What is a Good Potting Mix?
“What is a “good” potting mix to use when I need to repot my plants?” The Plant Professionals gets this question often. There are many options available. Indoor plants depend on quality potting mix to provide nutrients, aeration and moisture retention, as well as physical support.
Container-grown plants need good drainage and a potting mix that is designed to stay “fluffy” and resist compaction. The roots need access to oxygen. They need a mix that won’t dry out too quickly, so the roots can access water. It is important to read the ingredients on the bag. The ingredients should be a soil-less combination of peat moss, pine bark and vermiculite. Some potting mixes contain additives that help retain moisture, some contain fertilizer, and others contain both. Even with a mix that has additives to retain water, you still need to monitor moisture levels and water regularly. We recommend fertilizing with a general all-purpose house plant fertilizer from March through August once your plant has at least six months in the home or office.
If a mix contains sand or soil, it is not well suited for containers. Also, if the manufacturer doesn’t list the ingredients, there might be a reason. While basic peat moss, pine bark, and vermiculite potting mixes will work for almost all container plants, you may want to purchase a specialty mix for orchids, succulents, or cacti. Be sure to only buy pasteurized mixes where the bags are stored in a dry location, to avoid fungus gnat eggs and larvae. There are several fine commercial mixes, and some nurseries and garden centers blend and package their own. Be sure to ask for assistance as you shop, or call us for recommendations. Talk about what you are re-potting and why, to receive the most helpful information.