THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE OCTOPOT DESIGN
How Octopots Work
Octopot Grow Systems patented soil hydroponic hybrid design creates an efficient ecosystem that utilizes the processes of natural plant physiology to maximize plant growth while conserving resources. Octopot Grow Systems simplify cultivation for growers by creating the correct environment for plants to naturally thrive without extra costly inputs.
In nature, plant roots will grow in the direction where the correct environment of air, nutrients and water exists to meet the plant’s needs. The Octopot design provides the correct environment for plants to flourish in both soil and in water. Octopot’s dual root zone design speeds plant growth like hydroponic methods, and produces large plants like soil growing methods.
Plants in Octopots grow similarly to a tree growing next to a pond. Roots form in the soil around the tree to support it and are fed by capillary action, just like a plant in the soil of Octopot’s Gro Sleeve. Tree roots form to reach the pond for consistent unlimited access to water and nutrients, just like the root mass that develops in Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir. Plant roots use the process of plant perception to sense their physical environment and to adapt to it whether in soil or in water.
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How Octopots Work – Terrestrial Root Zone Development
Octopot Grow Systems accelerate the development of plant root architecture inside the soil of the Gro Sleeve® for fast plant growth. Seeds, clones and rooted plant starts thrive in the Octopot Grow System with only one over the top watering at the time of the initial planting. This is the only time it is necessary to water over the top of the soil in an Octopot because it is a bottom feed system. This first over the top watering has three purposes: to establish the plant/seed into the soil, remove air pockets from the soil, and moisten the soil. Moistening the soil sets off the process of capillary action.
Capillary action makes water and nutrients flowing between the soils particles available to seedlings and young plant roots in the Octopot Grow System. Water and nutrients flow upward from Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir through the Hydro Wick into the soil.
The cup portion of the Hydro Wick® submerges a percentage of soil in the water of the Hydro Reservoir. Never fill the cup with anything except Octopot’s recommended soil blend. The soil naturally wicks water upward keeping correct amounts of water and nutrients continuously flowing to young plants and seedlings.
Warning: It is important not to water over the top of the soil after the initial planting in an Octopot Grow System as it will interfere with healthy plant root development. Watering over the top of the Octopot Grow System signals plant roots to stay close to the top of the soil where they will expect frequent delivery of water and develop weak root systems. Using Octopot Grow Systems as recommended is the most successful way to cultivate.
How Octopots Work – Moisture Gradient
Octopot’s unique design creates a moisture gradient inside the soil profile allowing young plants and seedlings to establish roots where optimum moisture conditions exist for their particular plant species.
Octopot Grow Systems precise ratio of soil and water creates a moisture gradient that is controlled by Octopot’s Hydro Wick®. In general, the distribution of vascular plant roots within soil depends on plant form, the spatial and temporal availability of water and nutrients, and the physical properties of the soil. In contrast to other wicking planters, Octopot Grow Systems create a moisture gradient throughout the entire soil profile. Rapid root development occurs because plants seek out and find their optimal moisture levels.
Octopot’s moisture gradient supplies plant roots with continuous hydration, prevents plants from being over or under watered, and speeds the process of transpiration by making moisture consistently available. Transpiration is the process that provides plants with nutrients, water, evaporative cooling, and carbon dioxide entry. The Octopot design eliminates harmful periods of drought and drowning that can cause plant stress and inhibit plant growth.
The physical properties of the soil are vital to the success of plant growth in the Octopot. Octopot’s moisture gradient is dependent upon the correct soil conditions. Octopot Grow Systems require a high quality well-aerated growing media that promotes high air capacity, specifically 60% high quality soilless mix with 40% perlite.
Octopot’s moisture gradient supplies water to plant roots and Octopot’s exclusive Gro Sleeve® aerates the soil. The aerated environment of Octopot’s Gro Sleeve® promotes root pruning producing exponential root growth for healthy productive plants. The benefit to plants is an increase in the rate of capillary action and the process of transpiration which results in faster water and nutrient uptake correlating to a faster rate of plant growth.
How Octopots Work – Hydroponic Root Zone Development
The determination of a plant root to seek out the correct environmental needs of the plant can be very strong. Over time, given the right conditions, roots can crack foundations, snap water lines, and lift sidewalks. Once plant roots find the water they are searching for they continue to grow very rapidly. For example, any septic professional can tell you a story or two of how they have discovered and removed very large roots balls up to several hundred pounds from a septic system. These root balls are very difficult to remove and are only limited by the space they inhabit.
Octopot’s moisture gradient signals plant roots to push downward toward the water in the Hydro Reservoir, a plant process called Hydrotropism. Plant roots elongate to push the root tip forward in the soil. The root cap senses water and sends a signal to the elongated part of the root. As young plant roots leave the soil to enter the water in Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir they undergo morphological changes.
Root cells differentiate and mature into specialized cells of the root tissues as they adapt to the watery conditions of the Hydro Reservoir. Octopot’s Hydro Wick® and Hydro Reservoir create the correct microclimate and expose plant roots to darkness and high humidity levels. The microclimate in an Octopot Grow System allows plant roots to make the morphological changes necessary for abundant life in a hydroponic environment.
Water and nutrients are added to the Hydro Reservoir to nourish the plant throughout its lifecycle. The closed loop system wastes nothing from washout so it requires fertilizer amounts to be reduced by one half or more.
Plant roots in Octopot Grow Systems transform their root architecture as they grow down into Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir. The size and structure of a plant’s hydroponic root zone is specific to the plant’s species. For example, plants that require dryer conditions may send down fewer roots into Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir than a moisture loving plant that may fill the Hydro Reservoir with root mass.
How Octopots Work – Oxygenation
Plant roots require oxygen. Octopot’s unique design provides the correct amounts of oxygen to the Hydroponic Root Zone without added equipment dependent upon power. This oxygenated environment keeps the Hydroponic Root Zone healthy and eliminates conditions that cause stagnant water and root rot.
In general, oxygen is attracted to water. Octopots are designed with a precise surface area of water in the Hydro Reservoir to trigger the natural atmospheric exchange at the surface area of the water. Dissolved oxygen present in the water of Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir reflects a balance between oxygen producing processes (e.g. photosynthesis) and oxygen consuming processes (e.g. aerobic respiration). Octopot Grow Systems create an oxygen rich environment where dissolved oxygen is added to and removed from the system by natural atmospheric exchange (aeration and degassing).
Octopot’s design provides the correct balance of water and oxygen necessary to maintain healthy conditions for a plant’s Hydroponic Root Zone to thrive. Adding oxygen to the Octopot Reservoir is not necessary. Using air stones can cause pH levels to spike. See FAQ page for details.