Indoor potting soil: Dos and don’ts
If your goal is to have a great indoor garden, the soil choice is vital. There are some very important indoor potting soil: dos and don’t you need to know.
The potting of material you buy is not always soil, most are potting mixtures. This is a combination of peat, pine bark, and Vermiculite or perlite.
There are potting soils for sale which tend to be much cheaper. You can also use “dirt” from outside. The soil and dirt need to be adjusted to work with your container plants.
So let go over some quick tips for indoor potting soil: dos and don’ts that will make you soil healthy and your plants thrive.
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AIR: Your plant’s roots need to breathe
The plant roots need oxygen! Plant roots use oxygen to break down carbohydrates to produce energy that allows the plant to grow.
It is partly a myth that plants use carbon dioxide to grow and produce oxygen as a by-product. The Whole Truth is that they need oxygen to process carbohydrates. Plants produce oxygen from carbon dioxide when they use sunlight in the photosynthesis process. When no light is present such as at night or in the soil, they use oxygen for this process!
Luckily for us, they produce about 10 times more oxygen during the day than they use at night.
What does this mean when picking a good medium to plant in? You need to make sure the mixture is fluffy enough to allow air pockets so that the roots can breathe. Potting mixtures often use Vermiculite or perlite to give the air pockets needed.
You can add either of these to your soil to achieve the same results. I like to use clay balls because it adds volume to fill larger pots. I also grow with hydroponics so I often have clay balls handy.
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Plants need the right amount of water. This varies for different plants. There are some general guidelines the fit most situations.
Plants don’t want to be in mud. A well-draining is important for root health.
Potting mixtures use things like pine bark or other wood chips to keep the mixtures lose enough for water to drain easily. Composted chips are best if you are adding them to your own mixture because fresh wood chips can rob nutrients from the mixture and change the PH.
In my homemade mixture, the clay balls help with this as well.
You do want the soil to hit a balance of well-drained and the ability to hold moisture. It is not good if the water just flows through the pot. A good addition to your potting mixture that many commercial mixes use is coconut fiber.
Coco fiber adds a lot of lightness to a mixture. It is also a great water retainer.
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I use it in my mixtures. A note from experience, a little goes a long way. A typical brick is about 2″x8″x4″ but when you get it wet it will more than fill a 5-gallon bucket! So start by breaking off a small piece and get that wet to judge how much you will need. The coconut will store easily and long term as long as it is dry. You must use all of it after it is moist.
This is a whole topic itself. So to just hit the basics, your plants need nutrients. Many potting mixtures come with a slow-release fertilizer. Check your bag to make sure that what they put in meets your and your plant’s needs.
If you are making your own potting mixtures or the mixture doesn’t come with nutrients already, you can add nutrients to the mixture. A great way to do this is with worm compost. There are many organic worm composts available.
This is also a great way to use material from your own well-seasoned compost bin.
Depending on your plants’ needs, mix a cup or two of compost into the mixture before you plant. You can sprinkle more compost on top as time goes by and your plant grows.
Special tip: I always plant my large or fast-growing plant in a pot lined with a 5-gallon paint strainer. These are large mesh bags. When the plant needs to be transferred to a large pot, you can simply lift the bag and put it into a bigger pot. You can then add soil around the outside it the bag to fill the extra space. The plant roots will grow right through the paint strainer material with ease.
This allows you to transfer without disrupting to roots!
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I hope knowing indoor potting soil: dos and don’ts helps you grow happy healthy plants indoors.
You will also need to think about organic vs non organic potting soil. Check out it out to find out which kind will work best for you.
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