Houseplants forum: anyone tried growing in hydrogel beads?

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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Mar 5, 2017 7:43 AM CST
like these
http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/2...
purpleinopp just gave this link elsewhere, and it got me wondering, it would be quite cool looking for kids to see, if some beans or corn seed would sprout in it and grow a while.
Thoughts?
Are they also found at Home Depot, do you think?
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
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Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Mar 5, 2017 9:48 PM CST
I know of one way to find out. Seems to me that the poor plant would have it roots wet constantly. I do not see any drainage. Very, very few plants want that. Gene
[Last edited by gasrocks - Mar 5, 2017 10:06 PM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 5, 2017 10:21 PM CST
I grow my pothos in it, so far it is okay in it. Over here the dry beads are sold at Michaels and at Daiso Japanese stores. For initial use, I soak the beads first in water so it inflates, then I move those beads to the container, that way the roots is not sitting in too much water. The roots does get good airflow below even if there is no drainage. Best part, no gnats.

No idea if it is good for seeds though.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Mar 6, 2017 6:57 AM CST
Thanks, Gene and tarev,
I wondered- since they're like marbles, can the roots get moisture from them while getting air from the spaces between.
I can't think of much advantage over growing in a vase of water though- it was the color that caught my eye.. I be afraid a clear vase, they eventually get some algae, and can't be cleaned.
I found one pic of a bean sprout in it, many of lucky bamboo stuck in them, a few pothos- but couldn't tell if there was long term success.
If I try some, I'll report back.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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tarev
Mar 6, 2017 10:27 AM CST
Sometimes, new roots grows straight through the gel beads, but pretty much they can get moisture slowly. My vases are not in direct sun so no algae buildup, or I even use colored vases that are not too dark. Sometimes I also add some clay rocks. It beats getting stinky water, which often happens if you just stick plants in water, you have to keep on changing the water, on gel bead set-up there is no odor.

I have tried it too with Dracaena sanderiana and amaryllis. So far it is my pothos that adapts well with it. The amaryllis also did well for initial forced blooming, but I think on a 2nd round, better to put the bulb back to soil.

So now I just keep the gel bead set-up for my pothos. I just trim down the growth, as needed. It helped me understand how these plants slow down in winter, since light levels are really much lower, but now they are slowly perking up again as daytime light is getting longer, though by our north facing windows, it is finally sensing more light.

This pothos is typically in my living room, just moved it here on the dining table for better photo shot. This pothos has been on this set up for years, just adding water when beads shrink too much, and cutting growth to maintain balance. I like looking at the roots as they grow below:
Thumb of 2017-03-06/tarev/81f4be Thumb of 2017-03-06/tarev/ea3f0a

Thumb of 2017-03-06/tarev/09dcf7 Thumb of 2017-03-06/tarev/da829c

This one has gel beads and clay rocks:
Thumb of 2017-03-06/tarev/da9abb Thumb of 2017-03-06/tarev/a0905f

Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Mar 6, 2017 11:05 AM CST
thanks, tarev, that is much more than I was finding on google or youtube.
The other thing I liked is, if the vase tips, no liquid to spill.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
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tarev
Mar 6, 2017 11:17 AM CST
Just be careful in handling the dry, deflated gel beads, so easy to accidentally get to your sink drain, so I do my soaking away from the sink.

This is the one I still have here, can also be used if you have cut flowers:

Thumb of 2017-03-06/tarev/1009cc

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