Recently, glass vessels filled with clear or colored pearls and in which a plant - often an orchid - is standing are becoming increasingly common. Plastic balls are also available for cut flowers, also called water beads or Aqualinos. What’s it all about?

The gel balls or cubes are superabsorbent polymers, similar to those used in baby diapers. This plastic has the property of absorbing a great deal of water and storing it in gel form, the beads swelling up to a multiple of their original size. Dry them out, shrink them again.

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However, orchids are not a particularly suitable plant type for hydroponics. For them, “wet feet” are fatal, so that waterlogging must be avoided. Only the increased humidity, which arises when the balls dry out, improves the microclimate somewhat. Otherwise, the orchid in the gel ball glass jar is just a decorative arrangement.

 

However, Read more this needs to be taken care of. The orbeez balls must swell regularly, if possible in soft water.

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If you take hard water, lime deposits in the balls over time and they become cloudy. You will also find that algae develop in the water. These “green coverings” have to be rinsed off if you want to maintain their decorative appearance. This is quite a “slippery” affair, the best thing to do is to put the balls in a sieve.

 

These balls are also touted for cut flowers in the glass vase. However, the stems must be constantly in water, otherwise they will wither. However, if you want to see the water beads well, you cannot completely fill the vase with water. A few cm of water on the bottom of the vase must be sufficient. If you only put a few blossoms of flowers with low evaporation into it, that may be enough. Bouquets with higher water requirements will quickly wilt.

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For all your water beads in New Zealand, visit waterbeads.co.nz

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