After buying your online pots, you want to use a quality potting mix instead of garden soil. Why? A potting mix is lighter than garden soil and provides better drainage. Heavy soil retains water, which can lead to root rot and other issues that will hinder the plant’s growth.
With garden soil, you have the top layer known as topsoil. This layer is heavy and dense and not particularly nutrient-rich. However, it can be a good ingredient when combined with other nourishing substances to make up a good potting mix for your online pot. When creating a homemade potting mix, garden soil can help as a buffer for pH changes, but it is not commonly used in commercial potting mixes because of the lack of consistency in quality and there is no guarantee that it is weed-free and toxin-free from herbicide or pesticide residues.
Materials such as composted bark, mushroom compost, perlite, vermiculite, limestone, and peat moss that promote aeration and nutrient absorption for the roots. These materials are ideal for containers because they don’t lose their porosity and help prevent the loss of nutrients. A good potting mix for optimal plant growth in online pots will also contain slow-release fertilisers and be sterilised to eliminate weeds and plant-borne diseases.
Potting mixes can be adjusted and mixed to suit the plant’s growing requirements in an online pot. You will find potting mixes designed specifically to provide healthier yields by retaining moisture and promote nutrient uptake. There are mixes for vegetables like a tomato mix or strawberry mix, succulents, orchids, bulbs, and many different flowers that are grown in online pots. The potting mix chemistry is formulated to increase or decrease minerals like adding more acidity for acid-loving plants or ensuring less phosphorous or more potassium and magnesium when it’s needed.
It is recommended to add extra fertiliser during the flowering and fruiting stages because this is when the plant growing in the online pot is drawing the most nutrients from the potting mix. All different types of plants require a balanced diet of nutrients, which vary from plant to plant. Ultimately, potting mixes deliver the required nutrients and help create large pores that promote drainage by allowing the water to be transported through the container and out the bottom through the drainage holes.
Using a potting mix helps the process of growing plants in online pots easier and more enjoyable. Not only does it provide the much-needed requirements, but it also helps expedite the plant’s growth lifecycle and eliminates the hassle of weeding. Once you have potted your container, adding mulch on top can help reduce watering as it prevents evaporation. A wood-based mulch is great for small trees, roses, or shrubs planted in your online pot, while pea straw is a light mulch that’s suitable around vegetables.
Finally, it is important to note that although rare, there is a small risk of Legionella contamination. Legionella is a bacteria that naturally occurs in potting mixes and if handled inappropriately while filling your online pot, exposure can cause Legionnaires disease. Simply follow some basic steps to minimize any risk such as opening potting mix bags with scissors instead of ripping the bag open, wear gloves and a face mask, do the potting in an open, well-ventilated area, dampen the mix to reduce airborne dust, and thoroughly wash your hands after handling potting mix.