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Rice hulls are one of the most sustainable soil amendments available to gardeners. When properly applied, they improve soil drainage, water-holding capacity, and aeration.
• For potted plants–mix 10–50% rice hulls into your potting soil.
• You can also use rice hulls as a mulch, just like you’d use straw.
• Rice hulls are extremely lightweight, so they’re especially ideal for rooftop gardening or other gardens that require an amendment to make your soil lighter.
COMPARISON WITH OTHER SOIL AMENDMENTS:
• Rice hulls are most similar to sphagnum peat moss and coco coir, but are more sustainable than either.
• Somewhat less effective at aeration and water retention than peat moss or coco coir, but still a good choice–and if your soil is “extra bad” you can compensate for the difference by adding just a little more rice hulls than you would have coir or peat.
• Unlike these similar products, it is neutral pH. Peat moss and coco coir are both acidic, so use them on acid loving plants or if your soil has a high pH. Use rice hulls if your soil is the correct pH for your plants already, or is naturally acidic.
• Unlike perlite, pumice, vermiculite, and biochar, rice hulls break down after one season of use. This is good for adding organic matter, but you will have to reapply it annually to get the other benefits of moisture regulation and aeration.