A1: It can last 6-7 years mixed with soil or sand. For use in glass displays, if you've worked clean, allowed no direct sunlight on it and hydrated and watered it with distilled or good filtered water, you can get several years out of it. When using with cut flowers, you can reuse it 5-8 times. (Each time your cut flowers die, you'll rinse it out well, in a colander, let it drip dry and use it again. When you finally decide that you now longer want to display it, then you'll mix it with soil, for water management with plants, indoors or out, as per the directions.)
A4: That is accomplished by NOT DRAINING after soaking you crystals. Then you simply stir out the bubbles with a clean implement. (While doing this, you may choose to add food coloring.) This method is not used for growing plants, as those crystals must be well drained!
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