Soil mixes

Working out the right soil mix for your plants seems like an overwhelming decision, with lots of conflicting advice online.

But once you get to know what your plants need, and stock up on a few ingredients, it’s easy to put your own together.

Basic houseplant soil

The soil I use is pretty much whatever I can get hold of for a decent price, with some materials added to improve drainage.

Westland Houseplant Potting Mix is cheap and cheerful, and is often stocked in B&Q. Or there are plenty of other brands available in garden centres and homeware stores.

However unless they say otherwise, most of these contain peat, which is a non renewable resource with massive environmental impact – see more from Jane Perrone here.

Creating a soil mix

Depending on the type of plant, I usually throw in some extra materials for drainage. It does feel a little like mixing up a recipe, but one that I’m never that strict about! Here is what I add to the soil depending on the type of plant

Leafy foliage – a handful of Perlite

Succulents Perlite and/or horticultural grit/sand

Orchids, monstera – some orchid bark

If you have lots of plants to pot up, and need something to bulk out your pots, coco coir is a good, relatively sustainable alternative. Best of all it often comes in space-saving bricks, which expand in water.

Clay pebbles for drainage

A layer of clay pebbles at the bottom of the plastic pot means makes it slightly harder to kill plants with overwatering (hands up who’s made that mistake!)

IKEA usually sell them, under the name ODLA, and garden centres and homeware stores sometimes stock Westland Hydroleca granules.

Onwards to repotting!

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