You’re Never Too Old to Play in the Dirt
The Importance of Good Soil & Fertilizer
You bought a bunch of beautiful pots from Geobunga and want to plant all of your plants in them. What is the right soil mixture for your project? Good soil and fertilizer are of the utmost importance, especially in potted plants, since the roots are not in the ground. These plants are only receiving their nutrients from what is in the pot. So, what do you put in the pot?
Luckily, Geobunga carries a high-quality, ready-to-use soil mix that can be used for a variety of plants. So, if you don't feel like creating a whole new soil mixture, then this stuff is for you!
However; if you want to get more specific with your soil mix by plant type, then this article might be an interesting read to you!
Geobunga's High-Quality, Ready-to-Use Soil Mix (Superior Potting Soil, 1 CFT, $14.90)
The horticulturist terms for what you are putting in your pot are ‘potting mixes’ or ‘artificial potting media’ and they are known for their light-weight and weed-free properties. The reason for using a potting mix over just grabbing some dirt from your backyard is that when soil is taken from outdoors, you run the risk of adding critters and diseases from that soil that would love to eat your plants. In addition to these risks, this soil is typically much heavier as it consists mostly of clay, sand, and silt.
To choose the right ingredients for your potting mix there are three things to keep in mind.
1.) The mix needs to be able to support your plant. Does it need to be heavier? Lighter?
2.) The water holding capacity of your mix needs to be correct. Do you want your plants to be water-logged? Do they need to stay relatively dry and well-drained?
3.) Does your soil mix release the right amount of nutrients for your plant? If the release is too slow, your plant could die from “starvation”. If the release is too fast your plants could die from being over-fertilized.
Let’s dive into the different ingredient possibilities.
When choosing the ingredients for your soil mixture, it’s important to remember what the needs of your plants are. How much air do their roots prefer? Do they need a lot of water or only a little? What type of additional nutrients are needed to grow successfully? Some common ingredients that most potting mixes contain are peat, perlite, and compost. Different mixes may also contain vermiculite, wood chips, cinder, sand, and other materials added in along with these. Refer to the list below (taken from the article ‘Plant Care: Potting Mix 101’ by The Sill) to understand what each of these components is best used for.
Peat — the basis of most mixes and used in high proportions; spongy and holds water
Perlite — white, light, pebbles formed from superheated volcanic glass; aids in aeration and water control
Sand — silicon dioxide; aids in water drainage
Vermiculite — helps hold water and provides a slow leak of micronutrients and places for fungi/microbes to aid the plant's growth
Wood Chips/Bark — decaying organic matter that provides a slow release of macronutrients and is a “denser sponge” than peat; If cut coarse, can aid in drainage.
Compost — nutrient-rich and microbe-rich matter that aids in plant growth; smells earthy
Cinder – increases drainage, adds weight to a pot and increases the amount of air space for the roots; comes in several sizes
Glass/Rocks — mostly used as a filler, not necessarily any type of nutritional benefit
Fertilizer/Soil Conditioner – added nutrients; the biggest difference is the levels of NPK (Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium)
Looking at this list, you can see that your potted succulents might need a combination of perlite or cinder and sand, as they prefer a more porous mixture that drains well. If you are planting something like ferns, however, you may consider a combination that holds more moisture, like peat and vermiculite. If an extra boost of nutrients is needed, you can always add in a pre-made fertilizer to give your plants the added nutrients they need.
Choosing the right soil mix is almost like cooking. You have to try out different ingredients to see what works best for your recipe. See below for the ingredients that you can buy at either of our Geobunga locations. Get cooking! You're never too old to play in the dirt!
Black Cinder, medium, ¾ CFT, $9.95
Red Cinder, course, ¾ CFT, $9.95
Superior Potting Soil, 1 CFT, $14.90
Grow Better Organic Fertilizer & Soil Conditioner, $7.90
Please feel free to reach out with any questions!