As a beginner to soilless gardening, it can be difficult to choose a grow medium. There are many substrates commonly used in hydroponic systems and you’ll find that they each have their individual pros and cons. In two previous posts we highlighted to benefits of using two popular grow mediums: coconut coir and perlite. In this post we’ll review another grow medium: clay pebbles.
Clay Pebbles as a Grow Medium
When discussed in terms of a grow medium, these round clay pebbles are often used in recirculating hydroponic systems as a layer of substrate. To create clay pebbles, the manufacturers take pieces of clay and fire them in a kiln causing the substance to expand. This is why this grow medium is often referred to as “expanded clay pebbles”.
Clay pebbles are an organic substance which means that many growers like to use them as alternatives to other substrates. It’s common also for growers to use clay pebbles as a base layer combined with other grow mediums. This is because clay pebbles offer excellent drainage.
Benefits of Clay Pebbles
Using clay pebbles as your grow medium in either container gardening or in a hydroponic system offers many benefits. The major benefit is that expanded clay pebbles retain moisture. This is important as we are trying collectively to maximize the efficiency of our water supple. Secondly, because clay pebbles are porous and lightweight they increase aeration to the plants’ root systems. In addition to this quality, clay pebbles also improve drainage which is important to maintaining the health of the root systems and preventing rot. Clay pebbles are also a good medium to ensure proper support of your plants.
Because clay pebbles are made under extreme heat, they’re a sterile substrate and also have a neutral pH level. Clay pebbles are an easy medium to reuse meaning they are ecologically friendly given their long life cycle.
All of these benefits of clay pebbles lead to an overall improvement in your plant’s growth and health which is why this grow medium quickly becoming one of the most popular soilless options.
Learn more about the types of clay pebble products available online or at your local indoor gardening shop.