Among flower growers lovingly cherishing their home gardens, hydrogel for plants has recently become very popular. People began to use it with excitement, as they say, right and left, trying to make their window sills not only green and vibrant, but also bright and elegant. And many were unpleasantly disappointed, and often angry at the hydrogel for plants - reviews, at first almost enthusiastic, gradually changed to frankly negative ones. But is it only know-how that is to blame? Let's try to figure it out.
What is a hydrogel?
The widely publicized innovation comes in the form of granules (sometimes powder) that are sold packaged and dry. By itself, the hydrogel for indoor plants is a polymer that can actively absorb water, while increasing in size many tens of times. On average, its gram absorbs about a glass of moisture. At the same time, it forms a gel that can give water to the roots of plants. Most people think that indoor hydrogelplants must be decorated in balls. This is a delusion: initially it is planned to be formless. By the way, just this one is convenient for mixing into the ground - in this form it is better distributed in the soil.
What was it for?
Whoever invented the hydrogel for plants set himself the goal of providing them with a constant source of water between waterings. The point is to mix the granules swollen with water with the soil in which the plants are planted. Within two to three weeks, depending on the power and development of the root system, the roots germinate into granules and have the opportunity to consume the water “stored” in them without waiting for the next watering. The advantage of having a hydrogel in the ground is also that during irrigation it is again saturated with moisture and retains it. All that water that usually flows through the drainage holes remains available for flowers. Moreover, if you feed the pellets not with pure water, but with fertilizers dissolved in it, your green pets will receive them in full. There will be no losses due to the same runoff: the hydrogel for indoor plants will keep top dressing along with water. In addition, their roots will not rot from waterlogged soil: all excess will absorb the granules, and the flowers will extract water from them as needed.
It was assumed that such a useful innovation would be widely used even in agriculture. In fact, it was meant for him. Even a possible winter freeze is foreseen- it does not affect the "additive" in any way: after the soil thaws, the capsules return to the "working" state. But so far, the hydrogel for plants is being mastered mainly by lovers of indoor floriculture. It is correct to apply it as follows: mix it into the soil - and forget about it for five years. The only thing that still needs to be done is to observe the wards for the first month and calculate a new irrigation regime. During use, the hydrogel will absorb water many times and give it to plants. And at the end of the allotted time, it will simply decompose into carbon dioxide, water and ammonium - no extraneous chemistry.
Difference between hydrogel and aqua soil
So why did such a useful invention cause so much negativity? First of all, the creators of advertising and crafty speculators on fame are to blame for this. Realizing that clear marbles are in high demand in interior design, some manufacturers have started to produce a beautifying alternative to hydrogel called aqua soil. For greater attractiveness, they even began to produce it in color and in the form of various figures - pyramids, balls, stars, etc. It is not suitable for adding to the ground and does not decompose in it over time. At the same time, advertising companies equated it in importance with hydrogel and attributed additional, unusual abilities: seeds can be germinated, and land is not needed at all. As a result, a naive consumer confuses aqua soil and hydrogel for plants. Reviews, respectively, become extremely negative due to ruined flowers. However, they are more related toaquatic soil, which retains moisture extremely poorly, and due to low-quality dyes it quickly acquires an unpleasant odor.
It cannot be categorically stated that the innovation in its pure form is no longer suitable for the content of flowers in it. However, the list of species that can survive in it is very short. Home flower lovers have found that bamboo is suitable as a habitat for plant hydrogels. He actually lives in natural conditions in water, so he survives quite successfully in a hydrogel. The rest of the flowers need soil, so putting them in a glass container, where only a beautiful colored hydrogel for plants is poured, means only to delay their death. Your green friends will survive on the water for a while, but not for too long. Yet this invention does not contain the necessary nutrition and does not stimulate the growth and development of plants. Even bamboo will have to be fed by dissolving the necessary fertilizers in water.
Disadvantages of hydrogel
In addition to being unsuitable for growing flowers, hydrogel for plants without soil takes on additional flaws.
- The top layer of balloons dries out in the air.
- Capsules grow moldy from standing water at the bottom of the container. In a mixture with soil, both of these drawbacks are absent: the circulation of water and air is sufficient to avoid such troubles. As a result, the same bamboo has to be periodically removed from the vessel and the balls washed inrunning water.
- Hydrogel for plants of some manufacturers without soil from a constant excess of water begins to spread and turns into an unpleasant mess, losing its properties.
In a word, it is better to take pity on your plantings and limit yourself to the prescribed use, since using hydrogel for plants in its pure form means wasting it and destroying your "garden". It is quite enough to put cut flowers in colored balls - the bouquet will last longer in them than just in water, and you will have time to admire the bright composition.
Manufacturers claim that the hydrogel for plants is absolutely harmless. Many parents buy it not even for flowers, but as a toy for their child. Consider whether this is worth doing: the polymer contains acrylamide, which is considered a neurotoxin. In addition, experimental animals, according to some reports, fell ill with cancer from acrylamide. It really does not harm plants (at least when mixed with soil). But the child may well get by with other toys.
If you still decide to plant at least the same bamboo in an elegant colored hydrogel for plants, choose a place where the sun is not too bright. Firstly, the balls fade rather quickly from its rays. And secondly, in their presence, the water begins to turn green rather quickly and acquires a sharp unpleasant odor.
In some instructionshe writes how convenient hydrogel for plants is for germinating seed material - using it seems to guarantee one hundred percent germination. However, from a botanical point of view, this is absurd. The invention is intended for penetration into the capsules of the roots, which should extract liquid from them. Seeds do not have roots, so they have nothing to “suck” water with. Therefore, do not spend money on hydrogel for plants - its price, of course, is not high (about 37 rubles per bag, in bulk - 800 per kilogram), but for this purpose it is absolutely useless. Traditional wet gauze is much more effective.
How to use hydrogel?
If you decide to use it to increase the effectiveness of watering, then the method is extremely simple: hydrogel for plants is mixed into the soil intended for planting. The instruction recommends not soaking it and taking it in an amount of 10-20% by weight of the earth. After planting at the right time, water the flower, and the gel immediately begins to "work".
If you decide to take a chance and plant a plant in aquatic soil, then its balls are soaked in water with diluted fertilizer for half a day. For each shade of granules, a separate vessel is taken. The hydrogel is poured into a glass (not crystal! Crystal contains lead oxides) vase, as artistically as possible, the roots of the plant are carefully washed from the ground, and it is placed in a bowl. At the same time, you need to choose a flower that is not high, since the hydrogel does not differ in the reliability of holding. And choose those plants that need a little light, butmore water.