If you’re new to world of gardening, there are certain terms that you will surely come across such as potting mix vs potting soil. While it may be confusing at first, we’re here to guide you to help you understand the basics of gardening.
Some gardeners usually identify and segregate their materials to help categorize the difference between potting mix vs potting soil.
However, there is not much really difference between the two. Both are characterized as potting mediums that are used to help grow and develop the plants that are produced in containers.
Let's Start With Potting Mediums
A successful and healthy plant production requires the use of potting mediums. This is utilized in order to create the right balance to help certain plants grow and thrive.
Potting mediums involve different types of materials that are combined to nourish the plants, provide proper air circulation and develop an efficient drainage system in order for the plants to cultivate properly.
There are various types of potting mixes such as sand, charcoal, fertilizer, perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, and loam among many others. On the other hand, some potting materials do not contain soil in them.
Potting mediums, potting mixes, and potting soils are all created and formulated to be used in containers. These are not meant for beds. A bed, on the other hand, uses garden soil mix or blended topsoil.
As a newbie, you may get slightly confused at first. When I started, I did not clearly understand the difference between the two.
How to Determine the Difference Between Potting Soil Vs. Potting Mix
1. Potting Soil
A potting soil is a commercial plant medium that contains three key ingredients such as pine bark, peat moss, and a perlite or vermiculite.
Be wary that a potting soil doesn’t actually contain soil in it. Instead, it is made up of natural ingredients that are derived from plants and minerals. A soil may be added later on but only after it has undergone a sterilization process using heat treatment. Potting soils normally have high water absorbance.
Some potting soils are made of composite materials such as compost, manures, and peat moss. To fill out the potting mix, inorganic materials such as perlite and vermiculite are added.
How to choose the right type of potting soil?
Choosing the right potting soil can assure you producing a healthy plant. The soil you choose should have a light and soft texture. Make sure your potting soil has all three key ingredients.
You may add a fertilizer through slow release formulation and adjust accordingly based on your requirement. If your potting soil requires moisture retaining treatment, you may have to alternatively change your water patterns.
2. Potting Mix
Similar to a potting soil, a potting mix doesn’t also contain ant soil in it. Instead, it is formulated with a small amount of microorganisms to provide the seeds with a clean and sterile environment. This helps increase the growth of the plants, especially since all resources are readily available.
The microorganisms also prevent the plants from developing diseases. Generally, potting mixes are used to grow seedlings and usually contains peat or compost.
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How to Properly Use Potting Soil and Potting Mix
Technically, both mediums work well on growing plants in a container. The downside, however, is the quality of the soil or compost that often hinders the progress and growth.
So, how do you avoid this? Here are some simple tips.
Final Tips and Reminders
Don’t forget that when you’re working with container plants, the seedlings flourish best when you start planting in a clean and sterile environment. Make sure your container has tons of drainage available. You wouldn’t want your potting soil or mix to drown out your plant.
Use a potting soil that contains a mixture of peat, pine bark, and a perlite or vermiculite. Then you may try adding a potting mix over the soil. Potting soils and mixes come in various types. Each have specific mixtures that are more appropriate for certain kinds of plants.
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