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Selecting the Best Potting Mix

Selecting the best potting mix when transplanting houseplants, growing herbs indoors or planting outdoor container gardens can be overwhelming.

Start by reading the label. Most potting mixes are soilless and consist of peat moss, sphagnum moss and compost for moisture retention and vermiculite, perlite or rice hulls for drainage. They are lightweight and blended to hold moisture while draining well.

Organic potting mixes include organic and OMRI certified on the label. Those with a “starter charge” of fertilizer provide nutrients for the first few waterings.  Controlled-, time- or slow release fertilizers may be added to provide additional nutrients over a longer period of time.

Then lift the bag. Potting mixes should be light, fluffy and moist. Avoid heavy waterlogged bags where the mix can break down and become compacted.

A bit more information:  Potting mixes may also contain synthetic wetting agents to help water penetrate and evenly moisten the potting mix. Moisture retaining products may also be incorporated and are supposed to hold water near plant roots and reduce the frequency of watering. Be careful not to overwater and do not add more water-retaining products to mixes that contain these products.


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