Is rust bad for your plant? Will your moss pole rust if you place your indoor tropical houseplant in a semi hydro LECA solution? What about the metal base of your coir pole as you water over time? These are the three big questions we are going to answer today!
By the end of this blog you will no longer be worried about rust, you will understand exactly how we protect our steel, sustainably and with longevity in mind, and you will feel safe about placing your indoor tropical house plants and moss poles in semi-hydro growing mediums.
We are going to ease your worries about rust, let you know exactly what rust does to your plants and talk about our steel in your moss and coir poles!
So let’s get at it!
So you’ve received your Mossify moss pole or bendable coir pole (YAY) and are ready to water. Perhaps you're thinking about setting it up in a semi-hydroponic growing medium and something catches your eye.
Our moss and coir poles have steel wire that runs down the middle!
Will it rust? Is rust bad for your plant? What will the rust do?
All of these questions flood to the surface.. And here we sit, asking questions we just don't know the answer to.
So nevertheless, we have got you covered and your answers ready to go!
Now to be very clear: We have NEVER seen our moss poles or coir poles rust. But since they are supported with a metal base, we find this question comes up often.
To settle the mind of our caring planty parents, we thought this blog would be helpful :)
If you’re worried that rust is going to hurt your plants, get ready to be shocked!
Not only is rust NOT going to kill your plants, it has actually been used as a plant hack for YEARS!
That’s right! People have been known to place old nails in water bottles to release iron as they rust. Then they pour the rusty iron onto their plants to revive them from wilting!
Now, you definitely do not need to pour rusty nail water on your plants, but some people swear by it!
Let’s talk about why.
Why do some people add rusty water to revive their plants?
If we throwback to 10th grade science class, we might remember the teacher talking about little things called chloroplasts.
If you zoned out (like I did) because you were too busy thinking about lunch, I’ll give you a brief recap.
Chloroplasts are little organelles that exist within plant cells that contain chlorophyll and conduct photosynthesis.
Photosynthesis is the process that plants use to survive and thrive!
So what the heck do chloroplasts and photosynthesis have to do with rust?! Believe it or not, A LOT!
Rust is an iron oxide. It is reddish brown in colour and is produced when iron and oxygen react to moisture on iron or steel. You see it on old fences, cans that have been left out in the rain, and that 1970’s fiat your uncle brings to nostalgic family gatherings.
So what? Rust is everywhere that metal and water is. It's a natural chemical change that is bound to happen over time. However, there are certain things we can do to prevent rust from happening.
One of those is by galvanizing steel (which we will talk about later on in this article).
But back to why iron is important..
Iron does similar things in the human body as it does in plants. It helps the organism carry crucial elements throughout the circulatory system.
Iron is an essential micronutrient involved in the synthesis of chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is essential for the maintenance of chloroplast structure and function, according to Gyana R. Root, in the department of Agricultural Biotechnology.
Without iron, your plant wouldn’t be able to produce chlorophyll, therefore it wouldn't be that beautiful green colour and it couldn't transport oxygen!
So we can say that iron is pretty important when it comes to the health and wellness of your plants!
Iron is found quite abundantly in nature. Naturally it can be found in soil, clay and metals. It is what gives some soil its reddy brown colour.
Speaking of metals, we are right back at the original question which is “Will rust hurt my plant”.
Since iron exists naturally, and is used to help your plants carry out vital processes, the answer is NO: Rust will not hurt your plant, if anything, it's going to help it.
Let's talk about steel for a minute!
The steel that we use is a high quality galvanized steel. Galvanization is a fancy word for dipping metal in super hot zinc to protect it from corrosion.
Now, this is something to note: though very rare, zinc can be toxic to plants, but only in very high quantities.
You can be assured that the amount of zinc used to protect the steel from corrosion on your Mossify moss and coir poles is nothing to worry about.
That is because galvanization is designed to do just that! Protect steel from corrosion for decades.
The only time you should be concerned about zinc toxicity in galvanized steel is if you plan on heating it above 500 degree fahrenheit. That’s when toxic fumes start to release.
But to be honest with you, I’ve never had a reason to bake my moss pole in an oven and I don’t recommend that you do that either lol…
More about galvanized steel...
Galvanized steel is designed to last in the harshest soil conditions for 35 - 50 years and over 75 years in milder soil, according to the Journal of materials in civil engineering (2004).
And if you were wondering if this whole galvanization process is sustainable, we’ve got that answer for you as well! The next little bit of information is from our friends over at "Galvanize it".
Their site has put together some amazing resources about the galvanizing process and is a must stop if you're interested in learning more about this process.
Sustainability is something the galvanized steel industry has been advocating long before sustainability became “trendy”. With the goal of making materials last as long as possible, the hot dip zinc coating process withstands the test of time while providing decades of maintenance free steel products.
The two primary components involved in galvanized steel are naturally occurring and abundant in nature. Zinc and iron ore (steel) are 100% recyclable making hot dipped galvanized steel an infinitely renewable resource. Iron ore is actually the fourth most abundant element in the earth's crust.
Galvanization is also super unique in that all material and energy inputs and emission outputs are isolated to the production phase. Galvanizeit.org is an incredible resource to learn more about this process's sustainability.
Another point to mention is our metal poles are not coated in paint or oils. So you don’t have to worry about that excess corroding off and creating a toxic environment for your plants either.
The only thing that we recommend when using our bendable moss pole or coir pole in a semi-hydro medium, is to be aware that over time, if the water is touching the manilla coir rope it may weaken the adhesive.
Though we haven't had any reports of this happening, it is something to be aware of. To prevent this from happening, and to maintain the original strength of our award winning poles, try your best to keep the manilla coir rope slightly above the water line.
If you'd like to watch a video on how to set up your moss or coir pole, click the video below!
We hope that this blog helped to answer any questions you may have about rust, plants and using our bendable moss and coir poles in semi-hydro growing mediums!
Let us know if you have any other questions! We are only one click away and love to help out our planty friends!