Uses for Crystal Water Beads

Posted by Seth Rosenthal on December 10, 2012

Crystal Water Beads (and Cubes) are made from a polymer material, similar to the one used in diapers.  They start out as a small, solid bead and after soaking in water overnight, grows to 100x - 150x its size.  Once these beads have grown, their uses are innumerable. 

The most well-known use for Crystal Water Beads is as a replacement soil for common house plants. By completely rinsing all dirt/soil off of the roots of your houseplants, you will be able to start using your plant in Crystal Water Beads replacement soil.  The care involved is very minimal compared to normal care for potted plants.

There are some very basic things that anyone using replacement soil should remember:

  • You must give your plant food as needed for your varietal
  • You should wash your Crystal Water Beads in a colander with soap & water about every 2-3 months 
  • You need to watch your plant the first 1-2 months after you move it from soil to Crystal Water Soil in order to understand how thirsty (or not) your plant is.
  • If you ever see standing water in the bottom of the vase with a common house plant, be sure to tip the vase and drain off the excess water. Standing water can cause green sludge and an odor, and of course you don't want that!

The more full that your plant is over the top of the vase, the longer your Crystal Water Beads will last before you will have to re-hydrate them.  Remember, the beads are mostly composed of water, and the more they are exposed to the air, the more they will dehydrate. If they dehydrate, you can re-hydrate them easily by adding water to your vase and draining off the excess the next day.

Another common use for Crystal Water Beads is for Lucky Bamboo and Fresh Cut Flowers.  Both require a constant supply of water, and the Crystal Water Beads are an excellent medium for making boring water much prettier! When the beads are submerged in water the result is a "colored water" look.  If you prefer minimal water in your vase or medium, be sure that at least the bottom 1" of your container (where the roots or stem ends are) has water.

There are many people, especially in Europe and Asia, that are using the Crystal Water Beads for hydroponics. There are people who start rooting their seedlings in the Crystal Water Soil, and others that replant them. There has been success with growing herbs, some fruits, and a few vegetables. 

A use that is primarily well-known in Asia, is for cleaning the air.  Crystal Water Beads are moist and attract dust, odors, and other pollutants in your home. They have the ability to help keep your air clean and purified in whatever room that they are placed in.

If you decide to use your Crystal Water Beads as an air freshener, you will need to use water-based scented oil instead of water when growing your beads. They will not grow as large, but will leach out the scent and keep your air fresh. The only thing that you need to remember is that if you use the beads as an air freshener, DO NOT reuse the same beads with a plant, bamboo, or fresh cut flowers.

There are many event uses for Crystal Water Soil, such as for table centerpieces and shower gifts.  You can use them strictly as a colorful decoration, put a candle in a bead arrangement, or use with fresh or fake flower arrangements.  

The uses for Crystal Water Soil are truly innumerable and an ongoing creative challenge.  There are so many different colors, shapes, and sizes to choose from that the only limit is your imagination. When you start considering using the Crystal Water Beads for your common house plants, Fresh Cut Flowers, Lucky Bamboo, as an air freshener, and so on, you will never run out of uses! 


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