Ted byers 2011-12-17 10:21:49
You may have seen these things advertised on TV. They’re basically
blown glass, forming a ball with a long neck, and they’re intended to
be filled with water and then put in the pot, with the neck pushed
into the medium.
I can’t see them working with coarser media, but they seem to work
with my new Cymbidiums.
I received a couple for Christmas, and have used them exclusively to
water my Cymbidiums.
Here are a couple observations that may prove useful.
1) the ease with which they penetrate the medium seems to reflect how
recently the plants were repotted. The pink seems to have been
repotted quite recently, while the yellow has probably not been
repotted in a couple years. Something that is probably correlated
with this is that the pink has half as many pseudobulbs, and seems to
take up only half of the surface of the pot while the yellow looks
like it is crowded, with only a little of the surface of the medium
2) probably due to the state of the medium in the respective pots, the
pink seems to need more water (I need to refill the globe about 3
times as often) than the yellow. I would hazard a guess that it I
gave the yellow as much water as the pink, I’d end up drowning its
roots; I expect its medium is retaining more water and has less pore
space, than the medium supporting the pink.
3) despite the apparent differences in the condition of their media,
both seem to be very happy.
As my experience with Cymbidiums and with aquaglobes is very short,
I’ll know better in a few months if these observations hold true.
Any thoughts, or anyone else with more experience with these things?
Mombu 2011-12-17 10:21:51
i have no experience, but i would think they might concentrate the
water too much in one place, possibly leading to rot…?
Ted byers 2011-12-17 10:21:54
I am not sure that will be a problem. While the water is released
through an outflow about 0.5 cm in diameter, gravity, capiliary action
and diffusion are likely to move the water at a reasonable speed
through the medium, so the volume of medium that is saturated is
likely to be less than 1 cc.
Ted byers 2011-12-17 10:23:05
Well, after a little more experience with these things, they appear to
work fine if you’re dealing with a medium like soil. They worked
fine, for example, with other plants rooted in regular potting soil.
However, while the one in the Cymbidium pot that has not been repotted
in a while still appears to be working adequately, the other one is
not satisfactory. With the plant that has been repotted recently (I
can tell because the medium is so loose and coarse), there are two,
opposite problems. On the one hand, the neck of the globe easily gets
plugged, and this results in no water being delivered. On the other
hand, when you make certain the neck is not plugged, the water drains
In short, these aqua globes appear to be fine with soil, and in
nurturing those orchids where the medium is degraded to the point the
plant ought to be repotted as soon as practicable (e.g. after the
current blooms have faded, or when new growth appears, whatever the
best guidance is for the orchid in question), but with most media that
are suitable for orchids, it is just too coarse for aqua globes to
work as intended.
If one wants that kind of convenience, I suppose one would have to set
up probes to measure water content in the media, feeding that data to
a computer which would provide water automatically once the medium
dries to some programmable level.