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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone. I wanted to ask about substrate as regards to Hydrophyte's method for planting Peace Lillies in riparium planters. I understand that he/she uses hydroton for greater air/water circulation around the roots.

So my question is:

Is it possible to substitute large gravel or even small pebbles to achieve the same effect? Or is hydroton more beneficial to the roots, as it is porous? I know it doesn't have any nutrient retaining abilities, I read some reviews. Or is that wrong?

I was wondering as I do not have any on hand, and the only bags available where I live are whopping 30l ones. Plus I'm a bit cheap skate :icon_lol:

Thank you for any help.
 

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I actually spoke with Devin on this subject recently. The answer was there is no reason you cannot use other substrates. He actually encourages the experimentation. Here is my thread using a mixture of sand, gravel, and flourite with a single layer of those hydrotons on the bottom if you look at the roots of my peace lillies, they loved the mixture.

Here, hydrophyte is using mineralized soil and turface. The possiblities are endless. I am also using turface in a lot of my pots and having luck as well.
 

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Hydroton doesn't really do much except provide a coarse media for growing. It might have some nutrient retaining capability, but I imagine this to be minor. A pea-sized gravel should work as well as Hydroton for those riparium planters.

I think that Hydroton is so popular because it is so lightweight. It wouldn't be so cost-effective to ship up around those large bags if they were fill with gravel and several times heavier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks very much for your replies, it is good to know I can experiment. I have lots of extra pea gravel, some clay and laterite- also some sandy mix with a a fair bit of sediment I collected from a 'ditch by the road' as my sister puts it. That is, a little stream that has been flowing most of last season up in a wetland area near my house.

I intend to use that, I think. Would laterite poured directly on roots burn them? I seem to remember reading that somewhere...

EDIT: sewingalot, I looked at your link and like what I see- your 20 gallon looks off to a great start. Good luck with it :)
 

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Hydroton is a fired clay product just as Flourite and SMS and similar substrates are. Hydroton is just much larger particles, and was developed, as far as I can tell, for use in hydroponics. There are several brands of that stuff, not all called hydroton, but from what I can find, it is all priced about the same. You can get about 10 L of it for about $10 plus another $10 for shipping cost. If you have a hydroponics store near you they very likely have some to sell. Unfortunately, local stores are aware of the internet too, and know that we have to pay big shipping charges when we buy there, so their prices can be almost the same as internet + shipping prices.
 
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