Soil-free homes for your plants

By NG PAU LING pauline@thestar.com.my

Cleaner growing method for indoor greenery

PLANTS are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in the living space as home-owners are now more aware of their health benefits as well as decorative purpose in sprucing up a particular space.

Most people want a greener home but sometimes struggle with problems such as pests and bugs, overwatering and leaves of indoor plants turning yellow or falling off.

Poor plant growth is often attributed to soil deficiency. The soil itself isn’t necessary for plant growth, but it keeps the mineral nutrients that plants need.

Hydroponics and Pafcal are some of the most popular and easy-to-apply soilless growing methods that retain the functions of soil such as holding the roots, providing support and storing or delivering nutrients to plants.

Consider going soilless when fitting homes with indoor greenery because it creates a cleaner and friendlier growing environment for urban gardening with minimum effort.

Hydroponics

It is a water-based method for growing plants. For a small houseplant, all you need is a container to support the plant which has to hold enough water without leaking and is also aesthetically appealing.
Other materials such as pebbles, perlite, coconut coir and sand can also be added to support the root.

By using the hydroponics system, the mineral nutrients are delivered directly and efficiently from the water to the roots. It avoids the process of expanding the root system downwards for nutrient absorption.

This will help the plant to grow upwards faster and create an intensive growing cycle.

Moreover, it is clean and produces little waste. Problems such as weeds and overwatering (or underwatering) can be controlled and prevented, making it perfect for both home or office gardens.

Desmond Seok said Midorie's Pafcal is perfect for household plants when cleanliness is a top priority.

“Midorie’s Pafcal is perfect for household plants when cleanliness is a top priority,” said Desmond Seok.

Pafcal

This is a soft and sponge-like planting material made from polyurethane and other organic elements.
Invented by the Japanese-based agriculture development brand, it can maintain a 30% water and 70% air ratio from top to bottom, which is the perfect balance for plant growth.

Pafcal is the lightest among the soil substitutes, hence is widely used in vertical gardening.

It is not only suitable for outdoor use but also an easy and accessible planting material for houseplants due to its clean and hygienic characteristics.

“It is made out of neutral material which contains zero bacteria and no decomposing matter that would attract bugs. This eventually benefits the plant’s health, reduces diseases and death,” said Green Planet Midori Sdn Bhd managing director Desmond Seok.

“Generally, the plant death rate of a vertical garden grown in soil is about 30% while Pafcal cuts the figure to about 5%,” added Seok.

Pafcal is moulded in solid cube shape to avoid erosion, and its texture feels like soil.

Just put it in your favourite pot or container, moisten it and place the plant or seed in it. You can start growing the plant.

The best part about Pafcal is that if your plant gets bumped or knocked over, there is no dirty mess to clean up!

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