Clay pebbles and Growstones® are two different types of growing media used to anchor plant roots in hydroponic systems.
They are placed into a "net pot" container which has holes in it to allow the roots to grow through and reach a nutrient solution but hold the plant base stable. These can both be made pH neutral, and allow for great aeration and strong root development.
They are an essential part to most deep water culture and drip-style hydroponic systems like Current Culture's Under Current systems.
Growstones and clay pebbles are very similar, but what differentiates them, and which should you use?
What are the differences between clay pebbles and Growstones®?
Clay pebbles, also known as hydroton, have been popular for decades and are the most common grow media used in hydroponic systems. They are made of red clay and are hard and durable.
The surface of clay pebbles is smooth, with very few pores, leading to less grip on the plant roots. On the other hand, they are easier to remove from plant roots as a result and easier to clean and reuse.
Clay pebbles are heavy, however, which plays a big factor in higher shipping costs. We carry a wide selection of clay pebbles from various brands
Growstones® are superior to clay pebbles in many ways. Most importantly their rough, porous and irregular shape allows plant roots to adhere to them in a much stronger way than clay pebbles.
This results in more stable plant support and stronger plant roots. Growstones also provide high aeration to plant roots and help to avoid overwatering in drip-style hydroponic systems.
They are made of 100% recycled glass in America and are non-toxic and chemical free. We highly recommend Growstones® for use in all types of hydroponic systems where they are suitable.
Check out our video to get a closer look at the differences between clay pebbles and Growstones®:
Cleaning and pH Balancing Growstones and clay pebbles
It is essential to ensure that your growing media is cleaned and pH stable before use in a hydroponic system. Most growing media, from clay pebbles to growstones, contain small traces particles from the manufacturing process.
This needs to be cleaned off to avoid clogging your hydroponic plumbing and pumps. Some media like Growstones® can also have a high pH when brand new which needs to be stabilized by rinsing and then soaking in a liquid solution that has a lower pH.
You can lower the pH of this solution with the help of a pH down product found here. After soaking check the pH of the solution and when it is stable at 5.8 you are all set to go!
We show you the process in this video:
If you have any questions on which growing media is best for your hydroponic system, don't hesitate to give us a call at 888-815-9763.
Also, check out our definitive guide on growing mediums, highlighting every option available to growers these days!