Potting Mixture: A Key Component for Success with Indoor Houseplants

Potting mixture for indoor houseplants must be of good quality because it is the medium that supports the plant for growth and development. It is essential for healthy plants.

It should be able to supply the plant with water and nutrients as well as be porous for drainage of excess water.  This allows  the plant to get oxygen to the roots.   If you use potting soil, make sure it is a sterilized potting mix that is clean and free from diseases,  insects,  mites,  larvae and weed seeds.

In general, a good mix consists of a rich garden earth, one-third to one-fourth humus (sold as peat moss) mixed in.

Commercial mixes are termed as artificial because they are made without dirt. They contain both organic and inorganic matter and are enriched with fertilizer to add trace elements. Some even contain moisture control crystals in the soils to release water when the plant needs it.

They are recommended for hanging planters when weight is a factor or for plants that need an especially light growing medium. They contain a combination of peat moss and vermiculite or perlite.

Peat moss is an organic ingredient that has good water-holding capacity, retains fertilizer, and provides good drainage.

Sphagnum moss has longer fibers than peat moss. It is used for orchid mixes and for lining baskets.

Vermiculite is an inorganic mineral which increases drainage and aeration. It also helps to retain water and valuable nutrients.

Perlite is an inorganic component that increases aeration and drainage.

Horticultural charcoal sweetens and neutralizes the soil by removing the acids. It works well with orchids and ferns.

Potting soils vary according to the need of the type of plant. Some like more or less sand, which is used for aeration and drainage; some like a diet rich in organic matter; some prefer acid, and others like to have an alkaline medium.

African violets, ferns, begonias and tropical plants prefer a higher percentage of humus than most plants. Most indoor foliage and flowering plants like a potting mix with 50% or more organic matter.

Specialty mixes for African violets, orchids, and cacti are ideal for most houseplants. They can be purchased from the garden supply center for your convenience.

Succulents and cacti like a well aerated combination of media because good drainage is essential. It contains 50% potting mixture plus 50% builder’s sand.

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