An A to Z of houseplant potting combine substances — Jane Perrone



Whether or not you purchase pre-mixed houseplant potting combine over-the-counter, or combine your individual from particular person substances, it’s vital to know what substrates are on the market. This blogpost sprang from three episodes of my houseplant podcast On The Ledge, breaking down a wide range of substrates with my visitor Nikolic Vladan, aka Mr Houseplant. You possibly can take heed to the podcast episodes right here:

New merchandise are coming into the market on a regular basis, so I’ll be protecting this A-Z up to date as I come throughout new substrates, data and ideas – the newest version is Fluval Stratum.

A is for AKADAMA a clay-based granular materials usually utilized by bonsai fans. There’s a very detailed description of the professionals and cons of this ingredient on the web site Bonsai Empire.

B is for BARK Chunks of fir or pine bark, in varied sizes from wonderful to coarse. Fashionable as orchid substrates, and the bigger the roots, the extra coarse (massive lumps) the bark might be.

B is for BASIC SLAG I noticed this talked about in classic Epiphyllum ebook High quality-Flowered Cacti by FR McQuown, as a substance to mud cuttings. It’s a lime-rich byproduct of metal manufacturing that was previously used as a fertiliser, and nonetheless appears to be obtainable though not in your common backyard centre.

C is for CAT LITTER maybe surprisingly, cat litter is widespread in cactus and succulent growingn cirlces as an alternative choice to grit or perlite. You have to get the appropriate one although – a non-clumping sort constructed from moler or calcined clay. The 2 manufacturers that appear to be hottest within the Uk for this goal are Tesco’s low mud cat litter and Sanicat Pink. Right here’s how Desert Crops of Avalon makes use of it.

C is for CHARCOAL Activated charcoal bought as pellets is most cheaply obtainable at aquarium provide outlets, the place it’s used for filters, however it’s additionally bought in houseplant outlets as horticultural charcoal, similar to this Biology Mix from Biochar. In houseplant phrases, it may be used as a means of accelerating soil porosity.

C is for COIR Coir is constructed from the husk of coconuts and may be added to potting mixes, usually as a substitute for peat: in actual fact it’s usually seen as a extra sustainable choice to peat. It usually is available in light-weight compressed blocks, so transport/supply prices are low, plus it’s supreme in case you lack storage for potting mateirals. It isn’t with out its environmental prices, nevertheless, because the manufacturing course of is resource-intensive and may harm native water provides. All the time test the provenance of your coir – Fertile Fibre is a accountable provider within the UK, and take a look at Epic Gardening’s coir information for recommendations for US suppliers. Coir comprises no vitamins, so keep in mind to feed vegetation recurrently.

D is for DIATOMACEOUS EARTH Also referred to as DE. A silicon wealthy substance made type a sedimentary rock created bu the our bodies of thousands and thousands of fossilised algae. The meals grade DE is difficult to work with because it’s so wonderful, so search for the granular type as a substitute. Listed here are the DE slug pellets I point out.

F is for FLUVAL STRATUM This substrate is marketed as an aquarium substrate and is a volcanic soil extracted from Mt Aso in Japan. It’s darkish in color and extremely porous, which has meant that houseplant growers have began utilizing it as a substrate in prop containers and as a mineral substate in the identical vein as leca and pon. You possibly can examine this product on the Fluval web site.

G is for GRIT Crushed granite or limestone chips often 1-6mm in diameter, washed to take away extra lime and supply an acceptable pH for houseplants (which principally get pleasure from a pH of 6.5-7). I exploit it as a pot mulch on succulents and in addition combine it into potting mixes for vegetation that like sharp drainage.

J is for JOHN INNES A whole soil-based potting combine formulation concocted within the Thirties after in depth analysis on the John Innes Centre within the UK. John Innes no 2 is often the formulation really useful for houseplants: try this helpful information on John Innes composts from the RHS for extra particulars. Verify the small print, as there’s no established customary for John Innes, and lots of nonetheless comprise peat.

L is for LEAF MOULD Leaf mould is made from slowly decomposed leaves and may be added to potting mixes for woodland vegetation similar to ferns. For those who make your individual (directions for which might be right here) remember chances are you’ll find yourself importing worms, woodlice and springtails to your pots.

L is for LECA Leca stands for light-weight expanded clay combination, a very helpful addition to potting mixes that have to be ethereal, for example for epiphytes. I exploit it on the backside of cachepots to take in water, and as a fungus-gnat defying mulch. You can too develop vegetation in pure leca: extra on that in an upcoming episode!

P is for PEAT Peat is a non-renewable useful resource, and takes thousands and thousands of years to type: Nationwide Geographic has referred to as it “the forgotten fossil gasoline”.  Hearken to episode 103, my sustainability particular on peat for extra data on why we shouldn’t be utilizing peat in our houseplant potting mixes, or wherever else within the backyard.

P is for PERLITE That is one other non-renewable supply – volcanic glass that’s mined from the bottom and heated so it expands: views over its sustainability range. The perlite trade claims it has good eco-credentials however lots of power goes into its manufacturing. I’ve been in search of extra sustainable options, together with rice husks. These work properly for some vegetation however they break down too rapidly to be of use for cacti and succulents. I’m additionally beginning to discover Growstone in its place: it’s made from 100% recycled glass, and this text suggests it has proven good outcomes.



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