Hi, to create a microclimate for my bonsai ficus retusa I am using gravel and sand for aquariums in the saucer, it is a NON porous stone. Or is expanded clay, pumice or akadama preferable? thanks for your attention.
the use of gravel, clay, or other materials in the saucers of plants that love humidity is due only to the fact that one tries to keep the vase raised by the layer of water that must constantly remain in the saucer itself; if we did not put this layer of inert material, the result would be that the roots of the plant would constantly macerate in the water, favoring the development of rot and mold. So, whether you put sand, gravel, expanded clay, pumice stone, lapillus, vermiculite, perlite, it doesn’t matter; clear that if you put the clay, the material will absorb a little water, allowing the saucer to contain a little more; but doing a couple of math, in a saucer that contains about 400 ml of water, what changes if the clay absorbs about 30ml allowing you to add them to the saucer? If you wish you can also use other methods to lift the vase from the water, how to place bricks in the center of the saucer, on which to rest the vase; but honestly, using a granular material is certainly more pleasing to the eye; There are also colored glass grits on the market, which can be used in this way, or very special decorative gravels; clear that before using any material you should check that it is well washed: the expanded clay and pumice stone to be used for gardening are usually not wrapped in earth or dust, and if added to water they leave it more or less clear ; if you decide to use another material, check that it does not release too much dust into the water. In addition to creating a humid environment by leaving a lot of water in the saucer, which will gradually evaporate into the air, it is also good to periodically vaporize the leaves with demineralized water; demineralized because if you use tap water for a long time for this operation the leaves of your ficus will tend to get stained with limescale. Vaporizing is particularly useful when the climate is very hot and dry, but also when the heating or air conditioning system is active in the house, which remove large quantities of humidity from the air. Basically the water in the saucer performs the same function as the water that is put in humidifiers to hang on the radiators, which should also be used when there are no plants in the house, because dry air is not even good for humans.
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