Potting Soil Properties You Should Know About

With winter weather, gardeners may take to the indoors to grow some potted plants—a process that is not simple. It is imperative that the right potting soil be used, otherwise indoor plants will not thrive, and choosing the right soil to pot with is more complicated than many people realize.

There are a few things to consider when looking for the right potting soil for a plant. But first thing’s first: What kind of plant will be growing?

Depending on the answer to this question, the best choice of soil to use will change.

Photo courtesy of GoDaddy.

Moisture Levels

The most important factor to consider is the drainage level of the soil. This will dictate how much moisture is retained, thereby dictating if the soil is suitable for the plant.

Succulents and cacti will do best if planted in soil that will not retain water. Soil mixtures that are more coarse, and even ones containing some sand, will provide the best drainage, allowing the cacti and succulents to thrive.

In contrast, orchids will do best in soil that provides moisture and air around the roots. The best soils for this will contain peat moss, perlite, or fir bark to allow water to properly drain.

pH Levels

Another property to be on the lookout for is the pH preferences of the plants. Certain plants will prefer more acidic soils.

Some things that can increase the acidity of soil include organic ingredients like worm castings and compost. Soils containing these ingredients are a better choice for plants like roses, azaleas, hydrangeas, and many more.

Organic v. Nonorganic

There are options for both organic potting soils and nonorganic potting soils. And both are suitable for plants growing in containers.

But some gardeners out there may be thinking: what’s the “better” option? Well, it all depends on the gardener’s preference.

Nonorganic potting soils typically will use fertilizer to give the plant nutrients over the season.

In contrast, organic potting soil will contain organic materials in various stages of decomposition. These materials will break down over several seasons and continue to fertilize the plant and soil over various seasons.

Choosing the right potting soil for indoor plants can mean the difference between a plant dying or the plant thriving.

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