Monday, April 18, 2011

All about Potting Mixes for Your Container Plants

"Welcome to all about Potting Mixes for your Container Plants"!

Gidday readers and subscribers!
This article was created by a good friend of mine Paul Mundweil.  Paul will be feature in the blog from time to time and also in the Eco Urban Sustainable Video Newsletter!
Please enjoy Potting Mixes by Paul Mundweil.
"Hi I’m Paul Mundweil a qualified horticulturist with over 20 years of industry experience. In the near future I’ll be adding a little information to Marty’s blog about plants and their needs, to help the reader understand more and identify the problems with their plants".


Today I’ll be talking about potting mixes. What they are and why? What they provide for the plant and a few different types of potting mixes.

A potting is a type of soil that has been blended or created for the special needs of growing plants in pots or other containers. They have been created because soil in pots behaves differently to soil in the ground. In a container there is less soil medium so any imbalances to their medium can cause shocks to plants which lead to an unhealthy plant. To understand what soil or potting mixes are to a plant we would say that soil is to a plant what food is to an animal or human; it provides energy nourishment and the basis for it to grow. It draws most of the nutrients it needs from the soil.

The Potting Mix and it's Blend

A potting mix is a soil blend designed to suit a container plant for the longest possible time. It has to be light so the plant can get an easier start, and not to heavy so they the plants growth is slow and often stunted. They are created for the free flow of water. To provide an example your basic Australian potting mixes have 3 parts sawdust, 2 parts pine bark and one part sand. Pure soil is much heavier, and can cause waterlogging and subsequent death to a plant. If you placed the same plant together in the same pot, one with pure soil and the other with potting mix your will notice a vast difference as they start to grow.

Also your average potting mix is meant to be basically sterile so that it suits the needs of the majority of plants, rather than just a few. Potting mixes can vary from place to place, but usually the less money you pay, the less that they perform for your plant. The best tip is to check out all the prices a go for the mid range price, they usually tend to perform quite well.

Because potting mixes are basically sterile it is up to you to optimise them with fertilisers, and additives like compost.

Potting Mix Tips & Save a Dollar

The performance of these sterile potting mixes for plants to eat or for herbs, mean that they usually provide a taste like that of hydroponic grown fruit and vegetables. It is like biting into a tomato that has the juice content of an apple. My personal solution to this is to buy a mid priced potting mix and a bag of horse or cow manure or mushroom compost and mix them  50/50. Then also liquid feed them in summer once a week with an organic fertiliser. This will produce the best possible flavour for container plant.

Variations on potting mixes are like those for bromeliads that are better draining and tend to mimic the needs of plant that grows on the bark of a tree, or similar for orchids. An example is the medium  I saw in Singapore on an orchid farm which was 50/50 broken terracotta with charcoal.

A Handy Hint For Plants in Pots

A handy hint for plants in pots. If you let them dry out the next time you water them, the water will drain out without making much of an effect on the plant. Subsequently they tend to look withered. You need to remedy this by watering them with 4 times the amount of water than usual. Or better smaller pots can be placed in a bucket of water until all the rising air bubbles have disappeared. For larger plants, fill the dish below with water and also water from above. Keep the dish full until they appear happy again.

Paul works as a landscape gardener on the Gold Coast Australia.
To hire his services or have a look at his website please visit his website the Greenmillenium

I hope you enjoyed Paul Mundweil's article Potting Mixes?
As mentioned above there is more on the way from our Aussie guest writer. (Throw another shrimp on the barby!)
Happy Gardening


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