unplug the air pump first before removing the air stone. You’ll also have to clean air stones, just give them a gentle scrub every so often.
PRO TIP: These make great gifts for plant lovers 😉
How to use an air stone for plants
It is super easy to set up this type of water propagation. Here’s what you’ll need:
I got the water pump, tubes, and airstone for around $15 on Amazon. You can also get it from pet supply stores.
All you have to do is connect the airstone to the water pump with the air tubing, place it in a vase with water, plug it in to get the tiny bubbles started, and leave the cuttings to root.
Some people who have fish as pets and use fresh water in their aquariums, plop their propagations right into the fish tank. Of course, an aquarium needs an oxygen source so they either use multiple air stones or a sponge filter. They also use water from the tank to water their plants, which is another kind of fertilizer. (This has got me thinking, and I might try this out next!)
more about hydroponics
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- The Best Complete Indoor Hydroponic Grow System
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- Aerogarden review: AeroGarden Harvest Elite [TESTED]
- How does Aerogarden work? Here’s how to use it
- The best hydroponic fertilizer for indoor gardening