There are several potting soil companies adding polymers to their premixed potting soil these days. While they are certainly convenient, they are also more expensive.
If you purchase potting soils designated for a special purpose such as violets, orchids or cactus that do not contain polymers, you can purchase soil polymers at most nurseries and some box stores.
Using absorbent soil polymers can help reduce your every day watering. Add the recommended amount (according to the instructions on the package) to your soil when you are potting up your plants.
For established plants, poke a hold deep into the soil with a dowel, insert a straw and drop in a dozen or so crystals. Pull out the straw and repeat several times.
Soil polymers are a splendid way to conserve water and protect your plants from drying out.
JoAnn Maresca, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service