Expanded clay

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What is expanded clay?

Expanded clay is a natural material and consists of clay, which contains fine organic components before firing. These burn at temperatures above 1,000 degrees Celsius to carbon dioxide and inflate the sound to almost five times its size (much like yeast mushrooms a cake dough). The result is the typical globules with their innumerable pores in the interior, which are available for use in the home and garden in grain sizes between five millimeters and two centimeters.

The advantages of expanded clay are obvious: it does not mold, is permanently structurally stable and does not change over the years in the soil. This makes it ideal for use in pots and pots, where it is mainly used for drainage. But: Even if you read it again and again, expanded clay stores very little water and does not extend casting intervals! If you put the beads in a glass of water, most of them will float on the surface or just below them after hours and will not be fully absorbed.

Use of expanded clay in home and garden

Expanded clay has many uses and can be used both in the house and in the garden for better drainage and for the cultivation of plants:

  • As a substrate in hydroponic culture: The beads do not mold in the water and provide the plant roots with their rough surface good grip. Smaller grain sizes are used for young plants, and for larger plants with thicker roots the corresponding larger amounts of expanded clay are used.
  • Expanded clay increases the humidity in dry room air: Put some expanded clay as drainage in a watertight bowl or a planter and set the houseplant to the expanded clay. Only fill with enough water so that the plant itself is not in the water with its roots. The water evaporates over the large surface of the expanded clay and rises as water vapor in the plant population.

Drainage of expanded clay

A layer of expanded clay on the bottom of the box prevents the earth from getting wet

  • Expanded clay is suitable as a mulch: Many potted plants lignify at their base and there they become progressively blunter over time. Even if there is a dense, bushy crown above her, the earth's surface in the pot is nude and weeds spread quickly. A good two centimeters high layer of expanded clay prevents this, but does not interfere with casting or fertilizing.
  • Expanded clay loosens and aerates heavy garden soils: To improve the soil, you can use the small grains that are simply incorporated when digging up clay soils. This is relatively expensive at first glance, but also a permanent solution.

Expanded clay as drainage

The drainage is probably the most important use of expanded clay. In every balcony box or planter, a drainage layer of expanded clay five centimeters thick will drain the irrigation water more quickly. At the same time, the substrate dries faster, so you may need to water more often. To prevent the water from running out of the planter, simply cut up an old kitchen towel, fold the pieces together several times and place it on the drainage holes. In the case of water storage boxes, the drainage of expanded clay is naturally eliminated.

Expanded clay ensures good drainage

Expanded clay ensures good drainage in the planter

Expanded clay saves potting soil

Summer flowers make good and like 20 centimeters long roots. In order to treat petunias and co. To a high-quality brand substrate, but at the same time to save some of the expensive soil for other plants, a drainage with expanded clay at the bottom of the planter helps. Cover the drainage holes with a potsherd and fill the bucket - depending on its height - by a third or by half with expanded clay. Lay a fleece or even an old T-shirt on the expanded clay and then fill in the potting soil. Make sure that the fleece also fits snugly against the edge of the tub, so that leachate does not flood soil into the expanded clay and reduces the drainage performance. Tip: You can put the expanded clay in a worn tights. Then you do not need fleece and can easily lift the expanded clay out of the pot later and reuse it for years.

Video Board: Hydroponics with Hydroton Expanded Clay Balls.

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