March 26, 2017
Spring has sprung and it’s time to plant some containers, but just what’s in that bag of potting mix. Let’s find out. To be successful growing in containers you have to use potting mix made for containers which is much different than regular garden soil. When choosing a container potting mix I always look for these four ingredients. Sphagnum peat is the most important type of peat for a potting mix because it adds bulk and substance while being extremely light weight. It can hold a great deal of water and air and does not decompose quickly. Coconut coir is made from the husk of a coconut. It’s used to add bulk and aeration to potting mixes, and has good water holding capacity. Coir is an acceptable substitute for sphagnum peat in potting mix. Perlite is the snowy white granular particles that look like small pieces of Styrofoam. Perlite is formed when pumice is heated quickly causing it to expand and explode. The principal value of perlite is providing aeration and improving water drainage. Vermiculite is used a potting mix ingredient in a similar way as perlite, being light weight and add aeration. It’s produced by heating mica which expands like an accordion. Picking up potting mix at the local garden center doesn’t have to be confusing, as long as it contains these ingredients your plants will love you. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.