In its natural habitat, the soil that your plant goes in would be constantly replenished by the changing environment around it, with new nutrients regularly available. However, when kept indoors, all that a plant has is what you give to it in its pot. Choosing the right soil and, in some cases, regularly providing a fertilizer is a must if you want your plant to stay healthy and flourish.
The Different Types of Soil
Soil for houseplants can be a little confusing. Most of the plants sold here at Modern Garden, including the popular Pothos, the ZZ Plant, and the Fiddle Leaf Fig, will be happy in general purpose potting soil, but other plants require something a little more specific.
Take the Monstera and Stromanthe Triostar, for example, both of which prefer a peaty mix, while the Parlor Palm does best in a loam soil, which is great for retaining moisture. However, this would be too wet for succulents, who do best in a sandier soil mix.
Once you have found the perfect soil for your plant, remember it, because you’ll need it again in a year or two. As your plant grows, it will slowly use up all of the nutrients in the soil, meaning that the soil will need to be replaced. Over time, the soil will also break down and end up compacting around the roots of your plant, interfering with air and drainage, so make sure that your plant’s soil is always healthy and fluffy.
High quality soil mixes will last for longer than poorer blends, making this something worth investing in.
What About Fertilizer?
A good quality potting mix will often contain all of the nutrients necessary for your plant to flourish, but, once your plant starts to consume these, a fertilizer can provide a vital boost. This is especially the case in the spring and summer, when growth is at its highest.
Most fertilizers contain three main macronutrients:
- Nitrogen - promotes leaf growth, making it important for plants with more foliage than flowers
- Phosphorus - helps with the growth of roots, flowers and fruits
- Potassium - stimulates early growth while providing overall strength to the plant
Knowing which nutrients your plant needs more of will help you to pick the perfect fertilizer. Alternatively, you may be able to find a fertilizer designed specifically for the type of plant you have.
One more thing to decide on is whether you want a liquid or granular fertilizer. Liquid fertilizers need to be provided more frequently, whereas granular ones release their nutrients slowly over time, meaning that you will only need to use it once or twice a year.
Learning about different potting soils and fertilizers can definitely seem confusing to begin with, but this is something that can really help your plant to flourish in the long run.