Using the right Type of Soil
Another vital part of keeping house plants safe and well nourished is the type of soil they are planted in. One mistake many plant owners make is to use garden soil for their pot plants. While this may seem to be a cheap and easy alternative to going out and buying a bag of suitable potting mix, it may actually do more harm than good.
Garden soil has three major problems no house plant should ever be exposed to if it is to remain healthy. To begin with, garden soil may be full of weed seeds. This will not only result in making the pot look unsightly once the weeds start to thrive, it will also rob the plant of nutrients and water.
The second problem is insects. Like it or not, garden soil will have insects, worms, snails and who knows what in it. These little critters may be good for the soil in a garden, but they may do serious damage to a potted plant.
Finally, garden soil will compact into a tight mass when packed into pots. As a result, air can not circulate around the roots of the plant, subsequently starving them of vital oxygen. For these reasons, it is of great importance to get a good potting mix designed specifically for house plants.
The Advantages of Potting Mixes
The majority of commonly available potting mixes consist of a base of partly decomposed materials, such as bark or peat moss, for example. Other ingredients - like, for instance, vermiculite, sand and/ or perlite - are added to the compost to aid air circulation and drainage.
Potting compost will not only provide plants with the necessary support to stop them falling over, it also stores water and the nutrients the house plant's roots need. Additionally, compost provide better drainage, preventing the plant from getting water-logged, as well as permitting air to circulate freely around the roots, ensuring an adequate amount of oxygen is continually available to them.
The Functions of Potting Mix Components
In short, which type of potting mix to use ultimately depends on the requirements of any given house plant to be potted. Taking a little time to learn about these requirements and take note of the ingredients of a bag of compost before purchasing it will help to ensure a happy, healthy life for house plants for years to come.
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