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How to plant a Dirt Ball?

How to plant a Dirt Ball?

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In this article, we will cover the process of planting water (and other) plants into Dirt Balls.

If we have already selected suitable plants, which have been converted to their emersed form, we can start with planting! We will need a pair of planting tweezers.

Planting stem plants

First, we will make a hole into the Dirt Ball with closed tweezers, into which we will later put the plant. The hole should be deep enough to go into the substrate inside the ball, which means about 2-3 centimeters deep.

We then put the stem of the plant into the created hole. The part of the stem which goes into the substrate should have all the leaves removed. We put the stem in using tweezers or our fingers. The stem should be inserted deep enough (at least 2cm) so that plants can get ample moisture intake and root properly.

We repeat this process for all stems.

Planting plants with creeping stems (e.g. Hydrocotyle)

When using plants with a creeping stem, we use a process similar to the one explained above.

First, we make a hole into the Dirt Ball, about 2cm deep.

Then, we put one of the plant’s nodes into this hole (it is also possible to remove the node’s leaf).

If planted this way, the plant will have ample access to moisture through its roots and the rest of the nodes will eventually attach themselves to the ball as well. We can encourage this process by tying the rest of the plant to the ball with a thread this way.

Covering the ball with aquatic moss

Lots of aquascapers cover Dirt Balls with moss prior to planting to achieve a more natural effect. The moss has sufficient access to moisture on the surface of the ball and therefore thrives even though it grows emersed. How can we do that?

We simply cover the whole ball with our aquatic moss of choice and we tie it down using a thread. The moss will then slowly convert to its emersed mode of growth and will cover the ball with a lush green carpet.

Planting bigger species

Have you decided to experiment with larger plants? Do you want to try planting Cryptocoryne species or even Echinodorus? Simply make a larger hole in the Dirt ball and put the plant in it. We, at OPAquatics, even grow Spathiphyllum in our Dirt Balls!

In conclusion

Planting Wabikusa balls is a relatively easy and quite satisfying activity, during which literally every stem goes through your fingers. That gives you total and precise control of your planting plan and allows you to carefully create the overall design of your whole project.

© OPAquatics 2022 (Autor: Pavel Ottl)