Congratulations! You are now on the waiting list, please check your inbox for our confirmation email!
Kiwichar - Biochar Charcoal Soil Enhancer
Add some super powers to your potting mix with biochar. This is the Kiwichar brand, which is 100% NZ sourced biochar, made from organic, untreated wood. It seems such a simple ingredient to add to your potting mix, yet has so many impressive benefits for our plants.
What are the benefits of biochar for plants?
Biochar helps increase both water retention, nutrient retention and drainage to improve soil quality. Biochar's also been found to help plants resist and fight off fungal disease. It's been shown to increase soil fertility to support growth - and good news for both over-waterers and under-waterers - biochar amended soil has also been shown to help plants better handle water extremes of both draught and flooding. It's also been shown to increase root health, promoting stronger root growth. Biochar is both light and highly porous, making an ideal habitat for beneficial soil microorganisms to set-up home, which promotes better soil and plant health. However, like any substrate, soil amendment or fertiliser, you should still check it's what your plants need.
What is biochar?
The name biochar comes from bios (from Greek and Latin, meaning life), and char (from charcoal). The history of biochar dates back centuries to the Brazilian Amazon. Kiwichar biochar is made from organic, untreated wood, that's been turned into charcoal by heating to high temperatures with little to no oxygen (called pryolyzed).
How do you use biochar?
The most popular use is as a soil amendment to increase nutrient and water retention in your store-bought potting mix, or when you want to go the DIY path and create your own perfect potting mix. It's best to activate biochar before use (more about that coming up).
For adding to potting mix: You can experiment with your own levels, but Kiwichar recommends a 10% ratio, and give the example of 1kg biochar to 40 litres of soil, or for smaller quantities, that's around 125 grams biochar per 5 litres of potting mix. However I personally recommend a lower percent - around 2% - if you're creating a more free-draining mix. That would be about 25 grams biochar mixed in well per 5 litres of potting mix.
For adding to an already potted plant: Simply sprinkle a very thin layer of biochar over the top surface of the pot. Over time this will be watered down into the substrate. However the best method is to mix biochar in with the potting mix before potting up.
How big is the bag?
One bag of Kiwichar measures about 20cms wide by 33cms tall and contains 3 litres of biochar. A little goes a long way, so this smallest size is ideal for indoor plant hobbyists. Biochar doesn't decompose and is a very stable, long-lasting substrate, so you can store it in the resealable Kiwichar bag for the next time you need to repot.
Does biochar need 'charging'?
Biochar doesn't contain microorganisms or nutrients out of the bag so yes, it is recommended to biocharge or 'activate' it before use. You ideally want to both charge (by adding nutrients), and innoculate (add microbes), your fresh biochar before use.
In outdoor gardening a popular method is to mix biochar 50/50 with compost or compost tea in a container, and leave it outdoors to weather for 10 days, before adding it into your garden.
For indoor plants, you can still use the outdoor method then mix the charged biochar in with your indoor potting mix. However the method I use is to charge it with a nutrient bath. Scoop the amount of biochar you need out of the bag, make up your nutrient mixture, then soak your biochar in the nutrient water for a least 3 days uncovered, before mixing it with your potting mix ready to pot up.
You can create with your own custom concoction, but I like using a mix of organic and inorganic nutrient sources for a nice complete mix. Common choices are worm castings, NPK fertiliser, seaweed and more.
For mine I use an NPK fertiliser plus seaweed flake. I make both up at the normal dose based on the litres of water (you want enough water so the biochar floats). Add the biochar in. Let it soak for a few days. Rather than sieve out the biochar, when it's ready, I just mix the nutrient water, biochar and all, in with the potting mix, and pot up as usual.
Safety when working with biochar
Exactly the same as you should with all substrates, including potting soil and soil amendments: When handling biochar, always wear gloves and wear a mask. Even if you've worn gloves, wash your hands after potting up. Biochar can be dusty, so wearing a mask is recommended. It's ideal to dampen biochar and keep it moist when working with it.
Biochar is a new concept for me and after much research I decided to give it a try in my own garden. The order was filled quickly and all my questions about the product were thoroughly answered. Great customer service!
This biochar is more like soil and mine is still in the process of "activation" so cannot yet report on its performance in my garden as I have yet to get it into my large vegepod.
Yet I am impressed already with the look and feel of this product as it evolves. You almost want to eat it it is so luscious black and I'm sure my plants will feel the same!
The biochar is great for maintaining good plant health.
Shipping and Delivery FAQ's
Shipping is FREE for all orders over $99. For orders under $99: Auckland Standard $5, signature required is $7 or rural is $9. The rest of the North Island and the South Island: Standard $7, signature required is $9, or rural is $11. Plants and fragile or oversize products have their own rates (worked out in the cart based on your order).
IN STOCK, READY TO SHIP
Stock levels are live. Everything showing in stock online, is in stock right here, right now, in Auckland NZ, ready to ship. No drop shipping from other countries. No delays.
SHIPPING EVERY DAY
Orders ship every week-day, Monday to Friday. Orders placed before 7pm Monday to Thursday leave the next morning. Zoom zoom! Fri, Sat & Sun orders leave Monday (or the next working day).
Normal delivery is 1 to 2 working days. Rural and some regions can take a day or 2 longer, depending on where you're based (I'm based in Auckland).
"Anna was brilliant. Order placed and sent the next day. Received in awesome packaging. Couldn’t ask for more... will definitely use you again and again and again. Highly recommend." Scott Guthrie
"I can’t recommend love that leaf highly enough. I’ve bought a couple of times so far and on both occasions Anna has been more helpful than I could possibly wish for. 5 stars! Don’t hesitate to order from Love That Leaf. Excellent service and super fast delivery." Rob Gordon
Why choose to buy from Love That Leaf?
YOU'RE SUPPORTING LOCAL
When you buy from me you're supporting a local, small, family business. Love That Leaf is a registered NZ business, based in Auckland.
IN STOCK NOW + NEXT DAY DISPATCH
You'll also get your goodies super fast. Everything showing in stock on the website is right here, in stock, ready to ship to you. I ship daily, Monday to Friday. Your order will be normally be on the courier the same or next working day. Zoom zoom!
I'LL PUT IT RIGHT + CONSUMER GUARANTEES ACT
I stand by everything I sell and will always help put right anything that goes wrong. When you choose to buy from a registered NZ business (like me), you're also covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act, unlike overseas purchases or private sales, where you can end up stuck with no rights if anything arrives damaged or stops working.
I won't go AWOL on you. I'm here for support and advice anytime, even if you haven't bought from me yet. A lot of lovely people helped me along my plant journey, and I want to pay it forward. Please don't hesitate to ask for help. No obligation at all to purchase.
"Super impressed with this business. Something that is lost nowadays, is customer service. This however is not the case with Anna from Love that Leaf. Very happy with my purchase, very happy with the product information provided and very happy with the quick shipping and great packaging. Thanks!" Melayna Anderson
"By far the best customer care I've had in a long time. Website is such a wealth of information and the email with instructions for use after my purchase was fantastic. The pipette for measuring the correct amount was such a great inclusion, and the personalised message on the package was very cool. Definitely my go to shop for plant supplies now. Thanks Love That Leaf! A+++" Karyn Wilson