Forum home Tools and techniques

Water Retaining Crystals

I used these for the first time and then googled them and wish I hadn't.   Right on the package it warns you that they are dangerous to the environment.  Although non-toxic initially, they break down into a lethal neurotoxin.    Sure, by the time we are through with our hanging baskets, they won't have broken down yet...but then what?   You have to dispose of them somehow.   They will eventually reach a waterway.   Also... the research I've seen shows they may not even be effective for the use we want them for.    It's odd.   Lots of "Green" sites recommend them to save water but I think these sites are written by people without a good understanding of their subject and just go for easy "tips."  Even without the "lethal neurotoxin" part... we are clearly adding a form of plastic to the environment/landfill/waterways. 


  • KT53KT53 Posts: 4,430

    Not easy to mulch hanging basketsimage

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 3,683

    I found they did not make the slightest bit of difference, also bought some sponge type things, you put into the bottom of the basket before planting, like the old Ladies used to wet their fingers on in the Post Office, only bigger, they were really expensive and completely useless!

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 3,683

    I have just bought a drip watering kit for one of my greenhouses, because I work shifts, and both my Husband and I have a long commute, wanted to set it up in my greenhouse with the peppers and cucumbers, its says no tools needed easy to install, sorry to be yes, I AM a natural blond!!!  There are no instructions, Its made by Green Blade, I obviously know you hang up the black bag and fill with water, but that is it, would be greatfull for help on this one, please

  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,949

    I have strawberries in hanging baskets and am finding plastic bottles filled with water and upturned in the soil are doing a great job at keeping my plants happy. Cheap and cheerful!

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,921

    I use a small block (3 inch x 3 inch) of flower arranging oasis in the bottom of my hanging baskets, I put in a small flowerpot tray (about 4 inches across) and bury it with a good compost, that way there is a water reserve and a way of wicking it up towards the plant roots

  • Wow, really?? Uh, oh : (

    I've never heard this before. I use them in all my hanging baskets and in the Tomato's and Chilli's pots to keep things right for them. I've used them for five years : /

    There's no warning on my packets about this. Are they defo all the same material?

    ...Freaking out a bit now.

  • cairnsiecairnsie Posts: 388

    I didn't realise this I have added these crystals to my pots and hanging baskets this year as I work shifts and cant always water them. I wish I hadn't now. I assumed it just break down into something harmless.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 26,165

    I've never used them as I read once they DO absorb water, but release it in a way that's no use to plants. 

    I'd like to see some real research on their efficacy.

Sign In or Register to comment.