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It's a well-known fact that a healthy plant grows in the appropriate potting mix. A soil-profile that's too water-retentive will strip the roots of oxygen, causing them to respire and slowly breakdown anaerobically. Buying (or making your own) compost that's tailored for the specific plant will benefit its overall health on many levels. The composts listed below can be found at any good garden centre, with prices starting around £3 for 4L. Even if you're not from the UK, still use this list to help you choose which is best suited for your plant. Most of these products have an alternative in different countries, for example, Brunnings for Australia & Miracle-Gro for the US.
If you're looking at placing different plants into one container to create an indoor garden or display, try to use specimens that belong in the same 'Compost Category' on our list. Have a look at the image below for inspiration of a successful 'Indoor Garden' that's now over two years old!
• Despite the name, this compost isn't acceptable for all houseplants, and instead is only for moisture-loving plants. Cacti and Succulents shouldn't be placed in this stuff unless extra doses of sand and perlite are added.
• Introduce some extra grit, sand or perlite if the plant is grown in a shady location. In essence, this will improve the drainage and aeration of the soil while reducing the chance of root rot from over-watering (familiar with dark areas).
• Bulbs (like Daffodils, Hyacinths, etc.) & Herbs (Capsicum, Tomatoes & Strawberries, etc.) can be placed in Houseplant Compost. For bulbs, introduce some extra grit and perlite to improve drainage and aeration.
• Fertilisation isn't needed for the first six weeks due to the stored nutrients in the soil.
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• Suitable for all desert / tropical cacti & succulents
• Slightly more difficult to find in garden centres, but still relatively cheap
• Can be substituted with Houseplant Compost when extra sand, grit and perlite is used (see the No. 10 on this list)
• Contains almost no nutrients which is mandatory for most insect-eating plants
• Carnivorous plants cannot be placed in any other soil
• Can be used in carnivorous terrariums, too
• Provides oxygen & nutrients to the roots
• Can be purchased at all garden centres & online stores
• Mandatory for all Orchids, whether it's on its own or a mixture of this & Houseplant Compost
These products include a splash of fine-graded compost, meaning that this isn't just bark segments. This potting-mix is best used for:
This product consists only of bark segments, meaning that there isn't peat or coconut coir. This is acceptable for Orchids that need good airflow between the roots. (Think of the potting-mix used in supermarket Orchids).
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• Houseplant Compost can be substituted if necessary
• Bonsai Compost is well equipped for the development of a healthier rootball
• Available at some garden centres
• Aids the flowering and fruiting process
• Provides a blend of nutrients and a loam-based texture for better overall health
• Can be substituted for Houseplant Compost when extra sand or grit is added
• Mandatory for lime-hating plants
• Houseplant Compost should not be used as it'll cause burning roots with Ericaceous specimens
• Can be bought at all garden centres - typically sold outdoors but can be used for indoor specimens
• Desert Terrariums - 'Cacti & Succulents' Compost
• Tropical or Foliage Terrariums - 'Houseplant' Compost (add sand & perlite, too)
• Carnivorous Terrariums - 'Carnivorous' Soil
• Contains grit and perlite to promote strong, resilient roots
• Houseplant Compost can be used if you work a generous amount of 'Horticultural Grit' into the mix before transplantation
• Often difficult to find at garden centres or supermarkets.
Creating your own potting-mix from Multi-Purpose Compost is rewarding but tough, especially when picking out your soil-brand. Many contain peat, or at the very least, large bits of bark and twigs that much be sifted out before repotting your plant. When you find a good quality compost, you'll soon learn about the benefits of understanding of how plants interact with their soils. The image below comprises the five main ingredients needed to create your own indoor compost successfully.
You may think that using a water-retentive soil-profile like Multi-Purpose Compost is a bad idea - but hold your horses. Mixing this with the correct amount of perlite, sand, or grit will ensure that even succulents can thrive in it. For each of the following images, have a look at the textures and ratios of each ingredient.
N. B. - We recommend using a traditional blend of compost, which is typically a finer-grade of potting mix. If you're worried about hurting your plants with the wrong soil, you can always purchase one of our indoor potting mixes to ensure continued good plant health!
If you need further advice with your houseplants, book an advice call with ukhouseplants' friendly and expert writer today! This can be done via a video or audio call on most apps, including Facebook, FaceTime & Skype. A ten-minute call costs £5.99 (US$7), or £15.99 for thirty minutes. You can ask multiple questions, including queries on plants, pests, terrariums, repotting advice and anything in between. Please consider supporting this service to keep ukhouseplants thriving!