What Is Potting Soil? 15 Prime Tips Every Gardener Should Know!

  • Soil is the natural source of nutrients for plants. So the health of the plant depends upon the quality of the soil.
  • Herbs and Green vegetables grows well in moist and well drained loamy soil.
  • Soil holds the roots and provides stability to the plant.

What Is Difference Between Soil And Potting Soil

  • A lot of people in cities and towns think to use soil that is present outside of their house for growing plants.
  • But those outside soil does not contain proper drainage system and required nutrients. And also due to increased pollution it contains many toxic chemicals in it.
  • So its better to avoid it for growing plants at home.
  • Don’t use gardening soil for growing plants at home. because it is heavy and contains clay, small pebbles etc.
  • Gardening soil will not have proper drainage and also it is degraded with weed seeds, unnecessary bugs and harmful bacteria.

Potting Soil:

  • Potting soil is actually a soil-less mix. It is well aerated, uncontaminated, light weight and distributes a variety of minerals and organic matter.
  • The potting soil is fluffy and light in weight.

Potting Soil Ingredients

It is composed of peat moss, ground pine bark, perlite or vermiculite and nutrients that are added through slow releasing fertilizers.

Vermiculite or Perlite

  • Vermiculite or perlite provides aeration for roots and brings down the density of the potting soil.
  • It retains lots of moisture and fertilizer for extended period. So, this helps in maintaining the nutrients around the roots.

Peat Moss

  • Peat moss swaggers the moist retaining properties.
  • Soils which contains high concentration of peat moss should not be over watered because there is a chance of rotten roots.

Pine Bark

  • Pine bark provides aeration and retains the moisture and fertilizers.
  • Peat moss which is mixed with pine bark is used to grow the vegetables.
Ingredient Application
Perlite or Vermiculite Soil Aeration
Peat Moss Nutrition and Moisture Retention
Pink Bark Nutrition, Moisture Retention and Provides Firmness and Stability to the Soil

Important Points To Remember

  • Potting soil composition differs from plant to plant. But you can use regular potting soil for most of the plants.
  • For succulent plants, add sand to the potting soil mixture.
  • Grow orchid flowers in peat.
  • You just no need to worry about weeds and pest. Feed plants regularly with fertilizers for health growth.
  • Before placing potting soil in containers, clean them well.

Why Potting Soil:

  • The particles used in potting soil are in the size of 1/18 to 1/3 inch. This makes potting soil to have proper drainage and prevents water stagnation in containers.
  • It absorbs water very fastly.
  • When water is added to potting soil it will not dilate. Even if water gets evaporated from potting soil it will not dwindle.

How To Save Potting soil:

  • You can place plastic bottles or plastic cups inside the container to reduce using of excess amount of soil. It also decreases the weight of your container.
  • If your container is 20 inches deep and your plant roots grows only 14 inches, you can place plastic bottles or cups inside the container to compensate the excess space.
  • Pour the potting soil inside the container. So that, it will occupy only 16-17 inches deep.
  • Provide enough space to your plant roots for its growth.

Replacing Old Potting Soil:

  • Restrict growing of plants continuously in the same potting soil.
  • Replace potting soil every year for healthy growth of plants.
  • You can reuse old soil in the place of plastic bottles or plastic cups just by placing old soil under new soil inside the container.

pH Of The Potting Soil

  • The pH characteristic is very important.
  • Fertilizers effects the pH of the soil.
  • Some times pH depends upon the water you use and sometimes tap water which may be hard or slightly alkaline.
  • Plant grows well in the soil with the pH ranging between 6 – 7.5.
  • pH below 6 or above 7.5 indicates that your plant is having nutritional deficiency.
  • If pH is less than 6, add some agricultural lime. Likewise, if pH is higher than 7.5, add some sulfur.


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