All About Ready-made Substrates For Indoor Plants

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All About Ready-made Substrates For Indoor Plants
All About Ready-made Substrates For Indoor Plants

Video: All About Ready-made Substrates For Indoor Plants

Video: All About Ready-made Substrates For Indoor Plants
Video: Potting Soil Mixture for Indoor Plants : Make Your Own! 2023, June

Soil is not just a plant habitat. Along with carbon dioxide, light and water, it is a vital element, without which most plants cannot survive. The characteristics of the soil, its texture, acidity, water and air permeability, nutritional value play a key role. Mistakes in the selection of the substrate are a source of great problems and risks. The most reliable option for indoor plants are purchased, ready-made substrates. Their varied selection today allows each plant to provide its ideal environment.

Soil for indoor plants
Soil for indoor plants

The roots of indoor plants, with the exception of crops grown in hydroponics and some epiphytes, are extracted from the soil part of the substances necessary for development. The roots are capable of absorbing these substances only in comfortable, optimal conditions: not only at a certain soil moisture, but also depending on its mechanical composition and even acidity. The substrate recreates a familiar habitat for indoor plants, and its quality affects the plant as well as lighting and temperature conditions.

Sooner or later, the supply of nutrients in the soil is depleted, its characteristics under the influence of frequent watering change, and the root system of plants is constantly developing, mastering the limited volume of substrate available to it. Under the influence of these factors, the soil needs to be replaced. The lack of nutrients is compensated for by care - the application of fertilizers, and the stability of the environment is maintained by regular transplants or carried out as needed, as indoor plants grow.

The selection of the soil in which the plant would feel good, corresponding to its needs and habits, is not an easy task. Houseplants are not garden plants. They grow in a limited volume of substrate, are accustomed to controlled and stable growing conditions, are less adaptable and much more finicky. And just ordinary soil collected in a garden or park will not work for them (with rare exceptions).

Why store-bought substrates are always the best solution

Experienced flower growers, and those who are fond of not only floriculture, but also gardening, often prefer not to buy ready-made substrates, but to compose them on their own. But in fact, it is possible to create the correct soil mixture for plants yourself only in exceptional cases, for this you need to have a sufficient supply of components - high-quality peat, leafy, sod land, compost, humus, sand, as well as knowledge and experience. Indeed, often even the knowledge in what proportions to mix the components and how to process the soil mixture to achieve optimal looseness is not enough. And, as a rule, any independently compiled substrate for plants is always inferior in its characteristics to a high-quality commercial soil mixture.

The biggest mistake that can be made in the choice of soil is to assume that plants can take root in any "land". The soil collected in the park, garden, garden, no matter how fluffy and high-quality it may seem to you, is not what indoor crops need. For such a foundation to become a full-fledged substrate, many more actions will need to be taken. None of the hardiest indoor Spartans will feel good in such "wild" soil. Plants for which this type of substrate is acceptable usually belong to bulbous plants, which are grown both in the garden and in the room.

Each "simple" soil mixture has its own disadvantages. The soil collected in the city (even in the best eco and arboretum parks) is contaminated with heavy metals and toxins. Field land is saline, forest land is too acidic even for rhododendrons, from someone else's garden and even our own land can be infected with diseases, fungi, pests, weeds, become overly compacted over time, etc. Even the peat that you collect from the pond does not always turn out to be the same peat that can be used for potted plants.

Sterility, inconvenience, laboriousness, unknown mineral composition and nutritional value are sufficient arguments to choose the option with ready-made soil. Of course, you will have to spend money on such a substrate. And sometimes highly specialized mixtures are quite expensive. But as a rule, the costs are more than paid off.

Ready substrate for indoor plants
Ready substrate for indoor plants

The main advantages of ready-made soil mixtures:

  • they are specially designed for capricious, special, pampered indoor plants, which differ significantly from garden plants in terms of their endurance and requirements;
  • their chemical composition is strictly controlled, fully meets the requirements of the plants themselves;
  • plants are protected from microflora and microorganisms that are harmful to them;
  • in substrates, water and air permeability, texture, density, flowability are controlled;
  • such substrates are sterile, protected from soil pests and disease spores;
  • nutritional composition, additional reserve of minerals meets the requirement of indoor plants in macro and microelements;
  • substrates are convenient to use, they do not require additional processing and save time.

Problems happen with ready-made substrates

Despite the fact that purchased substrates have undoubted advantages over those compiled with their own hands, problems in growing plants, lack of care or "miscalculations" are not excluded with them.

First, the wrong choice of soil mixture or the purchase of cheap substrates from an unknown manufacturer can unpleasantly surprise you with the composition of the soil. That is why it is so important to choose companies you know, specializing in soil and fertilizers, which have proven the quality of their products. When buying a cheap substrate, even the composition on the package is not a guarantee. Indeed, sometimes, having opened a pack, you can find out that in fact the soil, instead of a high-quality mixture, consists entirely of peat, leafy soil or sand with unknown additives. To save you from disappointment, buying only in specialized stores, supermarkets, and not in the market will help.

Secondly, no substratum can cope with improper care. If you make mistakes in watering, then even the highest-quality soil mixture will be able to saline, sour, and stray into a dense crust.

Thirdly, untimely transplantation, or rather its absence, leads to such depletion of the soil and growth of roots that it will be impossible to judge about any quality of the substrate over time. Any soil mixture "works" for the time allotted to it, immediately after planting it allows not to feed at all for several months, and within 1-2 years - to be limited only to regular feeding in the stage of active growth.

Ready soil for indoor plants in a package
Ready soil for indoor plants in a package

Structure and acidity are two parameters that you need to pay attention to even in ready-made soil mixes

Purchased substrates are very different in composition. But it is impossible to determine by eye whether the content of the soil bags corresponds to the description of the composition from the manufacturer. Therefore, when assessing the quality of the acquired substrate, they are always guided by visible and easily recognizable characteristics (the absence or presence of a structure).

For indoor plants, regardless of their type, soil with a pronounced structure is preferable - with lumps, heterogeneity, and some rough texture. In such a soil, plants will not suffer from dry "layers" on the surface and drying out of deep soil layers, moisture will be evenly retained and distributed, such soil is not so prone to compaction and crusting, retains air permeability even several years after transplantation. Substrates that appear too uniform tend to be more prone to acidification, crusting, and uneven moisture retention and distribution.

The acidity of the soil is always indicated on the packaging, even for universal substrates. After all, indoor crops do not lose their individual characteristics and are by no means homogeneous in terms of the requirements for the reaction of the soil. Of course, the vast majority of indoor plants feel good in neutral soil, but there are also plants that grow well and develop only in soil with a slightly alkaline or alkaline reaction, and those species that need an acidic environment.

The average for indoor plants is a pH of 6.0. Soils with a pH of 5.5 and below are classified as weakly acidic and acidic, and about 7.0 and above are classified as calcareous or alkaline.

Indoor bells, calceolaria, ophiopogon, chlorophytum are preferred to grow in alkaline soil.

Weakly acidic soil (pH about 5.5) is optimal for akalifa, alocasia, gerbera, camellia, calla lily, cordilina, cypress, dieffenbachia, acid wood, ferns, pachyphytus, pittosporum, sansevier, cestrum, cyclamen. Soil with a pH of 4.0 to 5.0 is preferred by indoor rhododendrons, ceropegia, oscularia, euphorbia, hydrangea, bergeranthus, etc.

In the description of each plant, in addition to the optimal frequency and transplanting strategy for it, both the type and the desired composition or structure of the soil are always indicated. When choosing a substrate for indoor plants, it is worth stopping not at one "average" option, but to check what kind of soil is suitable for each pet and select the substrate individually. Usually, most of the plants in the room collection need a similar type of substrate - universal, loose, nutritious, with a neutral reaction. So, there is no need to buy dozens of soil types with optimal structural properties, purchasing only one universal soil for the base of the collection and special mixtures for certain plant species with special requirements.

Special substrate for growing orchids indoors
Special substrate for growing orchids indoors

Universal soil and special types of substrate

Choosing the type of substrate is not such a difficult task. All manufacturers indicate the acidity and composition on the packaging, and in most cases also a list of plants or methods of use for which this soil mixture is suitable. You can always get advice about the soil from the seller, but even if you are not sure, then you should carefully study the information provided by the manufacturer.

The universal, or single, complex dredge is most often found on sale. Different manufacturers call it differently - from just "primer" to brand names. Such soil is suitable for different groups of plants, it is considered "average" in its characteristics. Unpretentious and not too demanding indoor cultures will gladly settle in it.

Special substrates - soil mixtures, which are developed and selected specifically for a specific type, species or family of plants. Narrow specialization is their distinguishing feature. Special substrates differ in structure, lightness, friability, additional additives such as pine bark or sphagnum, in acidity, degree of nutritional value. They are always better than universal ones, because they really satisfy all the individual needs of indoor crops. The type of substrate is selected according to individual indications in the characteristics of the plants themselves.

The main special types of substrate include:

  • soil mixtures for decorative flowering or decorative deciduous crops;
  • substrates for cacti and succulents;
  • substrates for palm trees (sometimes - separate soil mixtures for yucca, dracaena);
  • soil for citrus, jasmine, tub;
  • soil for growing indoor roses;
  • soil for violets.

Moreover, usually any highly specialized soil is also suitable for plants that are similar in requirements to the species declared in the name. So, the soil for violets is suitable for all Gesnerievs, for dracaena or yucca - also for hibiscus, arrowroot - for ferns and calatheas, gardenia - for all Madder, gloxinia - for begonias and vice versa, azaleas - for camellias, and roses - for chrysanthemums, carnations and gerberas. Special substrates for cyclamen - the ideal substrate for growing any primroses. But orchid soil is a highly specialized soil only for orchids.

For each manufacturer, the composition and individual characteristics of the soil for seemingly identical plants often differ.

In addition to the two main types of soil, there are also peat-mineral mixtures for seedling and propagation of plants on sale, which can also be used for cuttings, as well as various artificial substrates, including soil based on coconut fiber.

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