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WATCH RELATED VIDEO: PERLITE vs. VERMICULITE: Which is Better? — Ep 199Content:
- Vermiculite vs. Perlite: Which is Best for Your Potted Plants?
- Horticultural uses of Perlite and Vermiculite
- Best Houseplant Soil: Save Money & Your Houseplants by Mixing Your Own Soil
- Using Vermiculite for Orchids
- Growing Media
- Best Potting Soil - The Dirt on Dirt
- How to Repot Your Indoor Plants
Vermiculite vs. Perlite: Which is Best for Your Potted Plants?
Urban and small-space gardening is on the rise, houseplants are strutting their stuff all over Instagram, and few people have the time and energy to dedicate to a large in-ground garden these days. But with hundreds of seedlings to start and over 50 large pots to fill each season, my container gardening habit used to come with a hefty price tag. When I started making my own DIY potting soil, however, I cut my container gardening budget by two-thirds!
Potting soil, also called potting mix, is a soilless blend of ingredients used to grow plants. All good-quality potting mixes, including homemade potting soils, have a few things in common.
Like commercial potting soils, you can make many different DIY potting soil blends, each with a different texture, nutritional content, density, and water-holding capacity, all matched to the needs of your plants. The primary ingredient in most potting soils is sphagnum peat moss. A very stable material, peat takes a long time to breakdown and is widely available and inexpensive. It bulks up potting mixes without adding a lot of weight, and once wet, it holds water fairly well.
Limestone is added to peat-based potting mixes to help balance the pH. A by-product of the coconut industry, coir looks and acts a lot like sphagnum peat moss in both commercial and DIY potting soil blends.
Often sold in compressed bricks, coir fiber is considered by many to be more sustainable than sphagnum peat moss. BotaniCare is one available brand of compressed coir fiber. Perlite is a mined, volcanic rock. Perlite is a lightweight, sterile addition to bagged and homemade potting mixes.
It holds three to four times its weight in water, increases pore space, and improves drainage. With a neutral pH, perlite is easy to find at nurseries and garden centers. One popular brand of perlite is Espoma perlite. Vermiculite is a mined mineral that is conditioned by heating until it expands into light particles. Though asbestos contamination was once a concern with vermiculite, mines are now regulated and regularly tested.
Organic bagged vermiculite is my favorite source. Coarse sand improves drainage and adds weight to potting mixes.
Mixes formulated for cacti and other succulents tend to have a higher percentage of coarse sand in their composition to ensure ample drainage. Add pulverized calcitic limestone or dolomitic limestone to peat-based potting soils to neutralize their pH.
These minerals are mined from natural deposits and are readily available and inexpensive. I use a combination of several natural fertilizer sources for my homemade potting mixes. Sometimes I add a commercially-made, complete organic granular fertilizer, such as Dr. Earth or Plant-Tone , and other times I blend my own fertilizer from cottonseed meal , bone meal , and other ingredients my favorite fertilizer recipe is provided below.
Composted wood chips lighten up potting mixes by increasing the pore sizes, and allowing air and water to travel freely in the mix. Use composted wood chips in potting mixes designed for potted perennials and shrubs. To make your own, get a load of wood chips from an arborist and let them compost for a year, turning the pile every few weeks. Containing billions of beneficial microbes, and with superior water-holding capacity and nutrient content, compost is an excellent addition to DIY potting soil.
Because it plays such a huge role in promoting healthy plant growth, I use it in all of my general homemade potting soil recipes. I use leaf compost from a local landscape supply yard, but bagged compost from Dr. Earth Compost or Coast of Maine are other favorites. Good quality, DIY potting soil should be light and fluffy, with a well-blended mixture of ingredients. Mixing your own potting soil blend is easy, and it means you have complete control of one of the most critical steps in the growing process.
For container gardeners, a high-quality potting soil is a must. Making your own potting soil allows you to better cater to the needs of your plants.
The results are more stable and consistent, and you save a ton of money. The following DIY potting soil recipes use a combination of the ingredients I listed above. Mix large volumes of homemade potting soil in a cement mixer or a spinning compost tumbler. To make smaller quantities, blend the ingredients in a wheelbarrow, mortar mixing tub, or a large bucket.
Be sure to mix everything thoroughly to ensure a consistent result. When making DIY potting soil, use the batch as quickly as possible. But if storage is necessary, place the mix in sealed plastic bags in a cool, dry place. Watch this quick little video for a lesson on how I mix a batch of my DIY potting soil:.
For more on how to garden successfully in containers, check out my book, Container Gardening Complete Cool Springs Press,Have you made your own homemade potting soil before? Share your experience with us in the comment section below. Pin it! Great potting soil mixes. I am a huge DIY gardener and always love to see what everyone does too. I think you have list bone meal twice in a recipe.. Thanks, Jeremy. Good catch on the listing of bone meal twice. The second one should be kelp meal.
I fixed it now. Thanks for the heads up on the typo. Jessica, I purchased the coir you linked — it came in sheets. Do you shred it dry or wet it, then shred? Do you add that in your cart? I am planting lots of vegetables in felt bags this year. I find Miracle Grow potting mix too expensive to fill them all.
Do you have a recipe for felt bag soil mix or do you think I need more or less of a certain ingredient for the felt bag growing method? The general potting mix here will work for fabric planter bags. Hope the mixes work. You use a lot of coarse sand for your soil mixes. I find it hard to get. There is play sand, construction sand etc. It is of course available on Ebay and Amazon but expensive. Any suggestions? Coarse sand is the same as construction sand.
Its particle size is larger and coarser than play sand. Thanks for the post! Peat is thus a form of organic soil. However, the process of peat generation and accumulation is very slow only 0. While peat harvest is not sustainable, best practices do exist for the harvest of peat mosses meaning that the moss can regenerate following harvest.
Thank you for making small recipes for potting soils, I have a small flower garden so this will be perfect. A farm or feed shop or plant nursery should have large bags of perlite and vermiculite. Thanks for this post Jessica! One thing that would make this even more complete is a recipe for in-ground planting. What else is in it and what the ratios are is the problem.
Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! Thanks for the recipe. Would you add any other amendments? Simply from a nutrition and disease suppression standpoint. Is compost tea from a worm bin good to use when starting seeds? How about for seedlings newly planted in a grow tower? I am planting an indoor atrium area that I have built around an indoor swim spa wanting to plant a variety of indoor plants from hibiscus, tropicals, ferns etc what type of mixture u suggest?
Thank you for your informative article. I have a big planter for a Dieffenbachia plant that is re-growing from what was once a large plant. How can I make a very light-weight potting soil? Thank you. Question from the other side of the pond; when you say gallon do you mean liquid gallon or imperial gallon? Good question, Toby. Where do you find it. There are links to where all three of these products can be purchased in the article itself, under the DIY container container fertilizer blend recipe.
Horticultural uses of Perlite and Vermiculite
This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here. It can elevate your store-bought house plant soil into something that can make your plants happier and your life easier to which we say hurrah. The other weird property perlite has is that it retains moisture on the outside, not the inside, which makes it really good for roots to absorb. For those of us that are chronic underwaterers, vermiculite, which retains more water, might be a better option.
You can add your vermiculite directly to flowerbeds in the garden, or use it as an amendment in potting soils. · Vermiculite is ideal for plants that prefer lots.
Best Houseplant Soil: Save Money & Your Houseplants by Mixing Your Own Soil
Do you know what's in your potting mix? Perlite and vermiculite are natural soil additives that help improve soil structure in similar ways, but this one key difference between them can make or break a gardening project. Here's how to know when you should be using perlite or vermiculite in your seed-starting pots, containers, raised beds, or in-ground garden beds—and why. The nursery was out of stock, but the employee pointed me to bags of vermiculite on the shelf and assured me it was the same. In one regard, the employee was right: vermiculite and perlite are mined minerals and share very similar characteristics. Heck, even their names sound like they could be related. But in another regard, the employee was off base.
Using Vermiculite for Orchids
Place a shard over the drainage hole to prevent leakage of soil. Remove the plant from its old pot by knocking the container against a hard surface. Tilt the pot upside-down. Gently pull the plant from the pot, with your hand over the soil.
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Vermiculite - Highly absorbent lightweight compost additive A natural mineral which has been heated to a high temperature, Vermiculite comprises of lightweight, highly absorbent flakes. By adding Vermiculite to growing media it will improve aeration and increase retention of moisture and nutrients. Providing good air balance, Vermiculite helps maintain an even temperature and can be used for seed germinations, pricking out, potting-on and plants in containers or tubs. Our delivery service operates from 7. Delivery outside of these hours we will be special arrangement only.
Best Potting Soil - The Dirt on Dirt
Choosing the right potting soil for your plants is super simple. Knowing all about the ingredients and what they do is a bit more complicated. A really great potting soil sets you up for plant parent success. This is your guide to potting soils and amendments. Espoma Organic Potting Mix General go-to for most indoor plants.
Buy Harris Premium Horticultural Vermiculite for Indoor Plants and Gardening, 8qt to Promote Soil Aeration and Drainage online at an affordable price.
How to Repot Your Indoor Plants
After my recent post on homemade rooting hormone, you might be wondering about other forms of DIY plant care, like making your own potting soil for your indoor plants. What should you use when making your own potting soil? How to make potting soil for indoor plants?RELATED VIDEO: Vermiculite vs perlite - what is vermiculite used for?
Perlite and Vermiculite, both are well-known to seasoned gardeners. These two materials are harvested naturally from rocks. People write to me always to know what differentiates the two and what their usage cases are. Observe which works for you better as per your weather conditions and soil condition. They both may seem similar but have distinct properties. Perlite works well for rooting cuttings.
Potting soil or growing media for plants must be of good quality and meet certain performance criteria.
Commercial pre-packaged potting soils are widely available at nursery and garden supply stores, but you can also make your own potting mix at home. Making your own mix allows you to control the types and proportions of ingredients to customize your potting mix to meet your needs. Gardeners use various potting mixtures for seedlings, transplants, and container plants. These mixtures combine a variety of ingredients to provide a good growing environment for plant roots. Potting mediums must meet plant root requirements for air, water, nutrients, and support, which vary for different plants and growth stages. Different potting mixes are defined by the amount and ingredients they are composed of.
Yes, but express fee should be paid by customers. We will pay you back if you place the order. Seed raising. Slow germination.