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Let's See Your Treeferns...


palmsOrl

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I found this Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperia) at Lucas Nursery today.  It wasn't cheap at $30 but all of them are very healthy and I had been looking for one for a while and hadn't seen any lately.  I have killed several in the past, all from drying out, so I am going to be careful to keep this one on the wet side.

I had this lovely pot to pair it with so we will now see how I do with it.  I know they get huge!

I wish I could find the West Indian treefern but have never seen it for sale.

Please share your treeferns of all species.

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This should be a good spot in partial sun for my treefern for the time being.

We did finally get a little rain shower, which I am sure it enjoyed, but I still had to water everything.

I am hoping that keeping it potted will keep the crown a bit more compact than they typically get due to space concerns.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My Cyathea cooperia (first photo) is already taking off.  Should be trunking in no time.

I just added another species to my collection, Cyathea intermedia, the largest tree fern species in the world, from New Caledonia (my plant pictured in second photo).  In my personal opinion, based on photos of some of the mature ones in habitat, this species is a contender for the most beautiful plant/tree in the world (third and forth photos).  To me, this species looks the most like Cyathea arborea, the West Indian tree fern, which as mentioned above, I have never been able to find for sale.

Hopefully this tree fern will not be as difficult to grow as many New Caledonian palm species.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphaeropteris_intermedia

https://www.artstation.com/artwork/ZReg1

 

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My tree ferns have really taken off this year. First 2 pictures 6 months growth on Cyathea robusta. Cyathea intermedia 6 months from a 4 inch. Cyathea Medullaris black tree fern. Cyathea orange giant crozier. Cyathea tomentosissima leaf. Front yard left to right with Cyathea Cooperi Revolvulum weeping form, Sadleria Cyatheoides, Cyathea Robusta wide form, Cyathea tomentosissima, Cyathea Robusta 3.5 years from a 5 gal.

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MLW

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Wow, those are lovely mwardlow, thank you for sharing!

Jeremy, I am having trouble pulling the links up on my phone.  Thank you for sharing nonetheless.

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4 minutes ago, palmsOrl said:

Wow, those are lovely mwardlow, thank you for sharing!

Jeremy, I am having trouble pulling the links up on my phone.  Thank you for sharing nonetheless.

Here we go:

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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2 hours ago, Kaname-kun said:

And two Angiopteris thrown in.IMG_9344.thumb.jpeg.8701119bbcbb48cbf54524ab88ad38c2.jpeg

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I also have what I think is that same Angiopteris. Do you happen to know which one it is?

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Kona, on The Big Island
Hawaii - Land of Volcanoes

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I also ordered a Cyathea medullaris from the same seller and got combined shipping so now I officially have a tree fern collection (of three species).

I can't wait to see how these do here with plenty of water and humidity.

The second and third photos are examples of large Cyathea medullaris in habitat.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphaeropteris_medullaris

https://alchetron.com/Cyathea-medullaris

 

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Here's a few young C. medullaris coming up at my place.

 

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Waimarama New Zealand (39.5S, 177E)

Oceanic temperate

summer 25C/15C

winter 15C/6C

No frost, no heat

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11 hours ago, Dypsisdean said:

I also have what I think is that same Angiopteris. Do you happen to know which one it is?

The first photo is of Angiopteris evecta and the second was sold as Angiopteris "nova" because they couldn't identify it, but some say it is smithii. 

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6 hours ago, palmsOrl said:

I also ordered a Cyathea medullaris from the same seller and got combined shipping so now I officially have a tree fern collection (of three species).

I can't wait to see how these do here with plenty of water and humidity.

The second and third photos are examples of large Cyathea medullaris in habitat.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphaeropteris_medullaris

https://alchetron.com/Cyathea-medullaris

 

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I have some Cyathea medullaris, too. They can be touch and go in South Florida high temps, but should do well for you in Central Florida. They go through a difficult stage at about 18 inches high, but once you get them in the ground seem to take off. Try to protect them from wind.  I also have Cyathea brownii, Cyathea robusta, Cyathea intermedia, Cyathea contaminans, and Cyathea rebeccae. Grew the latter two from spores. And a Cibotium scheidei.  Cooperi and Cibotium glaucum are easy grows in South Florida if you keep them watered.

Edited by Kaname-kun
typo
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6 hours ago, mwardlow said:

Sadleria cyatheoides

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Beautiful. I haven't had any luck with them in South Florida, not sure why. Maybe I'll try again.

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Thank you mwardlow, Kaname-kun, Bennz, Dypsisdean and Kinzyjr for the advice and the beautiful photos of your tree ferns and tree ferns in your area.

I went ahead and ordered a fourth species, Cyathea tomentosissima.  This is a highland species from New Guinea and is supposedly quite adaptable to warm/hot temperatures as long as the plant is kept moist and humidity is kept up.  Individual specimens of this species are not, in my opinion, the most beautiful of tree ferns, but it should still make an interesting addition to my collection.

I bought three green glazed decorative pots about 9-10" across to repot the three small new ones into.  Do any of you tree fern experts know if it would be fine to go ahead and pot them up from the ~3" pots they are in now?

Also, what kind of soil mix would you recommend.  From Google, it seems like the general recommendation is 1/3 peat, 1/3 sand and 1/3 perlite.  I would be more inclined to use coconut coir versus peat and perhaps a substitute for perlite, which floats. 

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/25872797@N02/46163725505

http://www.bernardvanelegem.com/image/grassland-treeferns-around-lake-habema

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These two photos didn't make it into my last post.

The first is of the plant I will be getting in the mail and the second is another example of the species in habitat.

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I gave my Cyathea cooperia a trim today.  I'm not sure I didn't like its appearance better with all the leaves, but they grow really quickly in good conditions.

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On 6/6/2020 at 7:03 PM, mwardlow said:

Sadleria cyatheoides

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Would love to find one of these on Oahu, strange its so difficult to find in its native range!

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-Krishna

Kailua, Oahu HI. Near the beach but dry!

Still have a garden in Zone 9a Inland North Central Florida (Ocala)

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Here is a pic of one of my tomentosissima and a small one gallon I just picked up.  All the tree fern's and platyceriums I have have, have been grown from spore by my friend who owns the Fern Factory. He recommends that when young they are grown in 75% peat moss 20% sponge rock (perlite) 5% sand. I have found that they will grow in just about anything but the more organic matter the better. They can take much more sun than you would think as long as they get plenty of water.  More sun, more compact. Actually tomentossissima is one of my favorites with the open leaf structure when grown in a little more shade.

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MLW

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Thank you for the specific information mwardlow.  I will be sure to follow that recipe when I do repot the small ones.

I really like the look of your tomentosissima.

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I was excited to find this package at my doorstep this afternoon.  Inside were the three tree fern species I ordered from eBay recently.  The seller did an excellent job packing the plants and all three look extremely healthy.  He even refunded the shipping cost of the third plant and took $3 off the cost of the shipping of the other two plants to save me $17 total!

The tree fern in the second photo is Cyathea tomentosissima, a relatively short statured but suprisingly adaptable tree fern species from the high elevations of New Guinea.  In the third photo is my favorite tree fern species, Cyathea intermedia, which can reach heights of up to 100 feet tall in its native New Caledonia and in the fourth photo, the so-called "black tree fern" Cyathea medularis.

After unpacking the plants, I wet the leaves with bottled water and placed them on my window sill for the time being until I decide when and how to introduce them to outside, especially since this next week looks fairly hot with lower than normal rain chances.  Because of this, I might be better off keeping them inside and misting them 3-4 times per day until a rainier pattern begins.  Maybe I will move them out at night when the humidity is always high.

As far as repotting and soil, I think all three plants are ready to be repotted.  The matching pots I selected for each may be a little on the large side, but I figure with just the correct substrate, their should be no issues with the roots staying too wet and the extra diameter of the pots may offer the small plants increased humidity as water evaporates from the soil below.

As for the soil mix, the seller recommends a good organic soil mix with some soil and peatmoss added.  Based on various sources I have read, I will include at least 10% sand, 10% fine perlite(or maybe vermiculite would be better?), some high quality potting mix (say 30%) and definitely peat (50%).  I am considering substituting the peat moss for coconut coir as they have similar properties and coconut coir resists rot and generally has antimicrobial properties.  I was told back in 2009 that coconut coir is the best substrate for palm seed starting.

Would anyone recommend using coconut coir instead of peat or perhaps 50% coconut coir and 50% peat?  The latter would then be an overall recipe of 25% coconut coir, 25% peat, 30% high quality potting mix, 10% sand and 10% fine perlite (or vermiculite).

Lastly, would coarse, larger particled sand be preferable to finer sand (that I can easily get on the edge of the lake)?

Thank you in advance for reading my update and for any advice you can offer.

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I decided to just go ahead and bring my three new tree ferns outside this evening.  First, I topped off the tops of the pots with a soil mix I could throw together that looks roughly similar to what they are already in.  I trimmed off a little dead foliage and placed one on top of the other on a narrow metal shelf on the outer corner of the porch.  I think they will get the perfect amount of light here, plenty of bright light with little if any direct sun.

Though I think they could use or at least handle repotting right now, I am going to force myself to wait for 1-3 months mainly to not add trauma in addition to the shipping and to let them adjust to the local climate.

I plan to water these three at least every other day and mist 2-4 times per day depending on the day's weather conditions.  If they start to show signs of suffering from humidity levels that are too low (I doubt this will happen with the adequate watering and misting) I will add some sphagnum moss to each tier of the shelves and maybe try to drape some here and there around the tree ferns themselves.  

I was really heavy-handed with the instant release chemical fertilizer on my Cyathea cooperia and surprisingly it has not only showed no burn, but has sped up noticeably after slowing quite a lot after I gave it that major trim.

I think when I do repot the three new tree ferns, I will go with the substrate recipe described in my last post.  Also, I plan to water my three new small plants with purified water, at least until they get larger and that is impractical.  The Cyathea cooperia does not seem to mind our tap water one bit.

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Here is my tree fern collection enjoying the almost cool morning here in Central Florida.

The Australian tree fern has really put on crown width since I bought it a few weeks ago and loves the fertiluzer apparently.

This metal rack is only a short term solution for the other three species as I am sure they will quickly be too tall to fit.  

The fern on the bottom shelf that you can barely see is the Florida native shoestring fern (Vittaria lineata).  You can see these growing on bone dry Sabal palmetto trunks in the wild but try to grow one and the plant dies the minute it dries out once.  As a result, I planted the roots and base of this one at the bottom of a clear orchid pot and filled the pot with orchid bark to keep the roots moist for as long as possible.  Still I have to water it every day it doesn't rain.

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@mwardlow Where do your source your ferns? Ive not had any for several years.... but thinking its time to try again :)

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Dave

 

Riverside, CA Z 9b

1700 ft. elevation

approx 40 miles inland

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Doubravsky, many of the photos of tree ferns I see growing in the United States are adjacent to large estates or gardens in California, so there must be a way to be successful there with their cultivation despite the lack of annual rainfall and low humidity in much of the state.  I am guessing careful siting with afternoon shade, the means to provide consistent and ample irrigation (on properties where you see eight 30 footers in front of the house) and proper rich but well-drained soil is the secret.

As for sourcing, I bought my Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi) from a local place, Lukas Nursery.  I have seen this species at big box stores before, but not for a long time.

I purchased the other three on eBay from the vendor "cycads" and have been extremely impressed by every aspect of the ordering process and the plants themselves.  The only tree ferns he is offering right at the moment are a lot of two lost tag tree ferns that are roughly the same size as the ones I bought.  These two would be $27.18 shipped, not a bad deal if you don't mind knowing which species they are for a while.  EBay also has some small Cyathea cooperi for sale for about $18.00 and you will occasionally find others here and there as well.  The Hawaiian tree fern (Cibotium glaucum) is for sale at a few different sizes, but the prices seem very high.

Another excellent source with a good selection is The Fern Factory, from which you can order online.  This source has an excellent selection from several different genera and they also offer specimen sized plants.  I believe I saw the Hawaiian tree fern for sale from this source for a reasonable price.

If you want to try propagating/growing from spore, www.rarepalmseeds.com has many tree fern species as does the Fern Frond Propagation Nursery, though I know nothing about ordering from this source.  Finally, the American Fern Society has a spore exchange from which you can source many different species.

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All my tree ferns have come from Jim at the Fernfactory. You can contact him and visit his wholesale nursery. He has everything from a 4 inch to a 24 inch box in tree ferns. He also is a great source for platyceriums all grown from spore. I was just there last weekend. He has 24 inch box cyathea Robusta's touching the 15 foot ceiling in one of his shade houses.

https://www.fernfactory.com/Main/default/default.aspx

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MLW

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@palmsOrl - thanks! I'll check out the ebay seller...

 

@mwardlow - perfect! I just found Fern Factory after doing a search- he's only 30 minutes away. I sent an email asking about visiting.... good to know you like the place!

 

Dave

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Dave

 

Riverside, CA Z 9b

1700 ft. elevation

approx 40 miles inland

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I have also decided, based on further online research, to use all peat moss and no coconut coir in this particular case, since tree ferns like acid soil and peat moss is significantly acidic whereas coconut coir is roughly neutral in pH.  Also, apparently coconut coir tends to have dissolved salts due to its origins.

Thus, I think peat moss is the correct choice for tree ferns and other acid-loving plants.

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Yesterday, I decided to go ahead and repot my three new tree ferns into the lovely matching green ceramic pots I found at Ollie's for $4.99 each.

I was going to buy all of the soil ingredients online and buy the highest grade of everything and buy really coarse silica sand, coarse vermiculite and so on.  But when I arrived at the Home Depot I decided the soil ingredients from there would work just fine.

I bought one bag of peat moss, a large bag of vermiculite, a bag of premium potting soil and a bag of playground sand.

I sifted the vermiculite I used through a kitchen strainer to get rid of at least most of the fines.  I then put together the intended mixture into a garbage bag.  I went with 15% sand, 15% sifted vermiculite, 20% premium potting soil and 50% peat moss.  

I then made sure to thoroughly shake the mixture together, then mix with my hands, then shake again and repeat until I had a homogeneous mixture.  By handling it, I could tell after mixing well that the substrate was suitable for the new tree ferns.  Nice and light but with plenty of organic matter.  Thus, it should be rich and acidic while being free draining, keeping good substrate structure (not compacting or turning to muck) and not staying too wet.

I didn't have any screen for drainage holes so I cut plastic squares from the cover of a notebook and punched holes in the plastic with a small nail.  If I wasn't so lazy I would cover all the drainage holes of all my potted plants in this fashion, or just buy a roll of screen!

After adding the drainage screens, I filled each of the three pots 3/4 of the way with the new substrate mixture I had made and packed it down so it wouldn't settle much after planting and watering.  I then placed each of the three tree ferns exactly in the middle and with the base at the correct height and filled the pots the rest of the way with the newly mixed substrate, being careful to pack it down sufficiently to avoid any air pockets.

When I took the tree ferns out of their existing small pots, I noted how wet and heavy the substrate was.  Because I had kept forgetting a spray bottle for misting, I had just been essentially watering all of the tree ferns each time I wet the crowns three times per day.  Still, the soil they came in seemed quite heavy so I was tempted to remove some or most of the existing substrate and then carefully position the roots into the new mix. 

In the end, I decided to leave the rootballs completely undisturbed to minimize transplant shock and because the old soil will be surrounded by the new, more free draining mix and should thus not stay overly wet, as it did when surrounded be plastic.  Also, most of the new roots will be growing out into the new mix, which should allow them to always stay moist but never soggy (and the plant's rootballs were definitely very soggy when I took each out of its pot).  Finally, starting today, I will be misting the tree fern's leaves instead of watering the plants three times per day (and will water as needed) so the soil should overall stay moist but not wet.

After carefully planting each of the tree ferns, I thoroughly watered the plants to make sure all of the new substrate from top to bottom became evenly moistened.  The final step was adding the dose recommended on the container of Dynamite brand Nutricote (in this case, 2/3 of a capful).  This time, I selected the higher nitrogen-, lower phosphorus-containing type of Dynamite in the green tube as this is what I have read is recommended for tree ferns specifically.

Now I just need to figure out the best position for them for optimal light levels, some shelter from high wind and perhaps a location that stays a bit more humid, like near the ground around a bunch of other plants, for example.  On the other hand, I want to protect the plants from getting trampled by vermin or smashed by falling branches.  I am also leery of leaving them on the bare ground outside of the porch where snails, slugs or other pests could decimate such small plants in a single night.  I am not sure what tree fern's susceptibility is to these pests.  I will have to look into the subject further.

So, that is my (hopeful) recipe for success in starting out with small tree ferns in Central Florida.  I will post another update as the tree ferns grow, if I acquire any new species and if any issues arise.

I am considering again repotting my Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi) since I just used 100% potting soil when I repotted it the day I bought it into the slightly larger pot it is in now (it was my first tree fern of this new subventure within the hobby, so I didn't think to consider the substrate more carefully.  The plant, however, has been doing so well I am also thinking I should just not mess with it and it will be fine (especially since I will not be watering it three times per day going forward just to wet the crown and base).  I intend to leave this tree fern in its existing pot for as long as possible since they get so large and I don't have any ground to plant it in but I certainly plan to use the same mix for it that I just used for the smaller plants when I absolutely have to repot it into a larger pot.

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I got a couple of tree ferns from what looks like the same seller on e bay.  I purchased the Australian  and then 3 months later got 2 c. Brownii. Both planted in full sun and doing great. The Australian tree fern already has spores on it

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John, those look incredible.  You certainly have a perfect climate to grow almost any tree fern species where you are located.

I will have to try Cyathea brownii when I see it for sale sometime.

Mine are looking well so far despite the hot, dry spell we are currently experiencing.  I have been misting all of them 3 times per day and wetting the porch floor a couple times per day to increase moisture levels in the air around them.

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I know that I am seemingly obsessed with tree ferns lately, but what can I say, when it comes to plants, I just have a tough time saying, "No.".

I noticed this little Cyathea felina (otherwise known as Sphaeropteris felina) for sale on eBay and I had to snatch it up to add to my small collection.

Cyathea felina is an attractive, mid-sized tree fern native to New Guinea, Indonesia, Northern Queensland, Australia (where it is listed as endangered) and Malaysia.

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This is a very specific and persnickety question, but I have had this issue in the past and now I am having it again.  My spray bottle for misting my tree ferns has mostly stopped functioning after four days of heavy use.  It is a decent quality Home Depot spray bottle but I guess I expected more out of a new, never used spray bottle, even though I had already used it a lot in those four days.

I have done a bit of Googling and as far as I have gathered, recommendations include: buying the highest quality, heavy-duty (and likely most expensive) spray bottle you can find, using only purified water, cleaning the spray bottle occasionally, etc.

Do any of you Palmtalkers have any recommendations regarding spray bottles that will take heavy, regular use and last a while?  Otherwise, any tips for making them last longer?  Thank you in advance.

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Anyone in Florida growing Cyathea dealbata? Or the real Cyathea australis? I would like to try some of the hardier Cyathea here. Dicksonia can't cut it here, either too hot or dry.

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19 hours ago, palmsOrl said:

 

Do any of you Palmtalkers have any recommendations regarding spray bottles that will take heavy, regular use and last a while?  Otherwise, any tips for making them last longer?  Thank you in advance.

Perhaps you have mineral build up from municipal hard water?  This could be avoided by the use of distilled water (or rain water) in your spray bottle. 

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San Francisco, California

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28 minutes ago, Darold Petty said:

Perhaps you have mineral build up from municipal hard water?  This could be avoided by the use of distilled water (or rain water) in your spray bottle. 

Thank you Darold.  I will try only using distilled water going forward.  I had no idea this issue might occur after only so few days of use.

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Problem solved with this little $18 pump-action sprayer.  Admittedly, it does not save time, but it saves wear and tear on a mechanism that was being pumped (on the spray bottle) at least 500 times per day.  With this, you pump 10 times to pressurize and it is good to spray out the contents of the full reservoir.  It seems to be high-quality, so hopefully it will last at least a year.

I do plan on using distilled water most of the time.

Nothing needed misting last night, that's for sure!

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