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saramc

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Reply with quote  #1 
Has anyone used the SmartPots? They porous fabric pots which air prune the roots as they hit the edge of the pot.  http://www.smartpots.com/      I have been reading about them for a few weeks now, and I am thinking they would be great.  They are re-usable, they can stand unsupported when filled with media, they come with or without handles, roots don't circle when grown in them so you don't have to repot as often, and are available 1 gallon to 400 gallon size. Seem reasonably priced.  I am thinking of buying a few and compare SmartPot fig vs. other planter styles.

Thoughts? Experience? 

Thanks in advance.

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Suburb near Louisville, KY//zone 5b-6b
nkesh099

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Reply with quote  #2 
They will dry out fast in hot weather, so you need to water them more often. Other than that they would work great. Last season I took a 5 gallon pot and drilled lots of holes around its wall (kind of the Root-maker pots), and planted my young VDB in it to see how it would grow when the root system gets more oxygen. That tree grew so vigorously in 3 months that I end up re-potting it in a 15 gallon pot. 
When the root system gets more oxygen, the tree will grow faster and much better looking than the trees in other regular pots that have only drainage holes at the bottom.
I do remember I had to water that pot more often than my other pots
One more thing, don't place your Smarpot on directly on the concrete patio or in a empty pot. Dig a hole in the ground (6 inches or so) and place it in there, roots will be cooler in hot summer days and you don't have to water them so much, the pot's fabric will wick some moisture through the ground. 


snaglpus

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Reply with quote  #3 

I use something similar called superoot pots.  Ebay has them but they are more expensive there.  Superoot pots does the same thing.  They work very well.  I mostly use them after I've rooted cuttings.  You do have to water trees more than normal.  Also make sure your soil IS NOT FAST DRAINING.  Al's mix will not work at all in superoot pots.  But it the mix may work using those other pots you mentioned.  You will receive a nice thick root ball within months of using these pots.  Here is a pic of superoot pots.  And yes they are very reuseable and lay flat when not in use.  See below.  cheers,

Attached Images
jpeg Picture_013_1.jpg (999.73 KB, 197 views)
jpeg Picture_021_1.jpg (970.72 KB, 185 views)


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Dennis
Charlotte, North Carolina/Zone 8a 

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Reply with quote  #4 
I just bought some 5gallon RootMaker pots for some plants i wanted to build strong root systems before i plant in ground.
Some of their products look like the pic above, but they are kinda expensive.

Not sure how well they work though. Think i read these type of systems work well though.

saramc

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Reply with quote  #5 

I also know the super-root/rootmaker pots as "air pots", http://www.growers-inc.com/air-pots.html . Was not quite sure how they did for long term use but they do look great for building a great root system.


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snaglpus

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Reply with quote  #6 
You are correct Sara!  The root ball after few months in these pot is very thick and strong!  I like these pots but wish they were white.  I learned a hard lesson this past winter using these pots.  I had a lot of small trees in .8 gallon pots inside my garage.  Well I let the temperature inside my GH get down to 30 degrees over winter and I lost about 5 trees.  I think the cold air exposure to the direct contact to the root didn't help them.  But 97% of those outside did survive.  I am trying to get the other 3% to bounce back.  Time will tell.  cheers,

 I left all my trees in these containers outside in my greenhouse over winter.  I did not 

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Dennis
Charlotte, North Carolina/Zone 8a 

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Reply with quote  #7 
I grew strawberries in a smart pot a few years ago. Tiny roots grew through the fabric into the soil under the pot, which I think helped the plant. When I moved the pot, it felt like it was glued to the ground. It was difficult to remove the plant - I ended up cutting the smart pot, partly to prevent root damage, partly because there was a black widow spider in the pot. If I use them again it will be for something like mints that I don't want inground.

The air pots look very interesting, let us know if you try those.
bigsmile542

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Reply with quote  #8 
I just put my starter plant figs in super air pots today. Is anyone still using them for the long term container figs. 10 gallon or larger.

Zone 8
South West TX
Wish list.
Marseilles Black VS Found on on ebay. last week

4/13
Found this good info about root pruning
ttp://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=14&ved=0CHIQFjAN&url=http%3A%2F%2Fetd.auburn.edu%2Fetd%2Fbitstream%2Fhandle%2F10415%2F2798%2Ffinal%2520thesis%252016%2520august%25202011.pdf%3Fsequence%3D2&ei=Vx9qUZO7AoKRrQGk6IC4Cw&usg=AFQjCNEfXA6wHV1evEuriAQWq85TnAAcWQ&sig2=7ESkdl5QfWQ_EXr24r5H0w&bvm=bv.45175338,d.aWM

Also here is white soft bag that aids in water conservation
Called a
RootTrapper II Soft Sided Containers.
http://www.everestgardensupply.com/index_CON.php
There is even a propagation cell that root prunes.
Smaritza

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Reply with quote  #9 
I use SmartPots for most of my plants. I do water more frequently in the summer, but that's ok by me. I found something similar at Greenhousemegastore .com
called Root Pouches. They are a little cheaper and come in different life spans. I'll probably change all my pots to fabric type pot. I like them.

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Smaritza
Bronx, NY
Wishing for: Ronde de Bordeaux, Aubique Petit, Pananas Purple, Longue d Aout, Lebanese Red, Ischia Black, Scott's Black, Martineca Rimada,
Tarantella, Jolly Tiger, Nero,
Figaro

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Reply with quote  #10 
I use SmartPots on most of my plants, too, and love them.  But, I do usually wait until the plant is fairly mature and ready to transplant to a larger container before it goes into a SmartPot.  This is because the roots will grow into the SmartPot and it's virtually impossible to transplant without damaging some of the roots.  So, I have several one gallon SmartPots I've never used for this reason.
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============================
[B]Figaro Zone 10b - South Florida[/I]
Growing: Black Mission, Strawberry Verte, LSU Hollier, LSU Purple, LSU Scotts Black, Cajun Gold, Panachee, Excel, UCR 291-4, UCR 143-36, Violette de Bordeaux, Ronde de Bordeaux, Calvert,  Black Madeira, Col De Dame Blanc
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 CdDN, CdDG, Ischia Black, Galicia Negra
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rcantor

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Reply with quote  #11 
I asked the manufacturer and they said the lifespan of the fabric pots was 3 years.  That makes them too expensive for me.
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Zone 6, MO

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Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig
Figaro

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcantor
I asked the manufacturer and they said the lifespan of the fabric pots was 3 years.  That makes them too expensive for me.


The 15 gallon SmartPots cost less than $15/each if you buy from a distributor, which is about the same, or less, than I pay for the same size plastic container.  I usually don't get three years on the plastiic containers since they get brittle in the sun (the salt air down here probably contributes, too) and will crack even if I'm just trying to lift or move a heavy pot.

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============================
[B]Figaro Zone 10b - South Florida[/I]
Growing: Black Mission, Strawberry Verte, LSU Hollier, LSU Purple, LSU Scotts Black, Cajun Gold, Panachee, Excel, UCR 291-4, UCR 143-36, Violette de Bordeaux, Ronde de Bordeaux, Calvert,  Black Madeira, Col De Dame Blanc
Wish List:
 CdDN, CdDG, Ischia Black, Galicia Negra
============================
ChillyNPhilly

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Reply with quote  #13 

Inspired by a visit to a local garden center, I came home a sewed up a DIY smart pot. I hope it disintegrates in a year or so, then I won't have to worry about botching a transplant. My concern is that there could be chemicals in the fabric I used (a fat polyester interfacing). Oh well, we're all swimming in toxins all day everyday anyhow, so I guess I'm going to say Oh What the Heck and let 'er rip. I put an Angelo's Dark in this DIY job, and another Angelo's Dark in a conventional garden pot. Let the games begin.

Attached Images
jpeg smart_pot.JPG (207.71 KB, 86 views)
jpeg smartpot.JPG (301.21 KB, 23 views)


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Donna
Philadelphia Zone 7

SoniSoni

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChillyNPhilly

Inspired by a visit to a local garden center, I came home a sewed up a DIY smart pot. I hope it disintegrates in a year or so, then I won't have to worry about botching a transplant. My concern is that there could be chemicals in the fabric I used (a fat polyester interfacing). Oh well, we're all swimming in toxins all day everyday anyhow, so I guess I'm going to say Oh What the Heck and let 'er rip. I put an Angelo's Dark in this DIY job, and another Angelo's Dark in a conventional garden pot. Let the games begin.


You're a smart cookie!  IMHO If we can wear toxic clothing so can our figs. :-)   if it doesnt disintergrate it'll be easy to cut a few places before you pot it.   .. I wonder how long cotton fabric would hold up.

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javajunkie

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Reply with quote  #15 
On those super root maker pots how do you keep the dirt in? The bottom looks precarious.
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Tami
SE Texas
ChillyNPhilly

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Reply with quote  #16 
The bottom round part is sewed together with the body, it's just like a regular pot except the whole thing is fabric. The water seeps out the bottom, you don't need any holes.
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Donna
Philadelphia Zone 7
javajunkie

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Reply with quote  #17 
Sorry for the confusion. I was talking about the ones Dennis is using and on the link Sara listed.

I think the cloth pots are awesome but the cost is holding me back. I got soft plastic 1 gallon pots on ebay from a company in Oregon and it was $22 for 50.

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Tami
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ChillyNPhilly

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Reply with quote  #18 
OIC:) That's a good price. Are they working well?

Here is the unfilled DIY smartpot. Maybe I'll make a gigantic one tomorrow.

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jpeg smartpot1.jpg (221.15 KB, 56 views)


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Donna
Philadelphia Zone 7

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Reply with quote  #19 
My hat is off to you willing to do all that sewing. I got rid of my sewing machine because I despise the whole process. Being the kind soul she is...my daughter bought me another one URGH!

I am okay with the pots I got but I would prefer the rigid ones. I feel like every time I move the pot I am risking the roots so I had to buy totes to carry them around in because half of them are doing the in and out right now. I don't think that would be a problem with the cloth but mine are just rigid enough so that the side moves, am I making any sense?

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Tami
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Reply with quote  #20 
Very innovative Donna, I think you should make more and mix and match colors
HarveyC

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Reply with quote  #21 
Donna, great job.  I think on some marijuana forum (rollitup?) I once saw that someone was making their own and using weed block fabric.
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tandmadd

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Reply with quote  #22 
I use smart pots on all of my fig trees- 7-10 Gal. sizes and so far, so good. I'm relatively new to gardening and I like the fact that I can water my plant and the excess water will easily drain out. The weather hasn't been too hot yet so maybe its too early to say but I've only had to water my fig trees every 5-7days so far. I buy them at a local hydroponic store and they are a little cheaper than online (amazon).
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------------------ Tina Southern CA, 10B wish list: col de dame noir, black ischia, ronde de Bordeaux, any other dark figs
currently growing: violet de bordeaux, peters honey, panachee, black mission, verte, atreano
attempting to root: tena, sucrette, golden celeste, black madera, col de dame (not sure of color), pied de bouf, and early violet
fedy

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Reply with quote  #23 
I use something similar called Smart bags. :)   Free.

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jpeg 11.jpg (709.13 KB, 117 views)
jpeg IMG_2488.jpg (762.77 KB, 106 views)

fortisi876

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Reply with quote  #24 
Well, I finally ordered me up some of those AirPots, look forward to giving them a try once I get some cuttings going.  



ChillyNPhilly

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Reply with quote  #25 
Wow Fedy you have the ultimate. I think yours are the Smartest Pots:))

Quote:
Originally Posted by fedy
I use something similar called Smart bags. :)   Free.

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Donna
Philadelphia Zone 7
ChillyNPhilly

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Reply with quote  #26 
Here is an update

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChillyNPhilly

Inspired by a visit to a local garden center, I came home a sewed up a DIY smart pot. I hope it disintegrates in a year or so, then I won't have to worry about botching a transplant. My concern is that there could be chemicals in the fabric I used (a fat polyester interfacing). Oh well, we're all swimming in toxins all day everyday anyhow, so I guess I'm going to say Oh What the Heck and let 'er rip. I put an Angelo's Dark in this DIY job, and another Angelo's Dark in a conventional garden pot. Let the games begin.

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jpeg smartpot.JPG (301.21 KB, 44 views)


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Donna
Philadelphia Zone 7

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Reply with quote  #27 
I haven't used any of the commercially available products, but have fabricated "pot Liners" for 3 gallon pots and half of my 5 gallon buckets. I have made them for 1 gallon containers, but they do not work as well in smaller sizes. The liners were made from spun landscape weed block fabric. They have worked quite well and make up potting or removal from containers extremely easy. I have been able to inspect the root growth without disturbing the roots, by turning the container on its side and sliding out the potting mix and plant together. They also work as advertised, increasing branching and growth of feeder roots.
1. The fabric is cut with scissors, the height of the bucket and long enough to overlap when placed inside.
2. The top of the fabric is cut even with the top of the bucket with scissors, after planting and filling with potting mix.

Pictured are several buckets with liners visible above the soil line.
The commercial Pot Liners are described at this website... http://www.treebag.com/pot_pruner.html

A You Tube video is here...

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jpeg pot_liners_in_buckets.jpg (316.86 KB, 358 views)

javajunkie

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Reply with quote  #28 
Love it Fedy, reminds me of when we lived in the Philippines.
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Tami
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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #29 
After seeing Donna's hand sewn pots in person I decided to copy it and one particular commercially available starter pot to replace my 1 gallon container stage. Here's the final product. Its a 2 quart, 4 inch square, 8 inch deep air root pruning fig starter pot. Its made from spun landscape fabric. 10 bags fit in a standard 10 x 20 seedling tray. Attached is the build sequence with the directions. They are surprisingly sturdy and will open easily without disturbing the root ball.

1. Materials needed 12 x 18 piece of spun landscape weed barrier (commercial grade), scissors or razor knife, safety pin, stapler, tape measure, empty 2 quart container.

2. Wrap the fabric around the container (18 in. dimension) and place 2 staples top and bottom, keep the staple flanges (legs) on the outside for easy removal and up potting.

3. Fold over fabric to make bottom flap, align fabric top with top edge of 2 qt container, staple bottom.

4. Keep flap flat to bottom with safety pin.

5. The bag is complete and its free standing.

6 Plant rooted cutting in coarse, moist cutting mix, place in 10 x 20 seedling tray.

BTW it took a lot longer to type this than to make 6 of these bags : )

Attached Images
jpeg air_starter_pot_1.jpg (151.03 KB, 68 views)
jpeg air_starter_pot_2.jpg (140.96 KB, 64 views)
jpeg air_starter_pot_3.jpg (139.24 KB, 67 views)
jpeg air_starter_pot_4rev1.jpg (145.32 KB, 65 views)
jpeg air_starter_pot_5.jpg (132.79 KB, 73 views)
jpeg air_starter_pot_6.jpg (150.11 KB, 80 views)

ChillyNPhilly

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Reply with quote  #30 
I cannot believe that I somehow missed Pete's update. This is awesome Pete. The safety pin at the bottom is good. How have they been working out for you?

The plants I have in "smart pots" are a lot bigger than the others. I have a KB that turned into a tree. My only concern is overwintering per Dennis above. I will put them in conventional pots before they go to sleep.

ps My Tim's light has 3 figs but it is not doing anything vegetatively. ???

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Donna
Philadelphia Zone 7
Figsation

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Reply with quote  #31 
Pete,

Wow what a great idea. Could you elaborate on how you make the pot liner out of the landscape cloth? (How is it held together on the bottom?)

Why does this liner work even though the solid pot is still there?

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Figsation

Coastal California Zone 10a
ascpete

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Reply with quote  #32 
Donna,
They work quite well, they are easy to fill and plant... But they dry out too quickly from the exposed sides. The commercial ones are actually designed to be placed in the hollows of an 8 inch cinder block.
If they were placed in a container with sides (10 by 20 seed tray with 6 - 8 inch sides?), they would almost be perfect starter pots.

I would remove the two younger figs (ones at the top), they are probably using some of the plants limited energy. Its using resources to ripen figs instead of growing.


Figsation,
The pot liner is just a flat piece of landscape fabric. The Length is the circumference (3.14 x diameter of pot) of the container plus 6-8 inches for an overlap and the width is the height of the container. For a 10 inch deep 12 inch diameter container the landscape fabric should be 10 inched wide by 46 inches long. It is rolled into a cylinder and placed into the container , the container is filled with some potting mix, then the plant is inserted and potting mix is placed around the plant. The extra material sticking up above the rim of the container is cut away with scissors or utility razor. There usually is no bottom, but I did make a few circles out of landscape fabric and placed them in the bottom of a few containers as a test (inconclusive).

If you go to the linked website in post #27 its explained. It simply creates an air gap, which insulates (isolates) the soil from the container. Though the main advantage is promoting "root branching".
HarveyC

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Reply with quote  #33 
Just a minor technical point about the fabric barriers.  They do not "air prune" or "prune roots".  They entrap the apical tip of roots which results in the loss of apical dominance and thus the branching.  The three methods I've tried involve air pruning, entrapment, and chemical "burning" (copper paint product).  I like the coarse roughness and white exterior of the RootTrapper pots the best but they are pricey and difficult to re-use.
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Jed

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Reply with quote  #34 
I have used Smart Pots for several plants, including garlic and shallots which worked well for me. Carpet Roses also did very well in a 3 gallon Smart Pot. After a year, I transplanted it into a 7 gallon Planter Pot. I may transplant it again since it is growing so well.

My Dogs are the Mother and Father of Invention: since they eat the leaves off of my young fig trees, I had placed the 5 gallon pot into a 15 gallon pot that is filled with very small amount of soil and worms at the bottom and about 3/4ths full of Perlite. So the 5 gallon pot sits on top of Perlite and is surrounded by Perlite. I had the idea that maybe the VdB roots would be enticed to reach down through the Planter Pot (not Smart Pot) holes and seek out the nice wormy soil beneath. I do not know if red worms eat roots. They have not eaten my Blackberry roots: they thrive with large handful of worms embedded into the soil. This week, I added wood chips into the Perlite and onto the inner 5 gallon pot because it so hot here that I have to water twice a day some days.

So, since I had the Planter Pots embedded inside the Perlite, I was thinking that I should try a Smart Pot embedded inside a 15 gallon Planter Pot filled with Perlite. I would not need the soil at the bottom since the concept would be merely to grow nice roots.

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