What is and what is the arlita used for?

Arlite balls

When we have a need to improve the drainage of our pots or to decorate a corner of our garden in a very original way, it is highly recommended to get some arlite sacks, which is a very inexpensive material that we can use to have a very elegantly decorated space.

It is also very easy to find, sold in nurseries, garden stores and even in agricultural warehouses, so that we will not have any problem in acquiring the quantity we need.

What is arlita?

Expanded clay

Arlite, also called expanded clay, ripiolite or leca, it is a ceramic aggregate that weighs very little. With a granulometry of between 5 and 16mm, and a density that ranges between 325kg / m3 and 750kg / m3, it has multiple uses in the field of gardening and construction.

The color varies depending on what use it is intended for: if it is to be used by the gardener, the clay will normally be red, which is the color of the colorant that is put on it, and the metals that could affect the pH balance will have been eliminated; On the other hand, if it is to be used by a bricklayer, it may lack color.

What uses does it have?

As we have commented, It is a material that can give us a lot of play. In construction it is used to create slopes that will conduct water on flat roofs and also to make lightweight concrete, with low densities (about 500kg/m3). But we are going to focus on the uses it has in gardening, which are many and varied:

Keeps the soil moist for longer

If you live like me in a place where in summer the sun is very intense and the temperatures rise rapidly to 30, 35 or 40ºC, you will know how little the earth stays humid. Sometimes and depending on what type of plant it is, it is necessary to water every day, or twice a day as is the case with horticultural plants.

Well, to save a little water it is advisable place a layer of clay balls on the surface of the pots that are in semi-shade (You should never put it on a plant that is in the sun, since doing so could cause the roots to burn). In this way, the plants will have more time to collect the water they need.

Decorate the pots and keep the plants upright

Flowerpots with clay lily

Image - Nexusbuildcon.com

Expanded clay is great for decorating pots that are in semi-shade or shade. Therefore, if you would like the plants to look much more than they already do, it is highly advisable put clay balls on the surface of the substrate. In addition, if we have any that do not finish staying straight, with the clay we will achieve a good development again.

Prevents the roots from rotting

One of the mistakes we make the most is to put a plate under the plants and never remove the water from them. The roots, being in almost permanent contact with the liquid, end up suffocating and dying. The problem is that, of course, if you have plants inside the home, if we didn't put anything under them, the furniture would get dirty every time we water it, something we don't like.

Fortunately there is something we can do, and it is the following:

  1. The first thing is to get a pot without holes that we like, in which the pot fits well.
  2. Then we put a layer of clay about 5cm.
  3. And finally, we introduce the pot.

Of course, we have to take into account that this is a solution, let's say, temporary, in case we ever have an oversight. Even so, it is very important to remove the excess water to prevent the plant from weakening due to overwatering.

Improves soil drainage

As a general rule, universal growing substrates have the nutrients that plants need but they also have a major drawback: poor drainage. Of course there are substrates and substrates, but it is very common to acquire a bag of soil that does not allow the water to drain properly.

A very simple and inexpensive way to solve it is mixing it with balls of expanded clay. The proportion will vary depending on the type of plant it is. For instance:

  • Inside plants: 65% substrate + 35%
  • Horticultural plants: 70% substrate + 30%
  • Plants grown for their flower: 80% substrate + 20%
  • Seedbeds: 60% substrate + 40%

Protect your plants from the cold

If we have recently bought plants and put them on the ground, it is possible that even though they are very resistant, they will have a bit of a hard time during the winter as they are not acclimatized. This is something that usually happens often and should not worry us excessively, as long as these plants have been acquired in the outdoor facilities of the nursery and not in a closed greenhouse.

Thus, to try to help them a little it is advisable to put a clay ball padding on them, which will absorb the heat they can, which will allow the roots to be more protected.

Have a herb-free corner

If we want to prevent herbs from growing in any corner of our garden, we can choose to put an anti-herb mesh, or a clay soil, which will look very good as it will give a different touch to the space.

Arlite price

This is a material that is very inexpensive. The expanded clay used in gardening is sold in bags of six or more liters, and it costs 1 or 2 euros per litre, or even less. Considering that he only wears one cape, it works out very well.

Do you know other uses?

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  1.   Fernando Guerra said

    Hello after reading this publication, I am encouraged to tell you how I use the lady.
    I use the lady alone without substrate, I fill the entire lady's pot and place a tray with a little background and also fill with clay and fill the tray with water and plant directly afterwards irrigation with organic fertilizer, always leaving the water in the tray.
    I usually change the water so that no verdina comes out.
    I found clay for industrial use at 0,11 centimes liter. And it's red, just like the one they sell me for gardening.
    I would like constructive criticism of the method I use as I would like to improve it.
    Thank you very much

  2.   william perez said

    The clay is used to cover a clay oven as a heat insulator

  3.   José María said

    Is construction clay good for gardening?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello José María.

      Yes, but only if you mix it with peat. That is, the arlita by itself would only serve you in case you wanted to cultivate in Hydroponics.


  4.   Hector said

    Can I use lacquer as a substrate to grow phalaenopsis orchids?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Hector.
      No, we do not recommend it, since Phalaenopsis needs an acidic soil, with a pH between 4 and 6. Arlita has a pH of 7.
      You have more information here.