Choosing the Right Potting Mix

There are four basic kinds of potting mix, but how do you know which one you need? Which is the best for long-lived plants? What's the fuss about peat? Are peat-free mixes any good? Here are the pros and cons.

Excerpted from Simple Steps: Containers for Patios
Coir base Potting Mix made from Coconut Husks DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Coir-Based Potting

Made from shredded coconut husks, coir is sold either loose or in blocks; the latter need to be soaked for about 20 minutes before use. Since coir has no nutrients, it is generally mixed with multipurpose potting mix (one-third coir to two-thirds additional potting mix). Use it for annual displays in pots and containers where a light weight potting mix is needed, such as windowboxes and wall pots, or on balconies. It dries out quickly and plants will need to be watered frequently.

Advantages
- Inexpensive.
- Lightweight.

Disadvantages
- Not entirely \"green\": peat-free, but it uses up thousands of air miles.
- Not for permanent displays.
- Plant performance can be variable.

Excerpted from Simple Steps: Containers for Patios

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007

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