A substrate is an artificial soil for plants and contributes to healthy plant growth. Different types of substrates can be distinguished. But what is the function of a substrate and how do you choose the right kind?
A good substrate fulfills a number of basic characteristics for a good oxygen exchange and the amount of water that the substrate can retain, which is important for getting the nutrients to the plant and for the roots to "breathe". It is important to know in advance which substrate you choose because the nutrition for the plant is adjusted accordingly. Substrates come in different types depending on the desired properties. Nieuwkoop Europe offers various substrates for planting planters. In addition, you can choose to use beautiful decorative stones as a covering layer.
Hydroculture is a system in which the roots of plants grow between granules made from baked clay. These clay granules absorb water and nutrients and gradually feed this to the plants. The coarse structure of the granules prevents the substrate from compacting, enabling the roots of the plants to absorb sufficient oxygen at all times. A handy water level indicator tells you exactly how much water the plants still have.
Hydropculture needs water less often. Depending on the type of plant and the location, on average once a month. With the help of the water meter, you can easily read how much water the plant needs, and when. Because hydroculture require little intensive care, it is now widely used in offices and public buildings. When assembling hydroculture, do solid hydroponics nutrition (HD5) at the bottom of the bin. This forms a nutritious basis for the first six months. After a period of six months, the plant needs liquid nutrition with every watering.
You can read more information about hydroculture in our brochure
Potting soil is a mixture of various natural raw materials. The basic raw material is peat, which ensures that potting soil has sufficient water-absorbing capacity. Other raw materials, such as bark, coir, compost, clay, fertilisers and lime, are added to the peat. Potting soil is lighter than, for example, the heavier dark garden soil. A pH metre is a handy tool for measuring the moisture content of the root ball.
There are less attractive sides to the use of peat. Large quantities of carbon are stored in the soil from which peat is extracted that are released in the form of CO2. This is not exactly sustainable for our planet! We have therefore developed a new generation of sustainable potting soil in which no peat has been processed. By adding broken hydro granules, this substrate still has sufficient water-absorbing capacity. Moreover, the new substrate contains enough plant nutrition for an entire year. As a result, we have found the perfect balance between sustainability and the quality of potting soil.
Vulcastrat is often used for semi-culture and is a pure mixture of minerals, such as lava, pumice and zeolites. The volcanic rock has the same effect as hydroponics. Since vulcastrat absorbs more water compared to regular soil, it gradually releases water to the roots. Also, water cannot collect at the bottom of the pot and stays out of the reach of the roots because vulcastrat absorbs the water up to 30cm up. Another advantage is that vulcastrat has a very stable pH value, which makes it easy for plants to absorb the nutrients.
Vulcastrat cannot shrink shut due to its coarse structure, which keeps the soil more airy and allows the roots to absorb enough oxygen. The biggest advantage of vulkastrat is the simplicity of watering when you use a water meter. There is a dipstick in the water meter with a float at the bottom. This goes up as soon as water gets to the bottom of the pot. The first time, water until the meter rises slightly. Keep in mind that the water takes a while to sink. Water again only if the water meter has dropped completely. Water slowly to prevent the level from rising above MAX (maximum).
Vulcaponic is also used for semi-culture. These granules have the property that they can absorb a lot of water and food. During the watering, the grains suck up and no water remains in the pot. The roots slowly absorb the moisture from the professional soil. This ensures a good moisture balance, which benefits the growth of the plant.
Vulcaponic and vulcastrat are virtually the same. The only difference is that vulcaponic contains more zeolites, so that the substrate absorbs more water and has a better pore volume. Thanks to the strong capillary capacity, water does not remain at the bottom of the planter out of reach of the roots. As with hydroculture, a water level indicator is also used with the vulcaponic and vulcastrat system.
Seramis consists of small, porous clay granules with a very high absorbency. The substrate is of a high-quality baked clay from the Westerwald region in Germany. The clay is mixed with water and this mixture is then dried, broken into fragments, sieved and fired. Seramis is often used in semi-hydro culture, such as vulcastrat and vulcaponic.