Clay pebbles or
What are expanded clay pebbles?
When clay pebbles are exposed to extreme heat, they pop and expand, and you end up with this very light weight clay pebble that is great for growing plants in. Other growing mediums include perlite or Rockwool.
Why pick expanded clay pebbles over others?
Expanded clay pebbles are really easy to work with and especially useful for small applications. The shape and form of expanded clay pebbles
Things to note
Once you start using them they will have a lot of air which makes them float
As they saturate water they will stop floating and become more useful. The growing medium is especially good when used with ebb and flow or flood and drain type of production systems. When the clay pebbles stacks up and forms the grow medium, there will remain a lot of air inbetween each clay pebbles and inside. This is good because as water drains away, you have left a lot of oxygen and air circulating the root zone. It is good
Summary of pros and cons
- Easy to work with
- Great to put in plants and taking it out
- Biological surface area – good colonization by your microbes
- Renable, doesn’t take much to make cus we are dealing with mineral, low pollution
- Pretty expensive
- Tends to float on the front end
- Can cause problems with pumps and plumbing, cus they float up to begin with, there is risk that some of the smaller pebbles float up, gets sucked in to pumps or pipes,
- Dusty, rinse before getting into system
Appropriate water level for a clay pebbles system So roots don’t rot
Usually an inch or so below the top of the clay pebbles to keep algae from growing or the cultivation of gnats
Because clay pebbles are very poruous and well aerated, users can experience some plant types to dry out quite fast. Avoid using them for plants that like their roots kept constantly moist, like peace, lilies or crotons. But if you mix with normal soil on atleast 50/50 ratio then plants can still gain nutrients. If you fertilize plants constantly, then there isn’t really nee for 100% pebbles potting.
Properties in media
PH is the biggest concern
After that surface area for bacteria and an ability to retain a bit of water
Expanded clay is good but expensive
Alternative – gravel – but before buying a whole truck, get a sample and check if it alters the ph of water after sitting in it a week or two. If stones have calcium etc it will change the ph pretty drastically. A quicker way is to put a handful into a glass of vinegar, if the liquid starts to bubble after few minutes, then you know it will affect the ph.
bigger the surface area the better capacity for retaining water and bacteria. If you combine this with