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Safe planting medium for ponds?


mysterygirl

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I'm pleased to have found this kitty litter on sale which I'll be using to replant my water lilies for spring.

 

 $7 for a 16 Lb bag.

ClumpingClayBagFront40lb_350pix.jpg
The company says it is 100% Wyoming sodium bentonite clay, no fillers, no fragrances, dyes or chemicals

 

There are two types of bentonite clay, calcium and sodium. Koi Clay and similar products are calcium bentonite which is basically a non swelling bentonite. Sodium Bentonite is sometimes calling "swelling clay" because  depending on the source it can swell twice its dry size up to over 20 times its size when introduced to water. Koi breeders often use it at the bottom of their rocky ponds to seal them. 

 

So this should be safe to use as a planting medium. I'll cover the top with pea gravel to keep Skeletor from making a facial mask with it.  :P

 

 I'm planning to mix it with a lava-rock type planting medium this weekend and replant my water lilies.

 

 

I'd be interested to hear what other people use - there is plenty of water lily/pond plant advice on the web, most of it does not consider what would be safe for fish.

 

More on Wyoming sodium bentonite:

 

Bentonite is an industrial mineral, rich in a clay mineral called montmorillonite. Bentonites used for hydraulic barriers in North America are produced from the naturally occurring sodium bentonites mined in the state of Wyoming. These bentonites have a unique cation chemistry. The cations that balance electrostatic charge in the clay structure are "exchangeable" cations and consist of sodium (Na+), calcium (Ca++), and Mg (++) cations. The largest deposits of commercial sodium bentonite are found in Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota. Over the years, these special bentonites have become famous and commonly referred to as "Wyoming" bentonite. 

 

The combination of the relative purity, its unusual geochemistry and structure is why "Wyoming" bentonite is used as a sealant. Purity is defined by the amount of sodium montmorillonite as compared to the other minerals present in the bentonite. A typical "Wyoming" bentonite contains ~90% montmorillonite while other bentonites produced around the world have only 70-80% montmorillonite.

 

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I personally use soil from the place I get my lilies from. They use a 2:1 mix of clay and sand, which is not all that hard to come by when your state is rimmed by beaches and has a squishy clay center. I just shove some lily root tabs down in the soil and away I go. 

 

Not sure you want to use something that you'd use as a sealant to plant lilies in. :idont

Edited by ChelseaM
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If I knew that the sand was "safe" I'd mix some in. Perhaps a trip to the beach is in order.  :cold: Do you remember how much they charge per pound? This is only .43 cents, which is part of the attraction if you need a lot.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Okay, this is one THICK THICK clay. More like potters clay.

 

You were right Chelsea, it is much to thick to use as potting media.

I ended up using it to weight down the pots, as a bottom layer. I might spread it over areas where my lining was repaired, it is more like a sealant.

 

Ah well. The pond can use the calcium - we'll see what this stuff does to my KH levels which had been too low after the winter rains.

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This clay has a VERY high pH.

 

For that reason alone I would avoid using it unless your local water is on the acidic side, say less than 7.4. In that specific case it might be a natural way raise the pH levels while adding minerals. 

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I usually use organic potting mix with a layer of gravel on top to keep it down.  I've also simply left the coco-fiber and mesh bag that has come around lily rhizomes I've purchased and just weighed them down with a few river rocks as well and they did just fine.

Edited by Reds12
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  • 1 year later...
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I want any plants in the pond to get nutrients from the pond, so I use gravel or hydroponic grow medium.  If I do use kitty litter, I use the standard for ponders -- Special Kitty Natural Clay Litter from Walmart.  Pure clay, and the cheapest litter available.

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