Florafelt Recirc Line – Installation Guide
Florafelt Recirc Systems are the ultimate luxury in personal vertical gardening. In minutes you can begin planting your own vertical garden. But first you must make some decisions about where to place your garden and plant choices. Here are some things to consider.
Existing room light is the minimal any plant can grow in so you’ll want to add a track lighting system so you can position High Power LED Full Spectrum Grow Bulbs with focused beams on the living wall. This is still considered a low light planting location so plan on low light indoor tropical plants that are native to the forest floor.
Bright indirect light across from a bank of windows is an indoor tropical favorite. They will reach across to the light aligning their leaves to the source and make a perfect display. Direct light on them may cause burning, but a couple hours of direct light passing over the area should be ok.
A sunny deck with full day sun is perfect for growing herbs and vegetables, flowers and succulents. Partial sun is great for lettuce or ferns and most plants. A shady wall is good for ferns.
The Florafelt Recric unit contains a water pump that recirculates water to the top of the felt pockets. The plug in timer should be set to run 30 minutes, once a day. There will need to be a 110V grounded 3-prong outlet with reliable power always on nearby.
For tipping safety the Recirc 33 unit ships with wall mounting brackets that make it possible to structurally connect the top of the planter to the wall behind it. This prevents the possibility of the unit falling forward. The Recirc 33 unit has a 20 gallon tank that adds 160 lbs of weight to the unit. It must be placed on a solid surface preferably the floor. Designers can also custom build the units into the carpentry of buildings for integrated living wall designs. The Recirc 33 Free Standing unit does not need to be attached to a wall. The Recirc 24 Wall unit is designed to be mounted on the wall using cleats which are included and attached to the planter frame. See more details below.
Florafelt planters are intended for water-safe areas. Generally water will remain within the unit however there is always the possibility that water can drip from the leaves of plants, or roots can direct water outside of the unit during water cycling periods. If you intend to use the unit indoors over wood floors or carpeting use extra caution to observe the unit during pump operation. Use common sense when placing the unit and be willing to clean up occasional plant mess or moisture leakage.
Recirc units are not designed handle freezing temperatures and freezing water in their tanks. Expansion of freezing ice may damage the tank and cause leaks.
A thriving garden requires love. Daily watering is automatic which plants love. The water tank should be checked weekly for topping off. Do not add water while the unit is on. Water will continue to drip from the planter and cause overflow. Wait one hour after the pump cycle or when all water has stopped dripping from the felt planter. Tank draining and water replacement is recommended every 4 to 6 months to prevent salt and mineral buildup from fertilizers.
With each watering a tablespoon of gentle organic based fertilizer is suggested. We have had good success with most plants using Maxsea 16:16:16. One teaspoon added weekly is recommended.
Children and Pets
All gardens are at risk to the terrors of youth and fauna. Use caution as some plants are toxic and must be selected carefully. Florafelt can be damaged by claws, teeth, and beaks. The Recirc unit can tip over if attempted to climb. Use common sense and be selective about placement.
Remove packing materials being careful not to scratch the finish of the unit. Then remove the loose contents of the water tank. To include:
• 3-prong Plug-in Digital Timer
• Root Wrappers (1 per pocket)
• Wall Tipping Support Brackets (Recirc-33 Only)
• Wall Mount Cleat (Recirc-24 Only)
• Pump Cord (Connected to the pump from the back)
• Plastic Packing Sheet (To stabilize pump during shipping)
Recirc-33 Tipping Support Brackets
The Recirc-33 unit is designed to rest the weight of it’s tank on a flat level surface. Due to it’s height the unit may have the tendency to tip forward as plant materials grow in. To prevent this use the small metal brackets at the top of the unit.
Provided wall mounting brackets allow the unit to be attached at the top to prevent the unit from tipping forward from normal use. The unit must rest on a solid surface. The wall supports are strongly recommended when the unit is permanently installed on a wall surface.
• Replace top frame cap screws with provided stainless steel wall
• Align bracket vertically so they are seen at the top edge.
• Use bolts or drywall molly bolts (not included) to attach the top
of the unit to the wall. Use spacers to prevent brackets from
scratching the unit surface.
• If you are unsure about the connection consult a local builder
or handy person to assist.
PREVENT TIPPING: USE PROVIDED WALL SUPPORT BRACKETS TO ATTACH THE TOP OF PLANTER TO WALL. THE UNIT MUST REST ON A SOLID SURFACE. THE BRACKETS WILL NOT SUPPORT THE ENTIRE WEIGHT OF THE UNIT. THEY ARE INTENDED TO PREVENT THE UNIT FROM TIPPING FORWARD.
Recirc-24 Wall Mount Cleat
The smaller Recirc-24 unit can be mounted on the wall and hung from the provided wall mount cleat. Use the provided drywall mounting hardware to attach the lower cleat strip to the wall. Then lift the unit into place making sure the two cleat parts are fully engaged. (Use provided rubber feet at the base of the unit to support the unit away from the wall — we put these on all Recirc-24 units prior to shipping)
Plug It In
Plug the grounded pump cord into the grounded timer. Then plug the timer into a grounded outlet. For extra safety it is recommended to install a Ground Fault Interrupt (GFI) type plug to prevent injury due to shock. Read the Timer instructions to learn how to setup the timer properly. Do not run the pump when dry. Read pump instructions to learn how to operate and maintain pump components safely.
Fill It Up
Lift the lid on top of the tank. Fill the tank so the final water level is 2 inches below the top. Filtered water is the best if you have that option. Minerals will build up in the felt over time and limit optimal plant health. It is also best if you can neutralize the chlorine using fish aquarium drops or carbon filtered water. But also note that most common plants can thrive with regular tap water.
Do Not Overfill
DO NOT FILL TO TOP OF TANK WHILE PUMP IS IN OPERATION. WAIT 1 HOUR AFTER WATER HAS STOPPED DRIPPING FROM THE FELT PANEL BEFORE ADDING WATER TO THE TANK.
Hard Water Issues
Some areas have high lime in their water supplies. Often this is added to the water to prevent corrosion in plumbing systems. High lime water will leave mineral deposits on the felt and also raise the pH of the water to extremely high levels which makes it nearly impossible for plants to absorb nutrients. If this is the case you’ll need to use an inline filter to purify your water supply. To create your own portable refill system see our Water Filter Parts page. http://www.florafelt.com/water-filter-parts
Run and Test
Switch on the manual operation and run pump. You will hear a hum and after about 10 minutes water will begin to drip from the bottom edge of the felt into the tank. The front of the felt will remain dry. The inside back of each pocket will feel moist when you press your hand into the felt. This is how each plant will receive their daily moisture.
Use 6 inch potted plants if you want a full grown in look. Use one per pocket. It will be necessary to remove about 1/3 of the soil and flatten the root ball a little. Or you can use 2 to 3 of the 4 inch potted plants or 6 pack starts, cuttings, bulbs, or trays of plant material for more variety. It is also ok to start with just soil and use seeds to start plants.
Use Root Wraps
Always use felt Root Wraps with the Florafelt pocket system. Watch the video on our website to see details. They are much more tidy and let you easily change and rearrange your vertical garden. Water will wick into the felt to moisten the soil then over time the roots will grow into the felt itself. After years of growth some plants will link themselves into the pockets.
Plant Your Vertical Garden
Be spontaneous. Create a delightful arrangement. Place moisture loving plants toward the bottom. And taller plants near the top. Experiment to see if some plants are blocking others. Adjust to create a harmonious balance. As plants grow they will direct their leaves toward the light. You may choose to rearrange your design as plants change and grow.
Generally, to start out, you can set your timer to run for 15 to 20 minutes, Once a day. In low light conditions consider starting with 20 minute run times for 3 times a week (Mon, Wed, Sat).
Room conditions that affect timing:
- how much light (natural or artificial)
- dry or humid conditions.
For example, our fully-grown interior Florafelt Recirc units planted with interior tropicals are watered for 10 minutes, 3 times a week. These units are located in a low light area with supplemental LED Spot Grow Bulbs on a track lighting system which run by timer for 12 hours a day.
We recommend to choose watering times to run when you are there. If there is a pump failure, which is rare, you’ll be there to notice it. We highly recommend our WIFI Moisture Sensor that can provide notifications when humidity levels are low.
When you have the water timing figured out, you should be able to keep the same settings year round, unless there are noticeable changes to the environment.
Observe your plants closely for the first few weeks, checking the soil daily, to see if it is too dry or too wet. You want it to stay moist but not soggy and definitely not dry out. Make adjustments as required.
Observe the plants and make sure they are not being over watered or allowed to get too dry. Some low-light or high humidity locations will not dry out as quickly. Most interior house plants require a partial dry-out between watering. Too much water will cause the plants to rot and die. Be careful not to confuse this with under watering. You may want to manually water the unit by plugging it in once the plants have become slightly dry. Keep track of the days that pass then set your timer accordingly. You may also want to obtain a digital timer that can be programed to water 3 days per week, instead of daily.
Like any garden your plants will be much happier if they are getting lots of love and attention.
Top Off Tanks
Top off the water tanks weekly or as needed. Make sure the unit is not dripping and at least an hour after a watering cycle has run. Otherwise the water will continue to drip from the panel above and cause the tank to overflow.
Add mild fertilizers to the tank for optimal plant performance. Most house plants come with time release fertilizer in their pots. This will provide adequate fertilizer for at least 6 months or longer. Typically very little fertilizer is needed to keep plants happy. When you do choose to fertilize we strongly recommend to use organic based fertilizers such as Maxsea to keep the soil microbiology alive and prevent chemical salt buildup. One teaspoon added to the tank monthly is recommended. Or you can use Jobes organic plant spikes which are also an easy and convenient way to add fertilizer to the tanks. Add a couple of these each month or so.
The plants will always enjoy a fresh water change out every 6 months. You can wait longer but pH balance will tend to become acidic and become difficult for some plants. Use a syphon or pump to empty the tank. Then refill with fresh water. Be sure the unit has stopped dripping before topping off the tanks.