Hydrogel?

I saw this segment on Home & garden tv channel about this substance, as I was talking to guests, so most of it went by me. it looked interesting. Anyone know what it is? Its suppose to expand twice its size and aerate the potting soil...Is this an improvement over vermiculite? Is it expensive?
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Harri85274 wrote:

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Travis in Shoreline Washington

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Hydrogel is a substance that is gelatinous when it comes in contact with water. It is used in the shipping of bareroot trees and shrubs to protect the roots from drying out. As far as use in potting mixes, it is expensive and probably wont do much, just like products such as "soil moist". There was a good article in the last issue of american nurseryman that had some information on it. You may be able to acces the article on thier website, www.amerinursery.com.
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AFAIK .. beads used to be based on "polyacrylamide" .. dunno if they still are ..
I hate the stuff makes yr soil go up/down like a "souffl"
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Hi all, I usually just read this group but I would like to post this topic.
I had some of those crystals leftover from centerpieces that I had made for a wedding. I added a couple teaspoons to an urn that I planted for a graveyard this summer. They are great! I can go longer between waterings. I did fluff them up before adding them to the soil.
And they aren't that expensive. I bought a 45 gram package at the craft store for $5(US).
As another poster stated, your soil level will vary depending on how much water they are retaining. I would only use the crystals in pots that need wet soil or are hard to water.
JanG
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"......Its suppose to expand twice its size and aerate the potting soil...Is this an improvement over vermiculite? Is it expensive?.."
Available under many names around the world, and most will make a lot more than twice their size when they have taken in water. Very useful in tubs, hanging baskets etc as well as in ground that dries rapidly, the use will reduce the number of waterings required as well as lessening the stress on the plants. In the ground should last several years. It is also said to help drainage and to prevent waterloging in pots etc.
Have a look at http://www.soilmoist.com/soilland.html
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David Hill
Abacus nurseries
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