Horticultural Charcoal Vs Activated Charcoal For Succulents: A Short Guide For Easier Understanding

Last Updated on October 5, 2022 by Guillermina

Find out more about horticultural charcoal vs activated charcoal for succulents in this detailed article.

Succulents are plants full of charm, don’t you agree? They can be seen as a statement at weddings, office desks, and windowsills. Honestly, they have been having their moment for the past few years. Do you know what we like the most? – The fact that they are one of the easiest plants to take care of.

However, keep in mind that they need drainage-friendly soil to survive. This is exactly where charcoals come to our aid. Therefore, take a look at this article and read more about horticultural charcoal vs activated charcoal for succulents.

Meet The Main Actors Of This Story

Before any comparison, it would be advisable to familiarize yourself with the materials we will talk about today. So let’s get to work!

What is Horticultural Charcoal?

Inactive carbon, better known as Horticultural charcoal, is an organic material obtained by the pyrolysis process. In short, it is charcoal in its purest possible form. It is added to plants to improve their general condition and stimulate growth. This type of charcoal can even be used in terrariums and vivariums to remove odors and fight fungus and toxins.

 Does charcoal absorb moisture in soil?

What is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal, also called activated carbon, is a general type of charcoal. It is most often used because of its incredible moisture-absorbing power, and air circulation properties. Given that it is a highly porous material, it is no wonder that it so effectively absorbs excess water and thus prevents root rot.

Click here to learn more about charcoal.

Now that you have gotten to know them more closely, let’s go into more detail about horticultural charcoal vs activated charcoal for succulents.

Horticultural Charcoal Vs Activated Charcoal For Succulents

Both horticultural and activated charcoals are excellent choices for your sun-loving plants. They are a great addition to the soil because they have the ability to remove unpleasant odors and toxins from the soil, and since they are made of extremely porous organic material, they help with better drainage.

Based on the various studies we have had the opportunity to read, we can conclude that they are among the best soil components you can use.

Regarding the comparison of horticultural charcoal vs activated charcoal for succulents, these two carbon materials have several similarities and differences. In short, activated charcoal is much more porous than the horticultural one.

Namely, when you look at them through the lens of a microscope, it is very easy to notice that horticultural charcoal doesn’t have spongy air pockets. Therein lies the biggest difference between the two, horticultural charcoal lacks the ability to absorb moisture, odors, and toxins to the same extent that activated charcoal does.

Does Charcoal Absorb Moisture In Soil?

Real gardeners have to think ahead, you know what they say, prevention is better than cure. Charcoal is one of the best organic materials you can use to help your succulents thrive, as it rids the soil of impurities, repels various creepy-crawly creatures, as well as prevents mold and odors.

However, it is far more famous for its incredible moisture absorption power, thereby preventing root rot.

How to Layer Succulent Soil?

Even the birds on the branch know how important quality soil is for the survival and development of your plant. Choose the wrong one, and trust us, you are only a few hours away from endlessly solving care problems.

Here are the 4 easiest steps for layering succulents’ soil:

  1. First, add a layer of small stones or pebbles for drainage.
  2. Place in a layer of sand. This is ideal for larger containers. In addition to drainage, it also provides aesthetic benefits.
  3. Add a layer of Cacti and Succulent Potting Mix.
  4. After planting, you can also add some stones or pebbles on the top layer. This step is optional and depends on your preferences.

How Much Charcoal Do You Put In Soil?

 How long does charcoal take to decompose?

To be honest, in terms of quantity, the best advice anyone can give you is to be careful and not overload the soil with charcoal. It would be best to add 10% of activated or horticultural charcoal to the soil, and depending on the weather, increase or decrease the amount.

Given that the moisture level is not the same every month throughout the year, the higher the moisture level, the soil needs more absorption, or in this particular case, the more charcoal.

Experts generally recommend adding a layer of charcoal to the bottom of the plant pot. For instance, a 1/2-inch-thick layer of charcoal in a 4-inch pot should do the job perfectly well, as it will act as a drainage layer that boosts water retention and aeration.

How Long Does Charcoal Take To Decompose?

Based on research, it has been proven that charcoal mass is extremely resistant to decomposition and that it can remain undecomposed for up to 8 thousand years.

However, it is very important to emphasize that in contact with air and water, it surely decomposes. If you want to extend its life, we advise you to put it in a sealed or Ziploc bag. Once stored properly, it can last up to 100 years.

Additionally, this is one of the reasons why repotting succulents every few years is advised as charcoal loses its absorbent power over time.

That’s it, now you know everything you need to know about horticultural charcoal vs activated charcoal for succulent.

To Conclude

 How much charcoal do you put in soil?

To be honest, although adding them to the soil in which succulents grow is not necessary, charcoal really brings many benefits. It can be considered an essential, indispensable addition to soil for all plants grown indoors. Unfortunately, there is hardly a container plant that hasn’t experienced drainage problems or suffered from root rot at some point in its life. This is exactly where these charcoals come to our aid.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article on horticultural charcoal vs activated charcoal for succulents.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us in the section below.

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