Question on Hydroton

Here is another question that I recently fielded that I thought I would share:

Hi, Doug. Since there has been a little discussion recently on hydroton I have a question for you. I know you have used some hydroton so are you using it on the hoyas that require more water? ie, like eliptica?

 Randy, the only plant that I am using hydroton on is davidcummingii. Here is my experience with hydroton. Around 3 years ago, this semi-hydro thing was beginning to be all the rage. So (not being one to start slowly) I tried it out on around 15 different plants with largely disappointing results. The biggest success was on lacunosa, which put on super quick growth and bloomed in record time. They all grew quickly at first, and then stalled out, and many started to decline. The method also presents challenges for trellising and hanging, the balls are relatively expensive, transplanting to larger containers is problematic, and they become very heavy. For the rest of my life, I will be finding those stupid little balls in my yard. When I gave up on the method, I threw all of the plants, balls and all, into the back yard.I should try some more experiments with the stuff, but the problem is I am really tapped out on space. Also, you can see how well I make out growing conventionally, and it is hard to mess with success. I will say that growing the way that I do in my growroom and with tents, there is very little room for error. The plants have to be tended to daily with no vacations ever. Hydroton would be much more forgiving of over or under watering mistakes. I say experiment with it a little bit, and see if you like it.

I hope I answered your questions about hydroton. I also want to say one more thing about hydroton. A lot of people say they are growing a lot of plants in it. Where are the photos showing their blooming results? I have seen photos of plants living in semi-hydro, but not showing the kind of results that I can achieve using conventional methods. I have learned my lessons with many of these grow fads. I now need to see much more proof.