Everything you need to know about soil & mixes for different kinds of plants

5 minute

Cooking, dancing, makeup, fun workouts, gardening

This basically sums up the last two years of our quarantine slash pandemic life. A lot of people turned to these hobbies to keep themselves sane and busy. And if you are one of those people thinking of turning to gardening or want to explore more on that subject then you have landed on the right article. 

A lot of factors come into place when it comes to gardening, from choosing the type of plant to the type of pot you need, etc., etc. One of the most important topics that will come up is that of potting soils. Even though you can easily get your soil from that gardening store, you still have to know what soil would be best for your plant. So in this article, we are going to explore everything you need to know about soils & mixes for different kinds of plants.

What is potting soil?

Also known as potting mix, it is a general term for different types of soil that is made up of different components that help in growing potted plants in a healthy environment. These soil mixes help in keeping the soil loose and also keeps the flow of water and nutrients. There are different types of potting mixes for different kinds of plants. You can find high-quality to budget-friendly mixes in the market and you can also make the right mix with the right ingredients.

Importance of soil for plant growth

Soil has a big role in helping plants grow. It is the foundation that holds the roots and the nutrients of the plants. From holding the nutrients and regulating water to buffering from harsh conditions, the soil has a lot of different functions. The growth of the plant is very dependent on the quality of the soil. That is why it is important to choose the right soil for your plants.

How to choose the best soil for your plants?

1) According to the plant

The soil you choose will totally depend on the plant you want to grow. To make it easy I have mentioned types of plants that go with the types of soil further in the article.

2) According to quality

There are different types of soil based on quality and these qualities affect the plants majorly when it comes to gardening. So choose according to the quality of the soil that is needed for specific properties. 

3) According to the plant location and water retention

The location of the plant and the water retention should be considered because of the sunlight. If your plant is located directly under the sun then it might need medium-weight soil to hold the water.  

4) According to the ingredients

If you are making your own potting mix then choose a soil that goes with the ingredients you have in hand. Or you can alter the mix by adding suitable additives to the soil to make the perfect potting mix.

Ingredients to add into your potting soil/mix:

1) Cocopeat

It is made out of coconut husk and can be easily found in India. It is an organic substance used in the soil because of its excellent water-holding properties. Add it to your potting mix to retain moisture. This medium also has air-filled porosity, which means it is well aerated and helps the root get the oxygen it requires. 

2) Compost

It is a nutrient-rich element that can be added to any type of soil. There is a variety of compost like gobar khaad, vermicompost, homemade compost, leaf compost, etc. you can use any of them for your plants. 

3) Perlite

It is tiny white shards that come from heated volcanic glass. It is an inorganic component that is added to soil to make sure it doesn't get too dense and water can easily drain through the soil. 

Types of soil for different plant requirements!

1) Sandy soil

This soil has a very rough texture and tends to lose moisture quickly. It needs various kinds of organic blends like mulch or compost to make the perfect potting mix for growing plants. 

Suitable for:

Vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, lettuce, zucchini, etc, bulbs and shrubs such as Sun roses, Tulips, Hibiscus, etc. 

2) Clay Soil

It is one of the heaviest and densest types of soil. Because of that, it holds a lot of water and nutrients that are needed for the plants. There might be a problem with water drainage but that can be solved by adding organic components like mulch or compost to the soil. 

Suitable for:

Shrubs and perennials such as Aster, Helen’s flower, Flowering quince, etc.

3) Silty Soil

This soil is easier to cultivate and adding organic matter can make it more fertile. It has a soft texture and holds moisture well. 

Suitable for:

Grasses, perennials, climbers, shrubs, etc.

4) Loamy Soil

This soil is one of the best soil for gardening. It can be used for any type of plant. 

Suitable for:

Almost all kinds of berry crops and vegetable crops, bamboos, climbers, perennials, tubers, and shrubs such as Dog’s tooth violets, Wisteria, Rubus, etc.

5) Chalky Soil

This soil is on the stonier and grainier side and acid-rich materials like peat, compost, or manure are added to make it more suitable for plants. 

Suitable for:

Vegetables such as cabbage, sweet corn, spinach, beets, etc, Blubs, trees, shrubs such as Pinks, Lilac, Mock oranges, Weigela, Madonna Lillie, etc.

Some recommendations to make your own potting mix for specific plants:

(by kadasgarden.com)

For mineral Mixes

These mixes are intended for good drainage and fast drying times. This is useful for species that are from dry areas, have large taproots, and are slow-growing. Some examples: Ariocarpus, Astrophytum, Aztekium, Echinocactus, Lophophora, Obregonia, Turbinicarpus, etc.

30-60% Charcoal / Grit

10-30% Pumice/Perlite

10-20% Coarse Sand

5% Slow Release/Pellet fertilizer (optional)

For water tolerant species

For water-tolerant species protected from the rain/uncontrolled water. useful for plants such as Cereus, Echinopsis, Harrisia, Myrtillocactus, Neobuxbaumia, Opuntia, Polaskia, Rebutia, Stenocereus, Trichocereus, etc.

30-50% Coco peat

10-20% Pumice/Perlite

20-40% Charcoal / Grit & Sand

In our greenhouse, we use a 60% Coir, 30% grit, 5% pumice & 5% organic pellet fertilizer for all columnar/water-tolerant species. Keep in mind in a greenhouse, people control the water.

For tropical species

This mix is useful for tropical species that tolerate, and even prefer moist/rich soils. Some examples: Acanthocereus, Hylocereus, Pereskia, Pereskiopsis, Rhipsalis, Selenicereus, etc.

70% Coco peat

10% Charcoal / Grit/Sand

10-20% Compost

5-10% Manure/fertilizer

Gardening is an extremely therapeutic hobby. Let me know in the comments if this article helped you grow a green thumb!


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