Gelatin Biogel for Plants

Written by dannah swift
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Gelatin Biogel for Plants
Spider plants are one of many popular houseplants that can be grown in plant gel crystals. (spider in a basket image by Joann Cooper from Fotolia.com)

Gelatin biogel for plants, or biogel crystals, are biodegradable, non-toxic, odourless and absorbent. No drainage holes are necessary in pots where the plant gel crystals are used as a soil replacement. Because the crystals absorb so much water, watering is reduced to once a month, or once every four to six weeks. Plant gel crystals can also be used on their own to start root cuttings from plants or start seeds or bulbs.

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Function

Plant gel crystals absorb up to 400 times their weight in water. The gels are used in potting soil to maintain moisture levels and aerate the soil, or are used alone to replace potting soil.

Uses

Biogel can be used as a soil additive or as a soil replacement. It was developed for use as a water-retaining additive for potting soil, but can be used with or without soil. Till it into the garden soil before planting to increase aeration and retain moisture, or add it to the soil surrounding established garden plants.

Benefits

Plant gel crystals have a long shelf life. Dehydrated crystals last for one to two years if they are exposed to light, but can last for seven to 10 years if they are kept out of the sun. Once the crystals are hydrated they have a shelf life of five to seven years. Plants need to be watered less frequently whether they are planted only in the gel crystals or in soil that has been amended with crystals. The long shelf life, combined with less-frequent need for watering means less work for the gardener and less money spent on potting media. Plant gel crystals prevent excessive, unnecessary growth that could result in the plant becoming root-bound and also prevent root rot by regulating and maintaining moisture levels.

Considerations

According to WaterGelCrystals.com, plant gel crystals are perfect for use with common houseplants like Chinese evergreen, spider plants, dracaena, palms, diffenbachia and philodendron, but should not be used as a potting medium--nor in combination with potting media--for cactus, succulents or orchids. The gel is very slippery when spilt, and while it is non-toxic, common sense demands that the crystals not be consumed by people or animals.

Disposal

Unwanted crystals or gel can be disposed of by tilling the material into a garden plot or simply scattering it in the soil. It is never a good idea to pour unwanted crystals down the drain or flush them down the toilet because swelling of the crystals could clog drain pipes.

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