Last year I separated a bunch of my indoor plants and I found that the dirt that I had gotten was infested with gnats. So I went and got all new indoor potting soil and of course the gnats came back.
Just so we are clear I re-potted over 40 indoor plants. I washed all of the roots and pots. The gnats came back. Eew. I then started putting colored cups of soapy water by every single plant. I would change the water twice a day. I could catch about 300 gnats a day. Then I started watering my plants with soapy water, which I had read that it would kill the eggs. This did not work with killing the gnat eggs but it did kill off 5 of my more sensitive house plants.
It was the beginning of summer and unfortunately I had lost my patience with the gnat situation, all of the indoor plants went to the front porch.
I was saddened because both my husband and I really love the look of plants throughout the home. But I could also tell a difference in the air quality of inside the home, it was a bit mustier. The main reason why I had gotten indoor plants was to improve the air quality, I have a great deal of allergies and the air cleaning plants also help us sleep better.
I did a bunch of research on different types of replacements for soil. What I have found was floral water pearls. We have purchased them from amazon. They come in many different colors, we just got a multicolored pack of 20,000 to give them a try. They are so tiny when they arrive. You will need to let them absorb water to their full size before transplanting your plants. this process may take about 4 hours. When they arrived the pearls were in very bold colors but once they were full sized and ready for plants they appear pastel colors. We decided that if we were going to get fancy dirt we wanted to get containers that I would be able to see through in order to watch and see if any problems arise such as bugs or mold.
We have slowly reintroduced the plants after transplanting them again. We are quite happy with the transformation. We have slowly purchased more and more multi color floral water pearls as well as taking advantage of 50% coupons at various craft stores in order to have clear glass containers.
Slight problems we have found include: If your plant is very large above the root base such as our snake plants you will need a taller container in order to stabilize the plant. The first very tall one we did fell over and the bottom slid right out of water pearls and out of the container. It was a bit of a very funny mess. This situation was incredibly easy to fix.
A different problem was watering. I was very excited about the fact that I would be able to see when to water the plants because the pearls would shrink up a bit. What I didn’t realize is that it would not be universal throughout the whole container. The water sits at the bottom of the container and keeps the bottom and middle pearls at the nice stable size enough for the roots. The pearls at the top is a completely different story. They dehydrate at a much more rapid pace because they are next to the open air. I thought that if I just poured water into the container in such a manner that I used to do with dirt it would re-hydrate the pearls. Nope, the water goes straight to the bottom of the container. So I have had to improvise. I now once a week scoop out the smaller pearls on top of all the plants and re hydrate them and then pop them right back in later in the day.
I have come to realize that having to pay more attention with the watering process of each plant helps me to be more aware of each plants’ overall health. I will take the time to cut off dead leaves on a more regular basis. I have also been able to find mold in one of the containers.
This brings me to the next issue. Mold in the plants. The nice side is that I can see the mold in the plant containers right away and can take care of the issue right away. I use a clean spoon and scoop out the floral water pearls, usually they are in need of re-hydrating so I will let them soak for a few hours and then I will put them into a large mixing bowl with soapy water for about an hour. I will then put them into a clean strainer and rinse them until no soapy water runs out. I will toss them very gently while rinsing them and look for any permanently contaminated water pearls, they will look foggy the whole way through. I pluck them out and they go into the trash, usually it’s only one or two water pearls, out of the 5,000 that are in the container, not bad.
Overall we really like how it has changed our indoor plant dynamics for our home. They have gone from the background to the foreground and have turned into a really great conversation topic with guests. It is wonderful for the plants in my home to be able to be a topic transition to enable me to have thoughtful discussions about such issues as our environment, sustainability and technology.
Floral water pearls as an indoor plant substitute RickabaughReviews highly approves and recommends!