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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Aside from potentially influencing a plant's size, are there any other detriments to growing plants out in their own, individual 32Oz, sealed containers? I'm doing this because I have some unrooted cuttings and decided to just go ahead and follow suit for everything else. Thanks in advance.
Plant Houseplant Line Chemical compound Rectangle
 

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If you're using such tiny containers, the margin of error for moisture level gets really narrow. Leaves are pressing against wet plastic as the plant grows. There's a benefit in keeping each plant quarantined from every other plant so you can isolate pests, but that would be eliminated by adding ventilation. Larger grow bins are the most commonly used setup for a reason.

There are some plants I would grow out in cups like that, including filmy ferns, many of the small vining ferns, and Peperomias.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Larger grow bins are the most commonly used setup for a reason.
I see, so it's just better to go the "bin full of sphagnum route" if the plants aren't special despite their very small size unless it's still in the process of rooting?

Do you happen to remember where the recent thread on plant grow outs went? I can't seem to find it and the search function is conflating it with froglet grow outs.
 

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Well, I only do "bin full of sphagnum" for cuttings, I use other substrates like ABG for established plants. Once a plant has rooted, if kept in sphagnum it has about 6 months before crashing. I think it's because grow bins retain so much humidity that they need to be watered infrequently, so there aren't enough nutrients being added via fertilized water and sphagnum is one of the most nutrient-poor substrates out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I use other substrates like ABG for established plants.
Do you know of any widely available alternatives to ABG mix? I can't source tree fern fibers where I'm at and I highly doubt that the gravel substrate that I've been using in my frog tank will work as well given the lack of frogs. Would a bin full of leaf litter suffice? Or maybe normal soil that's been microwaved to remove any hitchhikers?
 

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Dendrobates tinctorus "Patricia"
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For the record, I use those cups for starting all my cuttings, and once rooted I switch them into a terrarium soil substrate but continue to grow in cups (trenta Starbucks cups or 32oz deli cups with vented lids, occasionally I use the plastic gallon jars that some candy is sold in with holes poked in the lids). Large plants will get put in my greenhouse cabinet with the expensive philodendrons, but anything I plan to use in the dart enclosure or in future plant terrarium projects remains in a cup. I have a collection of over 300 plants in the house, and I would be lying to myself if I thought there were no pests hiding around the place, even if I'm not seeing any, so I don't want to risk putting a plant carrying something like spider mites or mealy bugs into a closed container later.

Long-term, you do need some ventilation and nutrients, but I've used greenhouse cups for a long time successfully. I also occasionally fertilize with a very diluted hydroponic plant food since those little containers don't hold a lot of nutrients in such a small amount of soil.
 

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Do you know of any widely available alternatives to ABG mix? I can't source tree fern fibers where I'm at and I highly doubt that the gravel substrate that I've been using in my frog tank will work as well given the lack of frogs. Would a bin full of leaf litter suffice? Or maybe normal soil that's been microwaved to remove any hitchhikers?
There are 'ABG alternatives' sold by repectable vendors with full disclosure of their alternative nature (e.g. NEHerp's V1 and V2). Might check those ingredients lists.
 

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Do you know of any widely available alternatives to ABG mix? I can't source tree fern fibers where I'm at and I highly doubt that the gravel substrate that I've been using in my frog tank will work as well given the lack of frogs. Would a bin full of leaf litter suffice? Or maybe normal soil that's been microwaved to remove any hitchhikers?
ABG really isn’t necessary for this application, you don’t need this soil to last a decade. Regular potting soil would probably work. It might help to amend with something chunkier to add air, like orchid bark, perlite, akadama, etc.
 

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Dendrobates tinctorus "Patricia"
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I use a mix of eco earth type coco fiber, perlite and fine orchid bark, and occasionally a little peat or vermiculite, adjusting the ratio of ingredients based on container size and type of plant, and sometimes skipping the bark in the smallest containers. The first watering gets fertilizer in it since all those ingredients are nutrient-poor.

You do need to keep an eye on moisture content of the media to maintain a balance between too wet and too dry, though the lids designed for culturing fruit flies do a pretty good job of slowing down humidity loss, so I only have to water most containers about every 2-3 weeks. Fertilizer goes in roughly every 2 months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I use a mix of eco earth type coco fiber, perlite and fine orchid bark, and occasionally a little peat or vermiculite, adjusting the ratio of ingredients based on container size and type of plant, and sometimes skipping the bark in the smallest containers. The first watering gets fertilizer in it since all those ingredients are nutrient-poor.
Thanks for the recipe. Is fertilizing absolutely necessary if I plan to add dead leaves?
 

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Dendrobates tinctorus "Patricia"
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Thanks for the recipe. Is fertilizing absolutely necessary if I plan to add dead leaves?
I would, because you aren't going to have the benefit of livestock who are eating and subsequently depositing nutrients into the container, plus you're dealing with a much smaller quantity of substrate for the plants to grow in. A good orchid fertilizer would do the job, and is easily portioned, or you could buy a small jar of Osmacote and just drop a few beads in at startup.

You could experiment though with a thick layer of crunched leaves and some springtails. I think you would still eventually need some more nutrient input in such a tiny system, though the springtails breaking down the leaves might significantly extend the time before that was needed. I would probably do that with a spare plant (like an extra backup prop) though in case it totally crashed or otherwise went sideways.
 

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Yeah you'll probably need some sort of fertilizer eventually. Like the above poster said, lots of leaves and springtails to break stuff down will certainly extend the lifetime of the soil. But eventually certain nutrients will become limiting and the plants will find it hard to grow much more.

Some tropical plants have weird preferences and like certain ratios of nutrients in their fertilizer, so you might want to google what your species like. But typically a rich organic fertilizer like Alaska Fish Fertilizer works well if you dilute it down a lot.
 
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