Use SwellGel to Keep Your Plants Hydrated
SwellGel is a best-selling next-gen gardening product that prevents water wastage while being good for the environment, supporting healthy plant growth, and protecting gardens, flowers, and veggies from dehydration during the ever-warmer summer months.
This innovative product is made of granules, which expand to contain water. It has a slow-release mechanism to deliver moisture back into the soil when it drops beneath an optimal level.
Roots can also grow through the granules and directly absorb water, making it a versatile and efficient product that can be transformative for gardens that often end up dry, parched, and lifeless after a heatwave.
AK Kin explains all you need to know about adding SwellGel to your gardening toolbox and how to ensure you get maximum results.
What Is SwellGel?
SwellGel is a branded product within our gardening additives range and an excellent mixture to blend with your growing media, such as compost, potting soil, or fertilisers. It comprises small granules that can absorb multiple times their weight in water capacity.
Water usage is a prominent topic in gardening, throughout the landscaping and maintenance sectors, due to the rising costs of utilities and the environmental impact of using excessive water volumes.
Gardening enthusiasts and professionals often use various approaches to try and reduce water usage and wastage by collecting rainwater, repurposing water used elsewhere in households, or adhering to hosepipe bans.
However, it can be difficult to take a responsible, eco-friendly approach during hot spells with little or no rain or where collected water is contaminated and unsuitable to use on plants, particularly edible herbs, fruits, and vegetables.g
Water-absorbing granules work by storing water that falls naturally during rainfall, as well as during watering, and distributing it among roots and plants only as and when needed. It is an ideal way to extend the periods between watering or capture as much rain as possible to hydrate and nourish plants.
What Does SwellGel Do?
When you mix SwellGel with your soil or compost, the granules prevent excess water from draining away. It is safe to use on plants, shrubs, herbs, or when planting trees, with a neutral pH, zero toxicity and an inert profile that will not alter soil conditions.
This biodegradable granule works for up to two years. It biodegrades naturally over roughly five years, a side-effect of sunlight and bacteria in the soil, so it doesn’t require removal or any other treatment.
The granules have a concealed lattice structure beneath the surface, which expands, and holds the water safely inside. When the soil becomes dry and the surrounding water levels fall, the gel releases the water into the ground.
How to Use SwellGel in Your Garden
Manufacturer recommendations suggest using one gram of SwellGel per litre of soil or compost, although the ratio is slightly higher for hanging baskets, which are more prone to dryness. They need roughly 1.75 grams per litre.
Our 1kg pouch can treat from 500 to 1,000 litres of soil and is suitable for patio tubs, window boxes, vegetables, grow bags, houseplants and hanging baskets. Each pack comes with a five-gram scoop for easy measurements.
More specific instructions depend on the planting environment, which we explain below.
Using SwellGel in a Vegetable Plot or Allotment
Gardeners should use around 15 to 20 scoops of SwellGel to treat a veggie plot, adding the granules to the 20 cm of soil closest to the surface, ensuring moisture released reaches young plant roots quickly.
For seedlings, two scoops per metre mixed into the top five cm of soil works well to assist germination. If you want to improve moisture conditions for strawberries, mix half a scoop of granules into each planting hole.
Initially, the SwellGel should be well watered every hour for two hours, activating the granules and ensuring they have plentiful water storage.
Applying SwellGel to Garden Borders
In borders and bedding plants, you can use granules in the top 20 cm of soil as with vegetables or mix SwellGel into your soil or compost before planting. The same hourly watering schedule for the first two hours will help the granules absorb plenty of water.
SwellGel Usage Instructions for Shrubs
The planting hole for shrubs should be around twice the root ball size and be filled with your planting media mixed with dry SwellGel granules. If you are planting shrubs into containers, aim for the following dimensions:
- Use one five-gram scoop to plant spaces 20 cm wide, deep, and long.
- A shrub planting area of 25 cm wide, deep, and long requires ten grams, or two scoops
- Larger shrubs with a planting hole of 30 cm wide, deep, and long need three scoops, or 15 grams of SwellGel.
Established shrubs can also be treated using a fork to dig holes around the roots 15 cm away from the plant. Pour around half a scoop of SwellGel down each, flushing through with water to push the granules towards the roots and water as before.
Laying Turf With SwellGel
Moisture-retaining granules can significantly improve the condition and health of turf and wild grasses. New turf needs consistent watering and can dry out very quickly, while the roots have yet to be properly established.
When you prepare the topsoil, sprinkle SwellGel over the top, lay the turf, and water twice, once per hour, to allow the granules to soak up the excess.
The Benefits of SwellGel
SwellGel has numerous benefits, including reducing the watering frequency, preventing excess water drainage, and keeping plants healthy and growing during hot summers.
It is a great option for gardeners who wish to preserve the condition of plants while on holiday or avoid watering more than necessary, particularly where restrictions on water usage are in place.
Adding SwellGel to greenhouse plants and grow bags can support strong plant growth of all species and ensure that even in very hot conditions, flowers and vegetables continue to receive a good water supply – without changing the soil conditions or requiring extra maintenance.