Choosing a Soilless Potting Mix for Plant Health

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The term soilless potting mix is a bit confusing because you would expect soil to be in a potting mix!

However, when growing plants in containers, it’s imperative to use a potting mix that doesn’t contain soil!

This is because the soil from the ground is too heavy and fine and becomes extremely hard and compacted in a container.

Soilless potting mixes were developed to create an ideal growing medium for plants to thrive in a pot or large container.


What is in a Soilless Potting Mix?

A soilless potting mix is comprised of organic (peat moss, bark, coir) and inorganic (sand, perlite, vermiculite) materials in proportions to create a medium that will retain moisture and nutrients, yet remain loose enough for air and root movement.

The composition of the materials must also be at a pH level that will allow plants to uptake nutrients.

If the pH is too high or too low, some nutrients won’t be available to the plant.

The mix must also be comprised so that it will provide support structural support for the plant and the container to keep it upright.


The Advantages of a Soilless Potting Mix

One of the biggest advantages of using a soilless potting mix is that when made correctly, it is free from diseases, pests, weeds, and other potentially harmful substances.

Soil from the ground or potting mixes containing soil may contain weed seeds and other pests and disease problems.

Another advantage of using a soilless potting mix is that it is significantly lighter than garden soil.

This is helpful from a practical perspective as it makes transporting large potted plants much easier.


Which Soilless Potting Mix Should I Use?

When selecting a soilless potting mix to repot a plant, it’s important to select the type of soil that matches the needs of your plant.

For instance, if you were repotting an Echeveria, it would be important to use a soilless potting mix that was blended for succulents and cacti.

This is because a succulent’s roots thrive in fast-draining soil with a lot of air circulation.

However, a tropical plant such as a Ficus needs a general all-purpose soilless potting mix as it is designed to hold moisture.

This is ideal for tropical plants.

There are specific mixes for bromeliads, orchids, carnivorous plants, and African violets.

Each one is blended to meet the specific growing needs of a group of plants.

The closer a plant is grown in its natural environment, the more effortless it becomes for it to be gorgeous and healthy.

To see soilless potting mixes that I use click here.

10 thoughts on “Choosing a Soilless Potting Mix for Plant Health”

  1. Is the soilless potting mix good for repotting a cactus?

    • Hi Carol, I recommend using a blend that is specifically designed for cacti and succulents- they need a soilless mix that is quick draining and has good aeration. Best wishes, Shannon

  2. Your link to the list of soilless potting mixes is not working – just an FYI!


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