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Water crystals in hanging baskets - will it work?

August is our month for wind here in Brisbane. After the Ekka in Brisbane, we get either a storm quality wind for three days, a reasonable wind three weeks or a light breeze for three months. It looks like its a light breeze this year and its giving me a bit of trouble keeping the hanging pot on the front balcony moist.

Even though they are right in front of the kitchen sink - a place I spend a far bit of time at - I still don't always get around to watering them and this is stressing the plants. I am moving more towards perlagoniums (geraniums before they were reclassified) and other sun/dry plants in those pots but its still pretty dry up there.

I spotted some water crystals at the markets meant for home decorating and wondered if they could be used to help retain the water in a hanging pot. I was feeling rich and so I spent the $5 on a small packet of plain clear crystals and took 'em home to try out...

Here's what I did...

This the bag I got for $5 Its about the size of my palm.

I popped them into a (big 2 litre) jar of water

And after a few hours they had expanded!

And started trying to climb out of the jar!

I saved one to see how far they expand

I dug holes in my various hanging baskets and put them in.

And then hung them back up after a good soak at ground level.

After a week or so, I could kid myself that I haven't had to water them everyday. I remember that there were some crystals being sold at one point in garden shops a few years back to help retain moisture in the soil and wondered if these were the same thing, maybe in a different shape (for a different market). Do you know anything about those crystals and their kinship to these ones? I bought these ones on a whim without any research what so ever so I don't have a clue if they are the same thing or not.

They are meant to be non toxic - so I'm assuming that they wont leach anything too awful into the soil. I popped a few into my various pot plants while I was at it - If they turn out to be toxic to plants, I'm gonna be up for a whole bunch of new pot plants... Just as well my birthday is coming up, I could ask for plants if they all keel over!

Score card:
Green-ness: 3/5 Compost or mulch would probably be just as good.
Frugal-ness: 4/5 As they went into about 15 pots.
Time cost: 6 hours to expand the crystals, 15 minutes to dig holes and cover back over.
Skill level: Just like digging in the sandpit!
Fun -ness: More fun for the plants if it works!


Kathryn Ray said…
I have not heard of these things. Will be curious to see how it goes.
Practical Frog said…
Me too - we are up to day 46 of no rain and the ekka breeze is still with us... My hanging plants are not happy. - K xx
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