Horticultural Charcoal vs Regular Charcoal: Which is Better?

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The critical thing to remember is that not all charcoals are created equal. They vary in purpose, and although they have significant benefits, they would produce different results when used. This article discusses the differences between horticultural charcoal and regular charcoal:

Horticultural Charcoal has many excellent and valuable qualities; however, it is dissimilar to Activated Charcoal. It doesn’t have malleable air pockets, so it cannot absorb smells or poisons. Hence, Horticultural Charcoal is the best, but use it in small quantities. Ideally, blend no more than one part charcoal to nine parts soil or potting mix.

What Makes Horticultural Charcoal?

Horticultural Charcoal is otherwise known as Inactive Carbon. A kind of unprocessed carbon with small, low-volume pores increases the surface area and is accessible for absorption.

It is made of pyrolyzed organic material, and the by-product result has been found beneficial to gardening. The standard medium used to make this charcoal is wood, peat, coconut, coal, and pyrolyzed wood.

It is also made from organic material and produced at low temperatures. Its surface is very soft.

Is Horticultural Charcoal The Best?

Yes, It is perfect charcoal for plants that are often used as a soil additive. It will assist in draining the excess moisture from the container. This could also absorb the excess water from the roots of the plants and keep the soil sweetened. It is a soil conditioner.

It prolongs the life of the soil by balancing the pH levels and guarding against bacteria as well. This kind of charcoal is also suitable for plants that require moist environments, such as orchids and ferns.

It increases the oxygen levels and the presence of beneficial microbes. Horticultural charcoal is best used as a soil additive and is more natural. It cleanses naturally, flushes toxins and excess moisture from containers and terrariums.

What Is Regular Charcoal?

Regular charcoal can be obtained by burning wood in the absence of oxygen. It is commonly known and used in the home. It is also called BBQ or grilling charcoal.

We can also find the regular charcoal in water systems, in vacuum cleaners, and it is used to remove chlorine from water and remove foul odors.

You can also use regular charcoal as a growing medium for plants by increasing water absorption and promoting good bacteria and fungi. However, traditional charcoal is not as effective because those lumps of charcoal still contain a lot of wood smoke deep in their pores.

You might expose yourself to chemical additives or impurities that are present. Regular charcoal is also made with chemicals and additives.

Horticultural charcoal vs regular charcoal. Which is better?

Charcoal is of great help to our plants. It is well known how effective and how harmful it can be. Horticultural charcoal and regular charcoal are not the same. However, each has different purposes and, when used, have significant benefits in their respective applications.

The differences are that horticultural charcoals have similarities with the activated charcoals with many positive qualities, but horticultural charcoals don’t have spongy air pockets, so they cannot absorb odors or toxins.

Though, they can be used in a terrarium. Horticultural charcoals are suitable for plants and have excellent benefits for the soil. They are great for helping to improve the drainage and the constant moisture of the soil.

After all, the most important thing to note is that horticultural charcoal helps keep the necessary nutrients in the soil and protects the roots of the plant from fungus and bacteria.

Now the regular charcoal or BBQ charcoal could be used in the plants to make sure there are no chemicals. They can also be used as a fertilizer for the soil, but they don’t have the same function as the horticultural charcoals have.

They are not recommended for use in addition to the soil, and this distinction is important.

Horticultural charcoal would seem more effective and hence superior. It will help your home and garden in the best possible way.

Can Regular Charcoal Replace Horticultural Charcoal?

Some say that regular charcoal is toxic to plants, although it doesn’t kill them.

Thus, nutrients in the regular charcoal ashes are helpful to the growth of the plant. Coming from hardwood scraps which makes it a source of nutrients to the soil.

Hence, regular charcoal briquettes as fertilizer can kill the plants because of harmful additives the manufacturing company uses.

There is one kind of regular charcoal that is an excellent fertilizer for natural lump charcoal plants. The ash of the natural lump charcoal is a good fertilizer. It’s made from hardwoods and contains no fillers and additives.

How Does Regular Charcoal Ash Work?

Ash from natural lump charcoal or regular charcoal could help for increasing the alkalinity of the soil; hence ash is water-soluble. Here are some benefits of adding ash to the soil:

• Regulates pH balance – Any plant needs soil with pH balance. The ash enhances the increased alkalinity of the earth since ash is water-soluble.

• Promote the growth of clover – Ash promotes clover growth easier. Clover plants are essential to the environment since they provide nectar for the bees, and the process of pollination comes in.

• Full of minerals – Ash also contains trace elements essential for the growth of the plants, such as calcium carbonate that improves plant growth and increases the bacterial activity of the soil.

• Pest control for plants – Ash contains salt that helps kill pests like snails and slugs. Just sprinkle the ash around the base of the affected area of the plant.

• Suppression of weed – Ash helps suppress weed and increase the alkalinity of the soil.

Adding more ashes to the soil can also result in excessive alkalinity, damaging the plants. It can cause unpleasant odors and algae infestation as well.

Are Horticultural Charcoals And Regular Charcoals Good For Terrariums?

A terrarium is a sealable glass container holding soil and plants in which plants are grown. It’s a collection of decorative plants growing in a glass container. Water vapor is released from the plants and soil into the terrarium. It collects on the walls of the glass container and trickles down into the soil.

Terrariums are self-nourishing and low maintenance.

Horticultural charcoal works perfectly for terrariums, while regular charcoal is not recommended for use. The plant owners of the terrariums have placed a small amount of horticultural charcoal between the drainage layer and the artillery layer substrates. It is an aid in filtering out. However, the primary purpose is to create more surface space for beneficial bacteria to accumulate.

While in aquatic setups like aquariums, the horticultural charcoal can reach its full potential when paired with filtering media. Placed into an area where water could continually pass through the media, this charcoal will shield healthy bacteria that will break toxins.

Further, it keeps the water clear and free of odor for some time. You should add the charcoal first before adding the sand into the terrarium. It would be best if you changed it every 2 – 4 weeks.

The main benefits of adding horticultural charcoal to your terrariums are toxin removal, restricting pests from coming into your plant, and fighting bacteria.

In the presence of horticultural charcoal in the terrariums, the overwatering or the excess water will be absorbed by the charcoal instead of logging into the bottom. So, it’s worth it to try.

Regular Or BBQ Charcoal. Is It Worth Using In A Terrarium?

No. Regular or BBQ charcoal contains fuel additives, making them quick to start burning at a certain temperature. It also contains chemicals that are unsafe for the plants in the terrariums.

It doesn’t deliver the benefits you are expecting. Charcoal has been proven in helping potted plants grow healthy. Yet, there are charcoals not recommended for use in the terrariums.

Plant lovers tend to have different ways of introducing charcoal to their plants and garden soil. To add horticultural charcoal to the garden soil, here are the benefits:

• Soil conditioner – Keep sweetens the soil with high potassium content by absorbing nutrients for plant roots.

• Drainage assistance – Improve and assist in draining the excess moisture.

• Natural Filter – It helps and filters harmful and odor-causing bacteria.

• Soil Additive – It is often used as a perfect addition to the potting mixture because of leaving the beneficial nutrient intact.

• Balances soil pH level – It regulates and helps balance the pH level of the soil.

• Filler of Potting Container – Charcoal is lighter than gravel and rocks.

• Neutralizes Herbicides – It helps not to destroy the development of the growing plants.

• Pesticide Cleanup and removal – Horticultural charcoal helps remove toxins and the harmful effects of pesticides.

• Anti-fungal protection – To control disease-causing bacteria.

• Good for plants that need a moist environment like orchids and ferns.

Final Thoughts

We can now determine the differences between horticultural charcoal and regular charcoal. They both have great value but diverse applications.

This article should act as a guide for growers. It provides sufficient information about the quality of charcoal that will best suit your requirements.

Now we all know that horticultural charcoal is better than regular charcoal. The simplest ways to make our plants grow healthy are to increase the pH levels and improve air circulation to retain nutrients and soil moisture.

Hopefully, our research has helped you make the best choice for growing your plants in an exemplary fashion, which will increase your pleasure significantly.

Jenny Marie
Tribal Writer

Edited By
Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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