Soilless potting mix is a blend of low-quality ingredients such as peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite, which are then mixed with some soil for color.
Did you know that soilless potting mix can contain fungi that can lead to allergic reactions in people? Did you also know that the product is often worse for the environment than traditional soil? Or how about the fact that it may not even offer any benefits over natural dirt? Not all soilless mixtures are created equal. However, the phrase is still stranger than fiction.
You may be thinking: Soilless pots can’t hurt me because I am not mixing my potting soil with fungus! However, check out the following to find out what you don’t know about soilless potting mix.
What is soilless potting mix?
Soilless potting mix is a blend of peat moss, perlite and vermiculite that typically contains some soil for color. The product is a cheaper alternative to natural dirt, with some big differences. First off, soilless potting mix often has a very low pH, which means it can be much more acidic than “natural” dirt. Secondly, the soilless potting mixture doesn’t have much in terms of vitamins or minerals.
Where to buy soilless potting mix?
You can buy soilless potting mix at any garden store or nursery. Some of the most popular brands include Sunshine Mix #2, Pro-Mix, and Orchid Mix. If you are concerned about the fact that your potting mix contains fungus, choose a brand that is labeled “fungus free.”
How much does soilless potting mix cost?
Soilless potting mix is generally more expensive than dirt, although prices can vary from store to store. You can buy a bag of soilless potting mix for around $7.50 to $9, depending on the brand and the actual “quality” of the product. Of course, you should opt for a more expensive brand if you can afford it.
What kind of soil do I need?
You must be wondering why people are spending money on soilless potting mix in the first place. If you are using potting mix in a plastic or rubber pot, you won’t need to worry about the soil. However, if you plan on using your pot in a wooden or metal pot, then it is important to consider the type of soil that you will be using. If your plan includes growing plants such as tomatoes, peppers, herbs and other vegetables in soilless pots for planting outdoors, it is best to use a soil with sufficient nutrients and organic matter. Plants need to be given proper nutrition in order to grow healthily.
What nutrients do I use in soilless potting mix?
There are some specially designed soil additives and fertilizers that can be added to soilless potting mix. These products are usually mixed with the soilless mixture and will result in improved growth dynamics, which is especially useful for seedlings. However, the need of these products depends not only on the plant type and its specific nutritional needs, but also on the soil temperature. If you use a high-quality organic vegetable garden soil, you probably won’t need fertilizer since it already contains all that your plants could possibly need.
Why use soilless potting mix?
It won’t take you too long to enhance your soil with compost. However in the case of soilless potting mix, a better alternative is to use this mixture instead because it contains mostly peat moss and perlite. This soil mixture also contains no organic material, which makes it very light and airy and can be used on its own. Lastly, the soilless potting mix is much cheaper than traditional soil that you can get at a gardening store or nursery if you opt for the “poor quality” products.
How do you make a soilless potting mix?
Here is a simple recipe that can be used for your next soilless potting mix:
1. Start by measuring the “volume” of peat moss that you need
2. Add vermiculite (you can add around 30% to 60% of the total volume) and stir it well
3. Measure out perlite and add it to the mixture until you have a desired amount. Note that perlite expands a lot once it is exposed to moisture, so remember to add only what you actually need.
4. Add a small amount of soil for color to the mixture. If you want, you can also add some more vermiculite if you want a darker color blend.
5. Add water to the mixture and stir well, in order to make sure that it is completely blended and moistened evenly throughout the potting mix.
6. Place your pots into pots of water and let them sit until they have absorbed the water properly and are hydrated enough for plants to grow in them.
Soilless potting mix is a suitable alternative for people who are interested in gardening, but don’t have the time to maintain traditional soil. This type of potting mix will help you to save money for other types of plants and decorations for your apartment or house. However, it is best not to use soilless potting mix on its own; it is better to use it with other types of soil that you can get from a plant nursery.