Soil Type Guide for Repotting Plants
Want to start planting new seeds or repot your plant but don’t know what soil to fill the pot with? Here’s a little guide to help with the uses of each potting mix.
TYPES OF SOIL
The texture of soil is important for your plant because it makes watering it much easier. There are three main variations in soil textures: sandy, silty and clay.
Sandy soil is the least compact while clay soil is the most compact. Compact soil can retain large amounts of water, which is beneficial for plants that need a lot of water, while sandy soil can help plants which need little water. The ideal soil type for most plants is a sandy loam, which consists of a mixture of silt and clay. This allows for proper drainage of excess water to prevent fungal growth in the roots while retaining water to let the plant have time to absorb the water. Such a soil texture can be achieved by mixing different potting mix together to get the right soil texture for your plant. You might be wondering what type of soil your plants might need.
TYPES OF PLANTS
Typically vegetables would require more water to grow well, so the soil should be able to retain more water so the plant would have access to water when needed. It needs to be good at retaining water and fertilizers so the plant would have access to them when needed. Generally, it should not be too compact, allowing the roots to breathe and have sufficient space to grow. One good option if you are planning to repot your vegetables but are unsure of how to create your own potting mix for them is to get a vegetable potting soil which has already been pre-mixed for you. You could also mix more of certain mediums such as cocopeat to make the soil less compact, catering specifically for your plant.
House plants are known to be low maintenance, without a constant need for watering, and this is mainly because it does not need an excessive amount of water. So the soil should still provide good drainage but also be able to retain some amounts of water. A good pre-made potting mix to use is the Shamrock Botanics Organic potting soil that is useful for all kinds of plants, from vegetables to flowering plants to seedlings. It is disinfected to ensure it would be pest-free and have no traces of fungi as well. They are able to retain water and fertilizers well to help optimize the growth of your plants. Hence, they are especially beneficial for plants that are bigger or have the potential of growing in big pots that require a lot of soil.
Flowering plants would require a sandy loam soil, which allows for good drainage of excess water which is also able to hold onto the moisture for some time. It retains moisture for the plant while providing good drainage of the soil, so you don’t have to worry about having too much water in the pot that can block off air supply for the roots and cause plant diseases. Brilliant Potting mix provides good drainage as well as water retention for the plants. It also contains some minerals that are natural for the plant to grow well.
Succulents are known to require very little amount of water, which means we don’t have to worry about forgetting to water them every once in a while. This also means that they are more likely to receive too much water. These types of plants require a good potting mix to allow for excess water to drain easily. Succulent soil should be more porous and should not hold moisture, so you should be able to find rough rocks in the mixture. Succulent soil usually consists of gardening soil mixed with perlite and coarse sand which make it less compact. A good way to figure out the right soil type is by adding more porous and large rocks (like leca, perlite and cocopeat) into a succulent potting mix.
OTHER POTTING MEDIUM
After getting a pre-made potting mix, you could also cater the soil texture more specifically for your plant by adding various potting mediums. These could help make the soil more porous if your plant needs less water or is more prone to root rot or fungal growth.
Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate (LECA) is a good growing medium for plants that require less water. These leca balls would absorb the water that you provide and release it to the roots whenever the plant needs it. Hence it requires less maintenance. The lack of soil also reduces the chances of pests breeding and it’s unlikely that there would be root rot, given the dry environment of growing. But because the absence of soil also means no nutrients for the roots to absorb, you would have to include hydroponic fertilizers in the water you provide the plant. So these would be great if you have a plant that requires less water and if your pots don’t have drainage holes at the bottom.
Perlite is a compound that can be mixed into soil. They are very porous and absorb water, while containing pockets of air to allow the roots of the plant to breathe. They can also be mixed with compost and soil to aid with germination. They can also help with drainage in clay soils by increasing drainage, making the soil less dense and more conducive for germination. If you find that the succulent soil is still too compact and want to allow water to drain even more easily, you could mix the soil with more perlite.
Coco peat is excellent at water retention and they release water when the plant needs it. They are a good base to be mixed into potting soil to create air pockets for the roots to breathe. It contains many nutrients and is able to protect your plant from fungal growth. They can also be used to cultivate earthworms and as a hydroponics medium.
It is good to start off with a pre-mixed potting mix if you are unsure with the type of soil your plant needs. Understanding the amount of water needed can help you cater your soil type to the plant better. These pre-mixed potting mix usually consists of a mixture of various potting mediums in a calculated proportion, making it easier for you to create the best mixture for your own plant from these mixes.