How to Plant Using Water Retaining Gel

Written by richard sweeney
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One of the biggest problems with container gardening is maintaining moisture. Water retaining gel, when mixed with compost, can help to keep your plants moist by absorbing and retaining up to 400 times their weight in water. Water retaining gel is perfect for plants in hard to reach or confined areas, such as hanging baskets. Water retaining gel is also ideal for thirsty plants such as tomatoes. Water retaining gel reduces the need for watering by up to 75%. Once the plants have exhausted the gel's supply of water, most can simply be rewatered and they re-expand.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Prepare the planter. By adding a liner and drainage holes, an old basket can be used as a container for plants. To reduce the need for watering, mix water-retaining gel with the compost before you begin, following the manufacturer's directions regarding quantities.

  2. 2

    Place a layer of drainage pebbles over the base of the container, followed by a layer of compost.

  3. 3

    Add the shrubs and larger bulbs of your choice to the basket.

  4. 4

    Fill with compost. After adding compost, add smaller bulbs. Firm the compost gently and water.

  5. 5

    Add colour to the planter. For instant colour, fill the basket with some flowering plants.

Tips and warnings

  • Water retaining gel is great for ferns.
  • Water retaining gel can last up to 5 years and, although seemingly expensive at the outset, is used in such small amounts that it is invaluable to a container gardener.

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